Bridgetown Vocational College

Bridgetown Vocational College

Bridgetown Vocational College (BVC) is an Irish secondary school in Bridgetown, County Wexford, Ireland, managed by the County Wexford Vocational Education Committee (VEC).


Technical education in Ireland has a history that stretches back over hundreds of years. The Dublin Philosophical Society was founded in 1683 followed by the Royal Dublin Society in 1731. These learned bodies sought to promote improvements in agricultural husbandry, manufacture and the useful arts and to promote the study of the sciences. These initiatives saw the development of a number of regional centres. These in turn paved the way for the popular Mechanics' Institutes one of which was subsequently located in Wexford town. During the nineteenth century official bodies such as the Commissioners for National Education (1831) and the Department of Science and Art (1851) extended state support to technical and manual instruction. In 1893 the Technical Education Association of Ireland was founded and it articulated the need for a national system of technical training. 1899 saw the passing of the Agriculture and Technical Instruction (Ireland) Act.

Some time after the enactment of the Vocational Education Act in 1930, a small experimental vocational school was established in rented accommodation in Bridgetown village. Enrolment crept up slowly and it was not until the 1960s that the need for a proper post-primary school in the area was fully accepted. So it was that on 18 October 1965, 44 students and five teachers moved from the rented accommodation into a new purpose-built school.The numbers continued to increase and by 1976, when students sat for the Leaving Cert, for the first time, enrolment stood at 329. To cope with the increasing numbers, a new building was officially opened by the Minister for Education on 12 October 1984. With an annual turnover of some 120 students, Bridgetown Vocational College presently houses a community of 637 students, 48 teachers and ten ancillary staff.

A major building extension started in 2006 and was completed in Summer 2007. The extension has a floor area of 18002 metres and provides major additional facilities : eight general classrooms, a new Art Room, a Science Laboratory, a tiered demonstration room, a Technology Room, a Senior Engineering Room, a large general purpose and dining area, a new staff room, a new administration area and extra toilet and cloakroom facilities. Land has already been purchased which will shortly be developed into a playing pitch.

The extension to the gymnasium was completed on the 2nd March 2007 with the new building extension completed the following September.


Non-denominational, co-educational and non-selective in its intake, the college ethos is broadly Christian, and since most young people in the area stretching from Wellingtonbridge, Duncormick to Rosslare Harbour, and from the sea to Forth Mountain, attend Bridgetown Vocational College, the college atmosphere strongly reflects the ideals and aspirations of the local community. The college ethos promotes respect, seeks to promote the development of the potential of each individual and aims to generate moral and social responsibility.

Mission Statement

Bridgetown Vocational College aims to provide a holistic educational experience meeting the diverse needs of the community in a positive learning environment. They encourage all students to realise their full potential and develop a sense of self worth by promoting mutual respect, co-operation and tolerance.


Bridgetown is a small village, located fifteen minutes away from Wexford town, less than ten minutes away from Duncormick and only a few kilometres from the picturesque village of Kilmore Quay. Close to the school, is the local Post Office. A few hundred yards from the school is the local newsagents and butchers which both do great business with the College being so near by.


The College offers the Junior Certificate, Leaving Certificate, Post Leaving Certficiate and Evening Courses.

Junior Certificate

This three year programme was introduced in September 1989 to replace the former "Group Cert" and Inter Cert. The entry requirement is that a student would normally have completed 6th class in a primary school or equivalent, and would be 12 years of age on 1st January of the year following enrolment. All students study Irish, English, Maths, History or Geography, Science, Religious Education, Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE), Social Health and Physical Education, together with a number of the following subjects which may be chosen from Teaching Blocks (TB's): French; Art, Craft and Design; Technical Graphics; Materials Technology (Wood); Metalwork; Home Economics; Business Studies and Theatre & Stage. All subjects may be taken by both girls and boys.

To cater for the needs and talents of individual students, Irish, English and Maths may be studied at three different levels: Higher Level (A: Árd), Ordinary Level (G: Gnáth) or Foundation Level (B: Bonn). Only students with an exemption recognised by the Department of Education and Science can be excused from the study of Irish. All other subjects may be studied at two levels: Higher Level (A: Árd) or Ordinary Level (G: Gnáth). Students who plan to enroll for Leaving Certificate should, obviously, follow as many subjects as possible at the Higher Level.

