History Department


Aims and Objectives

At St Columba's pupils are encouraged

Subject organisation within the school Junior Cycle

All students in the Junior Cycle study History as a compulsory subject. In Form Primary and Form I there are two lessons a week and in Forms II and III there are three lessons a week. Class size typically consists of 12 - 15 pupils. History is taught in mixed ability classes and the overwhelming majority of pupils (typically over 90%) sit the Junior Certificate examination at Higher Level. Results have been consistently excellent – in recent years between 25- 40% of pupils have obtained an ‘A’ grade at Higher Level.  In 2015, 34% obtained an 'A' grade.

Syllabus in the Junior Cycle

In the Junior Cycle the syllabus involves the study of a wide range of topics and is basically organised along chronological lines. Form Primary is concerned with the study of various ancient civilisations. In Form I we study topics such as Ancient Rome, Pre-Christian and Early Christian Ireland and aspects of the Medieval world. The second year of the Junior Cycle syllabus begins with a study of the Renaissance and continues with such topics as Exploration, Reformation, and Revolutions in the Eighteenth Century. The Third Form syllabus is concerned with understanding the modern world and consists of European history 1920 - 1945, the rise of the Superpowers post 1945, political developments in Ireland 1900 - 1985 and social change in Ireland in the Twentieth Century. Details of the Junior Certificate course are available on www.ncca.ie.  

History in the Transition Year

There are usually two or three sets for History in the Transition Year ranging from 10 - 16 pupils in each set. The course consists of three modules, which are intended to provide a bridge from Junior Certificate to the Leaving Certificate course. Pupils examine various aspects of history which serve as a means of introduction to more advanced key skills, such as research, source-analysis, essay-writing, the nature of historical interpretation and field work. Students will be encouraged to use IT and to deliver individual presentations. During the Trinity Term there will be excursions to places of historical interest in the Dublin area.  

Syllabus in the Transition Year

  1. World War I (Michaelmas Term) - a study in depth
  2. U.S. History, 1900 -1945 (Hilary Term) - a survey course
  3. History of Dublin - local history  

There will be written examinations in the Michaelmas and Hilary terms. There will be a number of written assignments which will involve research, essay-writing, source-analysis and field-work These will be collated to produce a portfolio of work. The Transition Year History Prize will be awarded to the pupil with the best portfolio of work.  

Leaving Certificate History

History is a popular and successful subject at Leaving Certificate. In Forms V & VI there are two sets for History (with typically between 10-15 in each set) and we are proud that approximately half of Columbans opt to study History at Leaving Certificate. The overwhelming majority of students sit the final examination at Higher Level( typically over 90% ). Again, the results have been consistently excellent in recent years. In analysing the departmental results over the last five years an average of 36% have attained an ‘A’ grade at Higher Level and 88% have obtained A/B at Higher level.





Mrs Marie Haslett, BA, MPhil, PGCE. (Head of Department)

Mr. Barry Finn, BA, MA, HdipEd