Ethos & Culture




On 21st May 2015, Presentation Secondary School, Castleisland unveiled its school Ethos Wall in the main foyer of the school. The design and creation of the Ethos wall celebrates the values it holds and share as a community in Presentation Secondary School. Pope Francis said we must be “the living presence of the Gospel in the field of education, science and culture”.

To design the wall, Transition Year students consulted with the wider student body to review and discuss the school’s purpose and mission. The wall gives witness to the founder of the Presentation Sisters, Nano Nagle.

The students began by pasting a layer of encyclopaedia pages as wallpaper. They went through several encyclopaedias and carefully selected the pages which were used to ensure that every page had some educational value. They represent the broad range of subjects and wide variety of learning opportunities provided for at the school.

As well as pasting the encyclopaedia pages onto the wall, the students created embroidery hoops which incorporate the CEIST core values: a motivational book containing inspirational quotes in calligraphy, several books with the pages specially folded to form artistic designs and a painting of Nano Nagle who holds a lantern to represent guiding the children out of the dark and into the light.

The Ethos wall is a visual representation of the connectedness between the spirituality which the school seeks to promote and the daily life of the school. It is the end result of a most worthwhile process and discussion on what it means to be part of the school. The story of its journey is truly an inspiration.

The commitment and dedication of the Transition year students and teachers to the project was highly commended. They gave their skills and time freely with one purpose in mind to make the wall a centrepiece for the school of which to be proud.

The school was delighted to welcome Bishop Ray Browne to unveil the wall on 21st May 2015. Transition Year student Rachael O’ Connor said:

“We hope that this wall will bring hope for the future, joy of the present and appreciation of our tradition together for all our school community. Please take time to view when you visit our school”.




Presentation Secondary School Castleisland has reached great heights and faraway places, yet the links are reflected locally. In early summer 2017, the staff at Presentation Secondary heard the good news that the school was chosen to participate in a school culture initiative in conjunction with the University of Notre Dame, from Indiana, USA. The School Culture Initiative is an exciting new undertaking in Ireland by University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE). ACE-Ireland seeks to identify, motivate and develop leaders that are committed to revitalizing the Catholic character of Irish primary and secondary schools in the 21st century. Using a model developed and implemented with Catholic schools in the US, but tailored for an Irish context, individual School Culture Teams (the principal plus two other teachers) were supported over a two year period to introduce, explore and implement the school culture framework.

The process focused on schools exploring the issue of Catholic school identity from their own perspective and being conscious of the rich tapestry of experiences different schools bring to the initiative. This School Culture Initiative programme involved just three schools in Ireland. The invitation to participate was embraced by management and staff. School Principal Katherina Broderick described the initiative as a wonderful opportunity for the school back in 2017:

“We are delighted to have been chosen and are really enjoying this worthwhile programme which is building on the positive school culture of Presentation Castleisland and strengthening our distinctive school ethos. So far the initiative has created a space for us to examine the values and beliefs that inform our work. All our policies and procedures are developed from a strong philosophy and faith. The Notre Dame project is affirming our values and beliefs to strengthen and sustain a school culture that is intentional, coherent and consistent for Presentation Castleisland”.



Our school worked with Notre Dame Alliance for Catholic Education programme and developed the following outline of our root beliefs, core values and actions and behaviours.

We were honoured to be involved in this prestigious programme. The objective of the 2 year programme was to strengthen and sustain a positive culture in our school.

We looked at what our culture means:

Culture: the integration of environmental, organisational and experiential features of school existence to offer a context for teaching and learning. It’s the how we live our values and beliefs, “The Way We Do Things Around Here”.

Expressed in 3 key ways:

  • Professional relationships, for example, the ways in which school leadership, teachers and staff relate to and work with each other and their pupils.
  • Organisational arrangements and procedures, including the management of the environment.
  • The curriculum in its widest sense.

The framework of our work focused on:

  1. Reflecting on our school’s history and tradition
  2. Investigation and reflection on the Tenets of a Catholic School
  3. Determining Root Beliefs of our school
  4. Deciding Core Values linked to those Beliefs
  5. Consideration of Behaviours and Actions
  6. Communicating the Message (Consistently, Creatively and Constantly)



In Presentation Secondary School Castleisland we believe there is:

  • a story we enter;
  • a picture that we paint;
  • a community we belong to;
  • a language we speak;
  • a work that we do;
  • a way that we pray;
  • and a face of God that we seek and show.