An Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta

Department of Education and Science

 

Junior Certificate School Programme Evaluation

REPORT

 

Presentation College

Athenry, Co Galway

Roll Number: 62870G

 

Date of inspection: 27 February 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evaluation of JCSP

Introduction

Quality of programme organisation

Quality of programme planning and coordination

Quality of learning and teaching

Programme evaluation and outcomes

Summary of strengths and recommendations for further development

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evaluation of JCSP

 

The Junior Certificate School Programme (JCSP) is an intervention within the junior cycle that is aimed at students considered to be at risk of early school leaving. JCSP targets the risk factors associated with early school leaving. JCSP supports students’ social and personal development, it supports them in achieving academically, and the programme encourages them to form a bond with their school. Regular assessment and feedback to students on their progress is a key feature of a school’s JCSP.

 

 

 

Introduction

 

This report has been written following an evaluation of the JCSP in Presentation College, Athenry carried out as part of a whole school evaluation. It presents the findings of the evaluation and makes recommendations for the further development of the programme in the school. During the evaluation, the inspector held meetings with the school principal, deputy principal, and teachers and also met the students. The evaluation was conducted over two days during which the inspector liaised extensively with the programme co-ordinator and visited classrooms to observe teaching and learning. The inspector provided oral feedback to teachers on lessons observed. The inspector also examined students’ work and reviewed relevant documentation pertaining to the programme, as well as teachers’ written preparation. The outcomes of the evaluation were discussed with the school principal, the deputy principal, the programme co-ordinator and members of the teaching team following the evaluation.

 

Presentation College is a co-educational voluntary secondary school under the trusteeship of the Presentation Sisters. The school’s provision for students who have additional learning needs is an expression of the commitment in the school’s ethos to helping students to reach their full potential and to become responsible members of society. The school has had the JCSP in its curriculum since September 1996. Each of the students in the programme has special learning needs and through the structure provided by the JCSP the school seeks to meet these needs.

 

The school’s JCSP class, also called the Junior Resource Class, includes eleven students with an intake every three years. Individual students from the JCSP class can move into mainstream classes for one or more subjects as considered appropriate. Several students from the class sit the Junior Certificate examination in some subjects.

 

Following completion of junior cycle a senior-cycle group, the Senior Resource Class, is formed from these students for one further year. This group uses modules from the Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) and is oriented towards building on the skills that students have developed in JCSP. The programme, which includes two days of work experience each week, aims to prepare students for a social, active, and integrated role in society. The school is justifiably proud of its achievements in meeting the needs of these students and also the fact that all of the past graduates of the JCSP class are in useful employment or in further training.

 

As well as the students in the Junior Certificate School Programme class the school has other students with special educational needs. The commentary and recommendations in this report on JCSP should be read in the context of the comments and recommendations on provision for students with special educational needs contained in the WSE report on Presentation College.

 

 

1 Quality of programme organisation

 

1.1 Whole school support

 

The school’s senior management team in co-operation with the co-ordinator of the programme actively supports the JCSP. This support is evident at two levels: concern for students in the programme, and committed support of its ethos and methodologies. This support is made more effective by the warm and inclusive atmosphere of the school as a whole and a dedication to meeting the needs of all students.

 

Support for the ethos and methods of JCSP is shown by the extent to which JCSP principles are applied in other areas of the school and the whole-school support that the programme receives. Students in the Transition Year (TY) and Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP) have links with the JCSP students that enrich the school experience of both parties. The co-ordinators of each of these programmes are commended. The programme has its own notice board in the staffroom. To further develop the whole-school visibility of the programme a JCSP notice board should be placed in a central area of the school.   

 

While it is acknowledged that teachers in the programme are encouraged and facilitated by the school to avail of appropriate professional development, there needs to be a more systematic approach to continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers involved in the JCSP. This professional development should include teaching methodologies, curricular approaches, and the nature of the disabilities with which students present. The websites of the Special Education Support Service (www.sess.ie) and of the Institute of Child Education and Psychology Europe (www.icepe.eu) should be consulted for suitable courses. As part of its in-school professional development for staff and notwithstanding its current provision of induction for teachers new to JCSP, the school should also develop the current induction of teachers teaching in the JCSP to provide them with more detailed information on the programme, the needs of the students in JCSP, and the JCSP curriculum.

