Sunday School for St. Paul’s students

March 31, 2014

As part of its final push towards exam time, St. Paul’s High School in Bessbrook has taken the unprecedented step in offering a Sunday evening study class for students sitting exams in the coming months.

This is the first time ever the school has offered such a scheme and it has been welcomed by students, with demand for places on the study evening running extremely high.  The school’s Facebook page has advertised the Sunday Study as an opportunity for those “who are seriously focused on success in June”. The sheer number of students taking up the offer of supervised study within their school environment would certainly indicate that a vast majority of 6th and 7th year students are indeed focused on exam success.

Principal Jarlath Burns told The Examiner he decided to offer the Sunday Study sessions so that students could take advantage of committing to dedicated, supervised study time, free from the distractions of social media and mobile phones.

“For most pupils, it’s easy to get into a rut during the week and promise themselves they will study.” said Mr Burns.

“Because there are so many distractions at home, a student could sit in a bedroom or study with the intention of doing three hours of revision but then spend two of those hours on facebook and twitter before anything gets done, so some youngsters need a bit of protection almost against the distractions that are in their lives.

“We already offer afterschool study on a Wednesday and Thursday so the additional Sunday evening study is taking into consideration the distractional realities of children’s lives.  Most students want to do well, they want to spend time studying but it is difficult to make the time.

“If there is a three hour occasion at the weekend where they know they’re going to be in school, free from the distractions of modern technology, as there is no way of accessing social media and no way for them to text or communicate, then they can enjoy the rest of their weekend. They can go out on a Saturday night knowing they’ve got a dedicated time slot for focused, undistracted study.”

Such has been the success of the very first Sunday Study session in St Paul’s last weekend that Mr Burns is considering rolling it out for GCSE students who have expressed an overwhelming interest in having the same opportunity for study.

“Fifth year pupils are keen to get involved.  It just seems to have tapped into a desire which our pupils have,” Mr Burns pointed out.

“I felt that it was important that the pupils themselves would have the initiative to decide if this is something they needed to do. I didn’t want it to be parent-led, with parents insisting on their children coming to Sunday Study. That won’t work – I don’t want anyone here in sufferance. This is something which must come from a desire within the pupils themselves and, I’m glad to say, that is what seems to be happening.”

The Sunday study sessions will run from 5.30pm until 8.30pm each Sunday and will be supervised by Mr Burns.