Junior Cycle (1st – 3rd Year)

During the 3 years of the Junior Certificate all students follow the curriculum as directed by the Irish State. Comprehensive terminal examinations are taken at the end of Third Year. Most students sit Higher Level papers and take up to 10 subjects.

The curriculum is broad and balanced. We nurture and shape our students, encourage them to be confident, self-disciplined and independent learners. All classes are exposed to a wide range of teaching and learning styles.

Classes are small. Each year group is divided into groups of approximately 20, but most classes are considerably smaller.

All students are designated a Form Base and a team of Heads of Year, who act as academic advisor and mentor supporting, guiding and encouraging the students on each stage of their journey. He or she is the main point of contact with parents.

The school has an excellent tradition of working in active partnerships with parents. There is regular contact between home and the school and four reports every year and a formal parent teacher meeting.

The Curriculum

All students follow a core curriculum of ENGLISH, MATHEMATICS, IRISH**, FRENCH, SCIENCE, HISTORY & GEOGRAPHY.

**Please note students from an international background will usually receive an exemption from studying Irish.

In addition, all First and Second Years take a weekly computer class and follow a Physical Education Programme as well as Social, Personal & Health Education and Civics.


Within these option groups numerous combinations of subjects are available. Some will opt to take subjects that cover a wide range of disciplines. Others might prefer a combination of more practical subjects such as Art, Home Economics and IT.

Alternatively, students can opt to follow courses that are more technical and mathematical – Technical Drawing with its emphasis on Computer Aided Design and Business Studies. Of course, students can opt to study combinations of all three disciplines. Arrangements can be made to follow Spanish or German, but this is dependent on the numbers of students option for these languages.


Parents are encouraged to be active partners in the educational programme and we ensure that they are regularly informed of the progress of their sons and daughters in the form of regular assessments.

Early in September the entire First Year take a diagnostic set of tests to establish baseline standards and give the teachers, parents and the students an objective view of potential future performance. This data provides the basis for target setting and allows us to focus on progression and development.

Classes are initially taught in mixed ability groups. Regular reports on achievement in two sets of internal exams and two formal assessments based on assignments in each subject (designed to provide a picture of attainment in core competencies) give a comprehensive insight into academic performance and measure progression. High standards are encouraged. Throughout this cycle students are exposed to a wide range of learning styles and begin to develop competency in oral and aural work, practical assignments, problem solving activities and group and team work.

Transition Year (4th Year)

This is an important point of entry for Sutton Park. We have an influx of international students from a wide range of European and non-European backgrounds. Here the international dimension of the school really comes alive.

The Transition Year Programme (TYP) is designed to help students make the transition from the Junior Certificate course to the more academic Leaving Certificate programme with greater emphasis on individual research abilities, study skills and a more demanding, analytical approach to subject matter.

About 75% of the Transition Year course content is devoted to traditional academic subjects as preparation for the Leaving Certificate course and 25% is devoted to the provision of enrichment opportunities for students in many useful life skills.

Please see the TY booklet on the right for the 2018-19 course.

Senior Cycle (5th & 6th Year)

The Senior Cycle is an important entry point at Sutton Park. The Leaving Certificate provides the pathway to University. It is a widely accepted course around the world and provides our students with the grades necessary to access universities in Ireland, UK, Mainland Europe and, indeed, worldwide colleges.

Our accreditation status allows us to provide transcripts and references that are internationally recognised and support the Leaving Certificate grades. American SAT papers can also be arranged by the School.

Academic attainment is high at Sutton Park. Our Leaving Certificate results are annually double the national percentage of attainment. 20% of our students for instance achieve 500 points or more (or 5 A Grades) against a national figure of under 9%. Well over 40%of our students achieve 450 points (or 3 A’s and 2 B’s) against 17% nationally. At 400 points we achieve double the national average with nearly 60%of our students achieving this impressive set of grades.

Our success at Leaving Certificate is a reflection of our small classes, the personal attention all the students receive and our Evening Study programme. Evening Study takes place every weekday evening from 5.30 – 8.30 pm in our well stocked library. Supervised regular quiet study time is essential for success in the Leaving Certificate and an important part of preparation for the challenges of University life. Students take advantage of this controlled study time. Our Evening Study facility provides a structured environment and a bright learning space for up to 40 students.

Sutton Park offers up to 20 subjects at Leaving Certificate. All students follow a core curriculum made up of the following subjects:- English (both Language & Literature) | Mathematics | Modern Foreign Language | Irish* (International students are exempt from this subject and often choose to study another Modern Language in this time-slot)

Our Option Subjects are grouped under the following headings:-

  • Sciences
  • Humanities & Arts
  • Modern Languages
  • Chemistry | Biology | Physics
  • History
  • French
  • Design & Communication Graphics
  • Geography
  • Spanish
  • Home Economics
  • Economics
  • German
  • Applied Maths
  • Business
  • Italian *
  • Art History

* by special arrangement with the school

Within these groups of subjects students can choose various combinations. All students study at least 7 subjects. At the end of the 2 year course results in their best 6 subjects are added up and counted as points leading towards entry into University.

We advise students on all courses in the CAO, UCAS and American and European College and University system. Almost 100%of students matriculate to University and other 3rd level courses.

A programme of study skills and examination technique sessions is built into the 2 year Leaving Certificate programme at Sutton Park. Teaching and Learning is varied and students are encouraged to take up options that are broad and contain multiple assessments. Many option subjects have extensive coursework elements, practical applications and oral or aural requirements. All examinations are terminal and take place in the June of the 2nd Year of the Leaving Certificate.

Information Evenings, regular reports and parent teacher meetings ensure that our parent body are active partners in these two difficult and often challenging years.