The school is situated on the former Lyle estate six kilometres from Dungannon. It was founded over ninety years ago by the Daughters of the Cross. It has extensive grounds. Besides the basic subject classrooms, it has Science, Art and Home Economics complexes, computer suites, technology suite, music suite, careers facilities, sixth form complex, and a fully equipped sports gym in additional to the main sports hall. There are all weather and grass pitches, tennis courts and athletic and field sport facilities. Following the acceptance of development proposal No: 174, the school became co-educational from September 2003, admitting boys to year 8, and is designated a priority for new building development. In 2010 the school added an Irish Medium Stream. The School is variously known as St Joseph’s Convent or St Joseph’s Grammar School and in all other respects this school continues as before.
The pupils’ formal religious education is augmented by daily assembly for prayer, by school and class Masses, and by the presence on the campus of the Convent Chapel for private and group prayer.
The Revised Curriculum is currently being delivered to Year 8, Year 9 and Year10. The Areas of Learning are Science & Technology, English, Mathematics, The Arts, Environment & Society, Learning for Life & Work, Physical Education, Modern Languages, Religious Education. The three elements of Cross Curricular Skills of Communication, Using Mathematics and Using ICT will be evident in all lessons. St Joseph’s will also provide pupils with skills that help them learn and will aid them in adult life. These skills include: Thinking, Problem Solving & Decision Making, Self Management, Working with Others, Managing Information and Being Creative.
G.C.S.E. pupils may study the following subjects:- Religious Education, English, English Literature, Mathematics, Additional Mathematics, Science Double & Single Award, Irish, French, History, Geography, Business Studies, Technology, ICT, Music, Home Economics, Art, Physical Education, Learning for Life and Work, and Health & Social Care.
For A-Level/AS Level they may study Religious Education, English Literature, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Mathematics, History, Geography, Accounts, Business Studies, Irish, French, Music, Home Economics, Politics, Physical Education, Psychology, Construction, Engineering, Performance Arts, Moving Image Arts, COPE, Applied Art, Art & Design, History of Art & Design, ICT, Technology and Applied Health and Social Care.
A comprehensive programme of preparation for adult working life is organised for Sixth Formers on a modular basis. They also have opportunities to take additional short courses. St Joseph’s has an active Community Link programme that involves Year 13 pupils facilitate learning in five local primary schools. The excellence of this programme resulted in an Edmund Rice Award in 2009. Competitive sports include Gaelic Football, Netball, Basketball, Tennis, Athletics, and Cross Country Running. Recreational sports include Badminton, Table Tennis, Jogging, Swimming and Aerobics.
There are various school choirs and a school orchestra. Drama, public speaking and debating are integral parts of English teaching in the school. Besides the curricular musical programme of study, a range of other music interests can be pursued.
Out-of-school activities, besides sport, include: plays, concerts, hill walking, debating, traditional music sessions and organised school educational trips both local and foreign. Students are encouraged to participate in social, cultural and Christian activities in the area, e.g. Concern, Trocaire, St Vincent de Paul, Christian Aid, Save the Children, Soroptimist International J.C.C, Feiseanna and Festivals.
The school is twinned with San Agustin Surigao del Sur, a mission school of similar size in the Philippines. This year a group of our Year 13 students have fundraised for The Pebbles Project in South Africa. They will be going to work with children less fortunate than them in the townships. The school is also participant in The Comenius Project through SELB and most recently developed formal links with St Mairin’s CatholicHigh School in San Francisco. Senior students have the opportunity for summer work placements in St Elizabeth’s, Much Haddem, a care centre also founded by the Daughter of the Cross.
Emphasis is placed on Parent-Student-Teacher relationships. Reports keep parents au-fait with students’ progress. Parent/Teacher meetings are held for in-depth individual discussion of students’ academic progress and character development and parents are encouraged to check on students’ progress at any time. The Form Teacher system, whereby one teacher has special responsibility for the care and welfare of a particular class, ensures that students can have guidance and support for individual problems. A senior staff member has overall responsibility for pastoral management in school. There is a designated teacher for issues of abuse. The school has been awarded the prestigious Charter Mark for excellence of public service, and the Schools’ Curriculum Award for excellence in community liaison, service and provision through the curriculum.
A senior member of staff has responsibility for Careers. Besides discussion and direction, students have work experience facilities provided and talks from visiting representatives of various walks of life. A Careers conference is visited annually by pupils to assist their informed choice of subjects and careers.
The school motto “In Hoc SignoVinces” (In this Sign you will Conquer) reflects the school’s aim to prepare young people to take their place as active and responsible Christian citizens in the community.