 

Planning should take account of the learning strengths of each student and make use of these to address their special learning needs. This needs to be done in a systematic way so that the learning goals for each student are identified clearly and each teacher can address these goals in their specific subject area. The school is advised to refer to the Department of Education and Science Inspectorate publication “Inclusion of Students with Special Educational Needs: Post-primary Guidelines” for guidance on individual planning for students with special educational needs. 

 

The school should move as quickly as it can towards a situation where JCSP students who are taken into the school each year are in age-appropriate class settings. This may result in more than one resource class of a smaller size than at present. However many of the students in these classes would be together as a group for a small part of the school week only, receiving much of their education in suitable mainstream classes. Such a situation would have implications for the future structure of JCSP in the school.

 

1.2 Resources

 

The school provides resources, in terms of teachers, materials, accommodation, and information and communication technologies (ICT) in respect of the JCSP. The teaching team for the JCSP class needs to be reduced to allow for the interaction between team members that is necessary for a team-based approach. This would benefit the programme in the following ways: each student would have fewer different people with whom to relate; each teacher would have a greater amount of time with the students so gaining a better knowledge of each student; it would be easier to have a full attendance at meetings of the teaching team; co-ordination of the programme would be facilitated; it would be easier for the school to provide continuing professional development (CPD) for the team members. Teachers could be included in the JCSP teaching team for three to five years at a time so that each teacher would have the opportunity to contribute to the JCSP.

 

English appears in the timetable as English, Resource, and Learning Support. A similar situation arises with Mathematics, for which there are two teachers. Drama and History are included in the curriculum of the class but not on the timetable. There should be clarity on the school’s timetable as to what subject is being taught at a particular time. As far as possible classes in English should be distributed throughout the school week and as many lessons in English and in Mathematics as possible should take place in the morning. The school is commended on the allocation of double and triple lesson periods to the practical subjects in the JCSP curriculum. The allocation of an additional single lesson should be considered for Home Economics so as to provide students with an opportunity for reflection and for preparation for practical lessons.

 

Students have access to the school’s computer system and there is a stand-alone computer in the JCSP classroom. Computer Studies is a subject on the JCSP curriculum. The school is in the process of equipping the JCSP classroom with a data projector. The school should investigate the further contribution that ICT could make to meeting the individual learning needs of students. Broad guidelines on this area are available in the post-primary guidelines referred to earlier and more detailed guidance is available in the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) Guidelines for Teachers of Students with General Learning Disabilities and the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE) book Engaging Learners: Mobile Technology, Literacy and Inclusion.

 

Because of the nature of the disabilities with which students in the JCSP class present the school is in receipt of significant additional teaching resources. These are separate from those granted specifically in respect of JCSP. There is a very substantial deficit in the extent to which these resources are being used as required in support of the education of the students in the JCSP class. All additional resources supplied by the Department in respect of students in the JCSP class must be used directly in meeting their educational needs. The post-primary guidelines on inclusion include advice to school on the uses that can be made of these resources.

 

1.3 Student selection

 

The school has contact with its feeder primary schools in respect of potential students, including visits to the primaries by the JCSP co-ordinator. This current level of contact should be built upon further through the development of easily understood material that would explain the programme as it operates in the school to parents and to potential and existing students, in advance of student selection.

 

Although the school offers JCSP to all of its incoming students who have special needs in respect of whom the Department has granted resource hours, not all such students are enrolled in the JCSP. Some are in mainstream education. Parental requirements and the school’s perception of the ability of a student to cope in mainstream appear to be the determinants of whether students are in the JCSP. The school should document how it selects students for JCSP. The school should also review the criteria that it uses to include students in JCSP as these are at present unclear and it may be that there are other students who might benefit from JCSP. This review should take place in the context of the school’s review of its provision for students with special needs. The role of JCSP overall in the school should be addressed as part of this review.

 

The selection process for JCSP is now part of the school’s enrolment procedures for students with special educational needs. Potential students for JCSP are identified while in primary school and the JCSP co-ordinator is involved as well as parents and the primary school. The school’s guidance department should play a leading role in this area. It is suggested that with an annual intake into JCSP the possibility of extending JCSP to a greater number of students including students in mainstream should be given consideration.

