How To Cultivate ‘A Place of Belonging’


Abode2 sits down with Brian Moore, Principal at Rathdown Girls School to  ask him about how, as a school, they encourage, educate and support every student so she can achieve her personal best.


Can you tell us more about your ethos of ‘A Place of Belonging’?

‘A Place of Belonging’ reflects a real and tangible sense of community in the school. We believe it is not about any one individual – it is about the whole Rathdown community, encompassing the students and their families, our alumni and our staff.

Each student is encouraged to explore existing or new interests – academic, sport, music and much more.  We appreciate there are different types of personality and each student is provided with a platform to explore their interests and be whoever they want to be. Due to our relatively small size, staff get to know their students well, and each is cared for.

How do you maintain the balance between challenging your students and keeping the school experience enjoyable?

We maintain the balance by encouraging participation in sporting and extra-curricular activities whilst providing a nurturing environment and pastoral care to help the students achieve their best. By supporting their interests in both the Junior and Senior School and regularly celebrate all achievements and successes with the wider community through email, newsletters, website and social media. Our Alumni network also enables our community to develop valuable links for life.

What benefits have you, as a school, found in keeping class sizes small?

Having small class sizes allows us to really get to know each of our students and to understand their aptitudes and learning traits. This enables us to then tweak our teaching accordingly to provide ‘the individual experience’ so that no student is lost amongst the others. We have found that this personal touch coupled with a broad range of subjects results in our student achieving high academic standards throughout their time here.

Apart from a leading education, what other values and qualities is it key for your students to learn?

Our values reflect those of our founding schools which were each set up by pioneering proponents of women’s education.

We believe in encouraging our students to develop lifelong values and qualities:

  • Being the best they can be.
  • To be confident, ambitious and well-rounded.
  • Culturally diverse.
  • To be supportive of each other.
  • Develop an active interest in charity work and the importance of giving back to the community.
  • Develop life-long friendships.
  • And most importantly – have fun!

Why do you think it is important for students to partake in the wealth of extra-curricular opportunities you offer?

The true value and importance of a students’ extra-curricular activities is reflected in their achievement, from their sound general education to their physical and mental health. We believe they also learn important life-lessons in winning, losing, teamwork and the responsibility they have for one another.


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