Leaving Certificate

Leaving Certificate Established

This is a two year programme entry requirement to which is a good standard of achievement in the Junior Certificate examination, or equivalent. Most students take seven subjects for examination: normally a three-subject core of Irish, English and Maths, plus four subjects from the following list: French, History, Geography, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Agricultural Science, Art, Technical Drawing, Construction Studies, Engineering, Home Economics and Business and Accountancy. These subjects are grouped in Teaching Blocks (TB's) and selections are made in consultation with teachers. All subjects may be studied at Higher Level (A: Árd) or Ordinary Level (G: Gnáth). Non-examination subjects include Religious Education, Physical Education (PE)and Career Guidance.

Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme

This is an optional extra for Leaving Certificate students who choose certain specified combinations of subjects from the Leaving Certificate programme. Students receive two-three periods per week of training in Computer Skills and two Link Modules: Preparation for the World of Work and Enterprise Education. There is an attractive scale of extra third level entry points for those who achieve a pass, merit or distinction in the LCVP examination.

Leaving Certificate Applied

This programme is an alternative Leaving Certificate course developed by the Department of Education and Science. It is more practically based than the traditional course and is designed to meet the needs of students who would have difficulty with the traditional programme. The programme emphasises personal development and transferable skills. Students study a variety of subjects including English and Communication, Mathematical Applications, Information Technology, Vocational Preparation and Guidance, Arts Drama, Leisure and Recreation, Social Education, Religious Education, Communicative Irish and a Modern Language. Students also study two vocational subjects that reflect their interests. The emphasis on practical skills extends to the world of work and students are given the opportunity to experience four work experience placements. Progress is assessed on an ongoing basis and credits are awarded for satisfactory completion of modules. Class size is restricted to 24 and applicants are interviewed during the last term.

Post Leaving Certificate

Bridgetown Vocational College offers the Fetac Business Studies Course. This course is one-year and full-time, offering the following range of subjects: Word Processing, Text Production, Database Methods; Spreadsheet Method; Bookkeeping (Manual and Computerised; Payroll (Manual and Computerised); Business Calculations; Audio Transcription; Information Technology Skills; Communications; Computer Applications and Work Experience.

Candidates must take eight of the above to secure the Fetac National Certificate in Business Studies. The "Higher Links Scheme" is used in this college whereby students can gain points in order to gain access to Third Level Courses. Participation from mature students is encourage and a flexible timetable is offered to co-incide with Primary School hours.

Evening Courses

A small night class programme operates with classes advertised in Autumn and Spring.

50th Anniversary

On the 18th December 2003, Bridgetown Vocational College celebrated it's golden jubilee. A booklet, compiled by Mr. Jim Hurley, was published to commemorate the event in which pass students, dating back to when the school opened its doors under the Teacher-in-Charge (or Principal), Pádraig Kinsella in a large store a few hundred yards from where the school is now. From those beginnings, the school has grown to accommodate around 650 students after the major extension in 1984 which improved facilities for staff and students.

The book is available from the College.

Bridgetown School Completion Programme

The School Completion Programme is a Department of Education and Science Programme that aims to have a significant impact on the level of pupil retention in primary and second level schools and on the number of pupils who successfully complete Senior Cycle. The schools currently in the Bridgetown School Completion Programme are Bridgetown VC., Kilmore NS., Rathangan NS., and Kilrane NS. The type of activities currently run in Bridgetown VC under the Bridgetown SCP include a music programme, extra resource hours, mentoring, counselling, percussion programme, youth project, courses for parents, homework club, parent support and a summer programme.

Feeder Schools

*Broadway National School, Broadway, Co. Wexford
*Kilrane National School, Kilrane, Co. Wexford
*Murrintown National School, Murrintown, Co. Wexford
*Piercestown National School, Piercestown, Co. Wexford
*Rathangan National School, Rathangan, Duncormick, Co. Wexford
*Scoil Mhuire National School, Rosslare, Co. Wexford
*Scoil Realt na Mhara, Kilmore, Co. Wexford
*St. Fintans National School, Mayglass, Co. Wexford
*St. Joseph's National School, Hilltown, Ballymitty, Co. Wexford
*St. Mary's National School, Danescastle, Carrig-on-Bannow, Co. Wexford

External links

* [ Bridgetown Vocational College Website]

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