Mount Temple Comprehensive
3. SCHOOL ETHOS, VISION AND DIRECTION
4. LEARNING COMMITMENT
5. LEARNING POLICY
6. DEVELOPING AND IMPLEMENTING THIS POLICY
7. REVIEW AND MONITORING
In 2006/2007 Mount Temple teaching staff began a process which culminated in the
development of a learning policy. One of the first of its kind in Ireland, the Mount Temple
Learning Policy links the schools ethos, vision and direction, to what is taught and learnt in
the school. It combines values and aspirations, with a response to issues that are central to
our school as a learning organisation. It provides a guide for subject planning and curriculum
In 2011/2012, the policy was revised to take account of the changed context in which
we operate. The growing recognition that global and local change are at the heart of the
educational process, and that young people need to be equipped, during schooldays, with the
skills and competencies necessary to engage in lifelong and life-wide learning, influence this
policy. The policy also recognises that the rapid pace and nature of change, and that changing
modes and models of learning will shape learning in the school.
2. BASIS AND PURPOSE OF THE POLICY
The Mount Temple Learning Policy is based firmly on the ethos of the school, its mission,
vision and direction. It also reflects the reality of school life, and highlights what is best
about learning in Mount Temple. It draws on good practice already going on in Mount
Temple, and elsewhere in Ireland and abroad. While drawing on our strengths and traditions,
it also seeks to address challenges, weaknesses and priorities for improvement.
It forms the basis for the Curriculum Section of the School Plan, and will be reflected in
each Subject Department Plan. It will inform relevant whole school policies and plans in
areas such as Transition Year, Special Educational Needs, etc. It will also inform the schools
involvement in, and response to, various initiatives such as the reform of the Junior Cycle, the
national strategy on literacy and numeracy, etc.
While the learning policy is somewhat aspirational, in that it is not yet achieved, it is
based on existing good practice, and aims to be realistic and achievable.
3. SCHOOL ETHOS VISION AND DIRECTION
The school ethos reflects the original mission of Mount Temple. Based on this heritage of
Protestant, Christian traditions, the school ethos statement states:
All of us are different, all of us are equal.
We respect this diversity. We work to create an environment in the school where all
members of the school community feel safe and protected, and enjoy learning, teaching,
working and extra-curricular activities. We expect tolerance, politeness, courtesy, co-
operation and respect for others and their property.
School Vision and Direction
Mount Temple builds on past traditions, affirms current good practice, and will encourage
innovation. We will provide an excellent education for all our students. Mount Temple is
a school committed to education for sustainable development. Students of Mount Temple
expect an education which is inclusive and tolerant, prepares them for further learning, and
enables them to participate fruitfully in society. Learning in Mount Temple will play a part in
how students’ eyes are opened to the realities of the world. It will equip them to become the
responsible, articulate, creative, committed, passionate citizens that the world needs. They
will be prepared to take responsibility for the world and Ireland’s part in changing it towards
greater equity and justice.
OUR UNDERSTANDINGS OF EDUCATION AND LEARNING
While there are many ways of conceiving education, one way of looking at education
suggests that there are four models of educational provision:
• Education as academic or personal development;
• Education preparing students for the world of work;
• Education providing students with the skills necessary to live fruitfully in society;
• Education enabling students to understand the world, in order to change it towards
greater justice and equity.
Mount Temple has a reputation for being strong in regard to academic and personal
development; in preparing students for the world of work; and in education for
citizenship. It also has a strong reputation, in the field of education for social change,
even though the provision in this field has not been as prominent as in the other three
areas. The school community has strengthened provision in education for social change
in recent years, and endeavors to move further in this direction in the coming years,
without losing the strengths of other models and emphases.
4. LEARNING COMMITMENT
Learning is at the heart of what happens in Mount Temple:
● Mount Temple is a learning school. Student learning is our raison d’etre. The
staff seek to learn from experience – both success and failure. We are a learning
● Learning is not value-neutral. What is learned here reflects the values outlined above.
● How learning and teaching takes place here seeks to reflect these values.
● Nothing is taught here which denies, denigrates or undermines these values.
● School life outside the classroom is also consistent with these values.
● The other policies of the school reflect these values.
● Staff and management attempt to embody these values.
● Exams are important tools for the assessment and improvement of learning; learning
is primary, exams secondary.
● We strive to ensure that students achieve their best in terms of learning; and recognise
and celebrate when they do their best to learn well.
5. LEARNING POLICY
What our Values Base means for Learning in Mount Temple
5. 1 Mount Temple is Comprehensive
Mount Temple is inspired by the ideal of a Comprehensive Education. Learning – academic,
practical and creative – is best achieved together rather than in segregation. A comprehensive
education at its best equips young people for the diverse realities of the world today, and
encourages a healthy balance of curricular learning with co- and extra-curricular activities.