 

1.4 Home, school and community links

 

The co-ordinator and the school place a high value on the close contact that they have with the parents of JCSP students. Parents come with their son or daughter to the school in advance of transfer from primary to second level and are met by school management and the JCSP co-ordinator. As well as official school information evenings, parents also receive JCSP information leaflets. Contact between home and school takes place also through the use of JCSP postcards and students’ homework journals. Parents are involved when JCSP events and activities are taking place and they are reported to attend JCSP celebrations and to be generally very positive about the programme. Because of the commendably close liaison between the JCSP co-ordinator and parents, parents feel free to contact the school on any matter concerning their children. To build on the current level of contact with parents the school should prepare information about its JCSP to supplement that already provided to parents by the school. Included in this material should be details of the curriculum for each year of the JCSP class.

 

The school is involved with a partner school in Northern Ireland in the Co-operation Ireland Civic-Link Programme. In September 2007 students from the senior resource class and staff travelled to Armagh for a residential visit as part of that programme and a reciprocal visit from Armagh is planned for April 2008. The school and the staff involved are commended on the innovative nature of this linkage. It is another indicator of the school’s wholehearted commitment to meeting the educational and other needs of its students.

 

1.5 Supports for students

 

There is contact between the school and students and parents before entry and there are links between the feeder primary schools and Presentation College. The school is commended on these links. The mentoring programme for first-year students in the school includes the JCSP class. The school should document its induction programme for students so that parents are aware of the school’s aim to have as far as possible a continuum of educational experience for students in regard to curriculum and teaching methodologies as they transfer from primary to post-primary. 

 

Guidance within the school’s JCSP is delivered primarily through the mentoring of students and the development of students’ social skills. The JCSP co-ordinator also carries out a counselling role. Teachers on the programme are the principal providers of guidance. The school and the staff concerned are commended in this regard. It is recommended however that all guidance activities within JCSP should take place within the context of the school guidance plan, which should include a JCSP section. The school’s guidance department should take the lead in drawing up this in co-operation with the school staff principally involved with JCSP students. As well documenting the guidance provided by other staff, the plan should provide for a direct timetabled input by the guidance department into JCSP.

 

 

 

 

2 Quality of programme planning and coordination

 

2.1 Co-ordination

 

The JCSP co-ordinator and the school’s management have brought commendable commitment, energy and expertise to the programme. Co-ordinating and managing JCSP in a school is a challenging task that makes considerable demands in terms of skills and energies. The complexity of the task in this school is further increased given the needs of the students at whom the programme is directed.

 

The JCSP co-ordinator is thoroughly familiar with JCSP and has an adequate time allocation for co-ordination. A measure of the experience and high standing of the co-ordinator is the extent to which she provides training for teachers at a national level within JCSP. The JCSP support/organisation team consists of many of the teachers on the programme. For this reason the teaching team and the support/organisation team are largely the same. It is considered that the support/organisation team is too large to be fully effective in the organisation of the programme. Its size should be reduced so that it consists of the co-ordinator, guidance counsellor, learning-support teacher, and one or two other key personnel. This team should work with the co-ordinator in organising the programme and should have weekly formal meetings. Records of these meetings should be kept in the programme file. The teaching team for the programme should meet formally each term to plan and carry out student profiling. Informal meetings of smaller groups within the team should take place more frequently.

 

The co-ordinator is commended on the work being carried out in providing information on the programme and on its activities to parents. Through the meetings of JCSP staff the co-ordinator facilitates the sharing of resources and good practice between teachers. A measure of the involvement of the wider school in the programme is the support received from the LCVP and TY programmes.

 

The duties carried out in co-ordinating JCSP include many within the programme, such as organising meetings of the staff involved and notifying staff of available CPD. They also include linkage between the programme and external professionals and parents. The third element of the co-ordinator’s duties is in relation to linkage between the programme and other areas of the school such as briefing of staff members.

 

A role description should be drawn up for the JCSP co-ordinator that would reflect the following key aspects of the role of co-ordination in the context of the school: co-ordinating the day-to-day delivery of the programme including all JCSP-related activities; developing links among staff involved in the programme, including sharing of methodologies and teaching approaches; liaising with JCSP staff to address their needs for CPD; co-ordinating planning to meet the educational needs of individual JCSP students; developing the school’s JCSP plan; and, co-operating in the regular formal review and evaluation of the programme. The JCSP support/organising team should support the programme co-ordinator in carrying out these activities and provide a forum for decision-making. It is envisaged that with a reduced teaching team some members of that team would also take on responsibility for aspects of tasks associated with the programme. The staff concerned would liase with the programme support/organising team and the co-ordinator through the weekly meetings of that team. Part of the role of co-ordination would be carried out through more frequent informal meetings between the co-ordinator and these smaller groups of teachers.

