Fifth Year

Two Year Leaving Certificate Course

Fifth Year is an important opportunity to lay the groundwork necessary to cultivate a very successful Leaving Certificate.

Building on the core subjects from Transition Year, students in Fifth Year embrace new and exciting opportunities. Each September, our girls rise to the challenge of Senior Cycle and they approach their studies with diligence and vigour. Our Fifth Year students demonstrate a wide range of skills over the year. They participate in various events designed to cultivate camaraderie and teamwork.

Our Fifth Year students also undergo regular testing and continuous assessment which equips them early on with the skills they need to maximise their potential in the Leaving Certificate.

Extra-curricular activities form an integral part of the student’s school life including sports, music, debating and science. Many girls opt to board in Fifth Year to avail of all of the extra-curricular options as well as supervised study and to eliminate any commuting time.

The foundation of a successful Leaving Certificate begins in Fifth Year. Students in this year can prepare for the Leaving Certificate at a pace suitable to their level of ability. There are many advantages to our programme.

  • 2013-18 Leaving Cert results 

    • 1 in 5 students scored over 550 points
    • A little over 2 in 5 scored 500+ points
    • 3 in 5 scored over 450 points
    • Three-quarters of all students scored over 400 points
    • 9 out of 10 students scored over 300 points
    • Our median point score (the middle score) is 480 points

    Access to a wide range of subjects

  • Substantial and important course coverage
  • Regular assessments
  • Structured working/study environment
  • Dedicated Year Head

Our Career Guidance Counsellor frequently meets with the students to help gauge their various career aspirations.

In Fifth Year at Rathdown School, students are offered:

  • Regular mentor meetings with Year Head
  • The option to change subjects mid-cycle if required or advisable
  • Smaller classes
  • Supportive environment
  • Options to switch from being a day student to boarding 
  • Extra-curricular activities programme
  • Excellent teaching standards - see 2018 Whole School Evaluation Report

Students gain a comprehensive, thorough knowledge in the core areas of each subject, thus building a solid foundation for the tough year ahead. In Sixth Year, students enter into a more advanced level of study with much of the year focusing on specific examination technique and a programme of intensive revision.


We cherish the responsibility we are given to educate girls at a crucial time in their young lives. We try to ensure that the students’ sense of self-esteem, self-reliance, confidence and academic prowess is enhanced and challenged. Hence, we offer a curriculum that incorporates academic, cultural, artistic and athletic aspects of education. Our learning experience leaves students with an ingrained confidence, ability to succeed and, most of all, happy memories!

Boarding for Fifth Year

Students who opt to board for Fifth Year have more time to devote to personal development and extra-curricular activities. 

Individual Study bedrooms

In addition to the advantages listed above Senior boarders also benefit from

  • Individual study and bedroom
  • On-site secure, quiet, modern accommodation
  • No wasted time commuting
  • Supervised study until 10pm every evening and options for study over the weekend
  • Fresh nutritious hot meals with lots of variety
  • Camaraderie and support of their extended boarding family and staff
  • A wide variety of extra-curricular activities on-site
  • Fewer distractions
  • A healthy and consistent daily routine
  • Greater independence and responsibility in preparation for leaving school

Our Fifth Years are a tightly-knit group of students from all over Ireland and further afield. Many friendships are formed over the course of their time in Rathdown and the students are always confident in progressing to their Leaving Certificate year together. 

If you are interested in enroling with us and have questions about the school, then we highly recommend you visit us for a tour of the school and our boarding facilities. Our Registrar and  Head of School would be delighted to meet with you and answer any questions you or your daughter may have.  To book, please complete this form.