Comprehensive Education in Mount Temple encourages learning inside and outside
classrooms, practical rooms, laboratories, theaters, game courts, playing fields and open
spaces; inside and outside school; during the school years and beyond. Mount Temple will
continue to provide a broad spectrum of subjects in line with its comprehensive nature.
Comprehensive Education in Mount Temple seeks to include all students equally, with
their diverse needs – including those with special learning needs, and those with particular
giftedness and specific talents. At the same time, Mount Temple will maintain the school’s
identity as an inclusive, mainstream Comprehensive school.
5.2 Mount Temple is Inclusive, Tolerant and Appreciating of Difference.
Mount Temple is recognised by parents, students, past pupils, and the wider community,
as a place of inclusiveness, tolerance and the celebration of difference. Building on the
tolerant, open-minded and independent spirits of its predecessor schools, Mount Temple
is known as the place where prejudice and intolerance are left at the gate. However, the
community of Mount Temple recognises together that the creation of tolerance, the challenge
of inclusiveness, and the securing of a learning space where difference is embraced is not
something accomplished once and for all, but is an educational path travelled every day.
We also recognise that as global citizens, open to the world, we are also local learners,
drawing on identities and traditions that are specifically Irish, specifically Dublin, and
even specifically Northsider. We draw on our Irish, Dublin, Northside heritage, culture
and traditions, including traditions of openness to others. We also recognise the richness
provided to the school community by those who come from elsewhere, bringing with
them different, new Irish and other identities, traditions, customs and cultures. As
new challenges emerge Mount Temple will continue to be at the forefront of promoting
inclusiveness, tolerance and the appreciation of difference, in line with the slogan – All
Different, All Equal.
5.3 Mount Temple is Gender-Balanced
Since its establishment Mount Temple has been co-educational; and in the 1970s this was
part of Mount Temple’s innovative educational approach. Mount Temple has continued to be
committed to gender balance as a principle. This is to be seen in
– intake policy and practice
– encouragement of participation of boys and girls in all subjects at all levels;
– teacher role-modeling, attitudes and teaching methods;
– encouragement of social interaction;
– extra-and co-curricular activities.
While an examination of current figures seems to suggest that Mount Temple is maintaining
the balance of boys and girls – at between 50/50 and 60/40 – nevertheless, maintaining 50/
50 challenges our intake policy. In the coming years Mount Temple will examine intake,
curriculum, and positive behavior policies and “gender-proof” all policies in the light of the
need to ensure gender equality and gender balance.
5.4 Mount Temple is Person-Centred
One of the defining characteristics of the type of education that is available in Mount Temple
is that it is focused on the development of the person. As a caring school, Mount Temple
is focused on the needs of the individual, and the personal development of each student is
central to the learning that goes on within the school.
This person-centred approach is expressed in the informality that pervades Mount Temple. It
is visible in the way in which teachers relate to students, and in which students relate to each
other and to teachers. It is also clearly visible in the practice of teaching, and is expressed in
This person-centred approach is also clearly evident in the Guidance Plan, in the Pastoral
Care programme of the school, and in the wide choice of sports and other extra-curricular
activities available. The personal, caring approach can be seen in the way in which the sick
bay, library and canteen services which are also part of a person-centred learning process.
While the priority of the school is the students under our care, the care and support of
teachers, other staff, and parents, is also part of Mount Temple’s person-centred approach.
“How can a school be intellectually stimulating, creatively challenging and pastorally caring
of students if it is not at the same time also that for teachers?”
Finnish National Board of Education “The Competencies of Global Citizens”
5.5 Mount Temple is Hard-Working towards Excellence
Mount Temple and its predecessor schools have a tradition of achievement in learning, and of
hard work in the pursuit of excellence. Mount Temple strives to ensure that the learning that
takes place in and outside the classroom equips students to be hard-working, and to achieve
Mount Temple seeks to encourage joy and enjoyment in learning. Students should also expect
to be pushed to the limits of what they can achieve. This principle of hardworking towards
excellence will become more and more evident not only in curriculum decisions, but also
in policies and practices in relation to punctuality and attendance, behavior, extra-curricular
activities, social engagement, etc.
Mount Temple celebrates and rewards hard work, initiative and achievement.
5.6 Mount Temple is Spiritual
Mount Temple’s spiritual dimension is based on the fact that Mount Temple has
● A Protestant, Christian heritage of mutual solidarity stretching back through its
predecessor schools almost 250 years;
● A spirit of independence of thought and action; coupled with an appreciation of
interdependence and mutuality.
● 40 years experience of learning for inclusiveness and appreciation of difference.
Learning in Mount Temple is devoted to developing the whole person, including the spiritual
dimension, and to developing an informed conscience in people.
This means that learning in Mount Temple includes:
● Understanding and appreciating the Christian, particularly Protestant , traditions
on which the school is founded; and encouraging an openness to understanding the
beliefs of those of major and minority religious and non-religious traditions;
● Enabling students to explore, understand and appreciate the spiritual dimensions of
● Supporting the students in the development of their own spirituality;
● Providing space for quiet, reflection, prayer and formation.