 

Overall the recommendations above in regard to the co-ordination of the programme represent a diminution in the scope of the role of co-ordination and a deepening of that role within the programme. The main purpose of this is to develop more sharing of practice and collaboration among teachers. To assist senior school management in carrying out its responsibility for the overall management of the programme it is recommended that there should be a formal meeting between the JCSP co-ordinator and senior school management each half term at which the progress of individual students and the progress of the programme should be reviewed and areas for development within the programme should be identified.

 

While it is acknowledged that management has made every effort to provide for the storage and sharing of resources, resources and records are difficult to access and it is considered that this acts as a hindrance to sharing of these. There is an need for the JCSP accommodation situation, both of students and of resources and records, to be reviewed. This need will become more acute should the number of students in the programme be increased.

 

2.2 Planning

 

A small group that includes senior school management and the JCSP co-ordinator plans the JCSP each year. This group should also carry out the review of the JCSP that is recommended in this report and should also meet from time to time to monitor and to evaluate the programme in terms of its overall aims. Records of meetings of this group should be retained in the programme file.

 

The school’s JCSP planning documentation is contained in a substantial programme file. The JCSP co-ordinator is commended on her work in its preparation and continual updating. The programme file is in several sections including: general school policy documents; Department of Education and Science and National Council for Special Education (NCSE) circulars in relation to special educational needs and JCSP; documentation on the origins of the JCSP class in the school; general material on the JCSP and guidance on JCSP including presentations made by the school’s co-ordinator to other co-ordinators. This material is useful as a resource for the programme-planning process and should be kept in files other than the main JCSP planning file.

 

The further development of the policy document on pastoral care for JCSP students should be carried out by the support/organising team in co-operation with the school’s pastoral care team and the action plan for JCSP needs also to be developed further.

 

The support/organising team for JCSP should develop further the work done to date on the programme plan. Among the areas that should be included in the plan, in addition to the curricular material already there, are: selection and induction of students, planning and documenting of individualised learning plans, student assessment for learning within JCSP, more detail on the JCSP curriculum, teaching and learning methodologies within JCSP, CPD for JCSP staff, role of special needs assistants within the JCSP, and inclusion and support of JCSP students.

 

2.3 Curriculum

 

Literacy and numeracy are included in the JCSP curriculum, which is documented within the school’s JCSP plan. The co-ordinator and the individual teachers who have prepared curricular plans for JCSP are commended on this work. In the context of the early introduction of individual planning for students the curriculum for JCSP should also be reviewed. The purpose should be to match the curriculum for these students to their individual learning needs. The present Junior Certificate curricular emphasis should be supplemented for some students and replaced for others by use of the NCCA Guidelines for Teachers of Students with General Learning Disabilities. The potential for ICT in teaching and learning should be exploited to a greater extent. The curriculum for the JCSP should be documented for each year of the programme and should include learning objectives that are appropriate to the differing needs of the students. It is recommended that Civic Social and Political Education (CSPE) and Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) should be included in the curriculum of the JCSP class.

 

A commendable feature of the school’s JCSP is the linkage between the JCSP class and mainstream classes whereby JCSP students may take lessons in some subjects in mainstream classes. As a result of this a number of students in each JCSP group go on to achieve in the Junior Certificate Examination. This expectation of achievement by its JCSP students is a commendable feature of the school’s management of its JCSP class. Through targeting the individual learning needs of its students, it will be possible to more closely match expectations to the abilities of individual students.

 

While there is an element of student assessment within JCSP through the use of reading tests in the context of English, there is a need for a more co-ordinated effort in this area. A JCSP assessment policy with student profiling as a key element should be included in the JCSP curriculum plan.

 

A key aim of JCSP is students’ personal and social development and the improvement of their literacy and numeracy skills. As well as through its curriculum the school’s JCSP commendably addresses these through numerous in-school JCSP initiatives. The school has also been active in participating in national JCSP initiatives. All of these activities are of benefit to students.

 

 

3 Quality of learning and teaching

 

3.1 Planning and preparation for teaching

 

It was evident that considerable work had been put into the subject planning for some of the JCSP subjects. In particular the home economics department policy for JCSP is commended. It is recommended that, as part of the JCSP planning process referred to in the previous section, a JCSP plan should be drawn up for each JCSP subject that would express the material to be covered in terms of desired learning outcomes, and include provision for assessment, and also the timing of the programme. The plans should be produced in a format that would allow teachers to reflect on the outcomes of the different elements with a view to making necessary changes in succeeding years. Subject departments should collaborate in preparing the subject plans for JCSP.

 

Planning for teaching and learning within the school’s JCSP is mainly at an individual subject-teacher level. Students’ profiling statements were in use as planning tools in all of the subjects in which lessons were observed. Profiling statements should be specifically referred to in subject-department plans for JCSP and these plans should make reference to cross-curricular links and activities. There is need for further development of teaching methodologies in subjects as part of subject-department planning so that JCSP students experience a consistent approach that meets their needs, including the more consistent use of ICT in teaching and learning. While differentiated approaches to teaching and learning were observed in lessons, this also needs to be included explicitly in subject planning. Members of the JCSP teaching team should be given some responsibility in this area.

 

Cross-curricular planning within JCSP takes place mainly in the context of JCSP projects and initiatives. There is a need for continual liaison between teachers in JCSP, especially where students are being taught by more than one teacher for a particular subject, such as where students are taking a subject in a mainstream class also or are receiving learning support.

 

3.2 Teaching and learning

 

It was evident in the case of each lesson observed that detailed planning had taken place for that lesson. Students’ participation in many of the lessons was characterised by enthusiasm and engagement in the learning process that was effectively built upon by teachers to move each lesson along at an appropriate pace. It is clear that the teachers are committed to the challenging task of meeting the learning needs of each of these students. There is a need for more detailed planning and preparation so that the additional learning needs of individual students within the class are addressed. Teachers should consult relevant professional reports in identifying the learning needs and building on the strengths of each student. 

 

In almost all of the lessons observed use was made of a range of teaching methodologies and in some the teaching was differentiated. A commendable example of this was in one lesson where flash cards, books and the computer were simultaneously in use in teaching reading. 

 

The literacy component of students’ learning was explicitly addressed through word identification games in some lessons and the use of keyword charts in others. Given the strong emphasis in JCSP on the development of students’ literacy, these good practices should be extended to all lessons.

 

In almost all lessons students were given individual attention and individual affirmation and where assigned student work had not been completed this was followed up on. Another example of very good practice seen was the use of a short worksheet to enable students to give feedback on what they had learned. It also served for the teacher as an evaluation of the lesson.

 

Teaching and learning is encouraged by the attractive and welcoming atmosphere in the classroom which is decorated with posters and examples of students’ work.

 

The work of the special needs assistants in the school has a considerable bearing on the success of the JCSP. From observation it is evident that they perform a highly valued function in assisting students in accessing their education. It is noted as a measure of their commitment that they continually engage in professional development to support their role. 

 

3.3 Assessment

 

The principal means of assessing and acknowledging students’ progress is through the student profiling statements. Students’ achievement is also recognised through the use of JCSP postcards that are sent home. Procedures for feedback to parents on their children’s progress are the same as for the rest of the school.

 

Overall, while there is some student assessment within each subject, it is considered that there is scope within the school’s programme for a more systematic approach to student assessment that would link students’ learning needs and assessment outcomes to planning. Students’ learning outcomes and the results of students’ assessments should be the subject of greater sharing and discussion within the teaching and support teams for JCSP. It is suggested that responsibility for developing this sharing should be delegated to one or two members of the teaching team. As part of this there is a need for a special homework policy for JCSP so that similar procedures for homework are followed in each subject area.

 

4 Programme evaluation and outcomes

 

4.1       Programme evaluation and review

 

The co-ordinator has the main responsibility for record keeping within JCSP. There is a wide range of records that date back to the inception of the programme in the school. The issue of record keeping within JCSP should be included in the school’s review of JCSP. It should examine what records are kept, the purpose of these records, whether other records should be kept and the length of time for which records are kept.

 

The school’s programme is evaluated every three years by school senior management and the JCSP co-ordinator following completion of a cycle. The evaluation is wide-ranging and informal and involves discussions with JCSP teachers, parents of students, and an examination of the programme outcomes. Such evaluation has led to changes in the programme, for example having formal meetings with the SNA team, training for that team, and minor changes in the JCSP curriculum. The school sees measures of the programme’s success as the number of students sitting Junior Certificate examinations and the placement of graduates of the programme. School management, the JCSP co-ordinator and all concerned are commended on their commitment to evaluating the programme.