● Learning for fullness of life, and experiencing joy in a learning environment.
5.7 Mount Temple is Innovative, Critical and Creative
Mount Temple has been renowned for being at the forefront of educational experimentation;
encouraging innovation in teaching and learning, fostering critical faculties and enabling
creativity. Evidence of this can be seen not only in the career paths and life choices of
individual past pupils, but also in the ways in which the school operates. Innovation,
creativity and the promotion of critique are still clearly evident in classrooms and corridors,
and are also seen in co and extra-curricular activities as diverse as Seachtain na Gaeilge,
Actiontrack, Drama, Musical education and recitals, initiatives in the Arts, Science, etc.
However, Mount Temple grew rapidly the 1980 and 1990s. Meanwhile, the pressures of
increasingly packed curricula, while providing training that may have promoted some
innovations, may have also diminished space for creativity and innovation. The space for
promoting these necessary dimensions of education and learning needs to be nurtured. Mount
Temple will work in the coming years, to create greater space for innovation, creativity and
critique within teaching and learning.
5.8 Mount Temple is Future-Oriented
Mount Temple is future-oriented. What this means for learning in Mount Temple is that
– Learning in Mount Temple encourages the self-directed, lifelong learning process
– Learning in Mount Temple will prepare students to live in the complex, rapidly
changing, and globalised world of the present and the future.
– Learning is directed to enabling students understand and engage with both the
world as it is, and the world as it will become in the future.
– The subjects available, curricula chosen, textbooks and other teaching resources
used, and educational methodologies, will take account of students understanding
of, engagement with, and ability to change the world, into the future.
– Learning in Mount Temple will move towards a future-oriented, lifelong-learning
approach that equips young people with the knowledge and competencies
necessary for the world in which they will live.
– Mount Temple will embrace curriculum reforms that move in this direction,
such as the new Junior Cycle. Mount Temple will be at the forefront of efforts to
change the existing syllabi that are not fit for purpose and to provide alternatives.
– Learning through new technologies will be explored and encouraged.
5.9 Mount Temple is Committed to a World of Greater Justice, Dignity and Human
“as a global community, we have the means to eradicate poverty and to overcome the deep
inequalities that divide countries and people.” UNDP 2005
Education is not neutral in relation to the way the world is ordered. It either serves to
maintain the status quo, i.e. prop up and contribute to a global situation of injustice and
inequity; or to critique, undermine, and question such an unjust world order, to promote the
imagining of alternatives, and to engage learners in education and educational action in
favour of a more just and equitable world.
In Mount Temple, we are committed to providing an education which engages young people
as global citizens, provides them with the ability to recognise all that is wonderful about the
world; enables them to celebrate with joy the diversity of the worlds peoples; allows them
to experience solidarity, fairness and justice in their dealings with others, and to expand that
solidarity particularly to the worlds poorest in the developing world; opens their eyes to the
realities of the world, including the realities of structural injustice; engages them in learning
for change; broadens their vision of alternatives to current unjust systems; and empowers
them to act effectively in favour of a more just, equitable and socially cohesive world. In
Mount Temple, therefore, learning is about understanding the world as it is. It is also
about interpreting the world in order to change the world.
5.10 Mount Temple is Committed to a World that is Sustainable
In Mount Temple teaching and learning is devoted to enabling students to learn for the
world of today and for the world of tomorrow. The future is uncertain, the world is changing
rapidly, knowledge is expanding, varieties of globalisation – social, economic, cultural,
political – effect all. The possibility of a world of equity, human rights and justice for
all peoples is tied up with the possibility of rescuing the world from environmental and
ecological degradation. Biodiversity of ecosystems, and diversity of cultures, require
protection. A commitment to sustainable development, and to education that opens students
eyes to the realities of the world and to their part in changing it, is at the heart of learning and
teaching in Mount Temple. Moving into the future Mount Temple will become a centre of
excellence and a prototype of a school committed to Learning for Sustainable Development
and Global Justice. Starting with the achievement of a Green Flag, Mount Temple will move
to become an energy neutral, ecological school.
6. Developing and Implementing this Policy.
This policy will be kept under continual review. Its implementation can be seen in the
curricular and other policy decisions taken by the school. In particular, during 2012-2015,
this policy will inform the way in which junior cycle reform, transition year curricular
decisions, and reform of the senior cycle, and the provision of Leaving Cert Applied and
other programmes, will be approached. Furthermore, school approaches to learning and
assessment will be directed by, and will in turn inform, the Learning policy.
7. Monitoring, Review and Evaluation.
This policy will be monitored by the Board, with input from teachers, students and parents. It will be reviewed and adapted as needs arise.
Original Version: 2007
Reviewed and updated 2016/7