 

Building on the good practice of informal evaluations of the programme, it is recommended that the school’s JCSP be subjected to a formal evaluation followed by a review of the programme to date. The evaluation should include a survey of parents of students, teachers and other JCSP staff, former JCSP students, and other school staff not involved in JCSP. As part of the evaluation there should be a systematic analysis of the destinations of students who have graduated from the programme since its inception. The opinions of employers of former students, of educational institutions and of other organisations that receive graduates of the programme should be sought. The opinions of professionals such as psychologists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists who work with the school in meeting the needs of JCSP students should be included also in the evaluation. Given the number of students with special educational needs in the school other than those in JCSP the outcomes of this evaluation are likely to have implications outside JCSP as well.

 

The review of the school’s JCSP should build on the outcomes of the evaluation. It should address the aims of the programme, its curriculum, student assessment, programme record keeping, use of ICT, teaching and learning methodologies, relationship between the JCSP and the wider school curriculum, continuing professional development for staff involved, role of parents within the programme, optimal use of Department-supplied teaching resources, collaboration among staff involved in the programme, and destinations of graduates of the programme. Resources to inform the review are available through the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, Special Education Support Service, Second Level Support Service, Institute of Child Education ad Psychology Europe.

 

4.2 Attainment of programme objectives

 

Evidence is available on the attainment of its objectives by the programme. The whole staff has received continuing professional development on JCSP and is kept aware of developments in the programme by the JCSP co-ordinator. Students in the JCSP class are encouraged to participate as appropriate in mainstream school lessons. The school is commended on its approach and on its work to date in JCSP. While the programme has a clear impact on the whole school, there is a need to broaden that impact though reference to JCSP in whole-school policies, the inclusion of planning for JCSP as part of subject-department planning in all relevant subjects, and inclusion of reference to JCSP in the school plan. To widen the visibility for the programme within the school, contact between JCSP students and mainstream students should be increased further; this could be achieved perhaps through having some JCSP classes in other parts of the school and having other classes use the JCSP room.

 

It was evident from meeting the JCSP students and from observation that they feel a part of the school and that they are benefiting from the programme. There is an effort within the programme to address the development of students’ self-management and learning skills and the school has provided a follow-on programme of further study for students to prepare them for further training and entry into the workplace. It is clear through this that the beneficial impacts of JCSP extend outside the school and into the wider community. That all past students of the programme are either in further training or employment is a significant testament to the success of the programme and to its overall impact. The school and the JCSP co-ordinator are highly commended on their work since 1996 in catering to the needs of JCSP students.

 

 

5 Summary of strengths and recommendations for further development

 

The following are the main strengths identified in the evaluation:

 

·         The school management and staff are committed to making a reality of the Presentation ethos for all of their students.

·         Students’ life opportunities have been immeasurably improved over the years through their participation in JCSP.

·         The outstanding feature of the school’s JCSP is the expectation of achievement for each student on the part of the school and the encouragement of that achievement.

·         The co-ordinator and the school place a high value on the close contact that they have with the parents of JCSP students.

·         The school and the staff involved are commended on the innovative nature of the Co-operation Ireland Civic-Link Programme.

·         The JCSP co-ordinator and the school’s management have brought commendable commitment, energy and expertise to the programme over many years.

·         The school’s JCSP addresses students’ personal and social development and the improvement of their literacy and numeracy skills through numerous in-school JCSP initiatives and through its curriculum.

·         Teachers in the JCSP are committed to the challenging task of meeting the learning needs of each of their students.

·         The participation of JCSP students in many of the lessons was characterised by enthusiasm and engagement in the learning process.

·         The work of the special needs assistants in the school has had a considerable bearing on the success of the JCSP.

·         School management, the JCSP co-ordinator and all concerned are commended on their commitment to evaluating the programme.

·         It was evident from meeting the JCSP students and from observation that they feel a part of the school and that they are benefiting from the programme.

·         It is clear that the beneficial impacts of JCSP extend outside the school and into the wider community.

 

 

 

As a means of building on these strengths the following key recommendations are made:

 

·         All additional resources supplied by the Department in respect of students in the JCSP class must be used directly in meeting their educational needs.

·         All aspect of the programme should be fully documented.

·         There needs to be more continuing professional development for teachers involved in the JCSP, especially with regard to the teaching of students with special educational needs.

·         The co-ordination and delivery of JCSP should be re-organised so as to have a greater emphasis on collaboration between JCSP teachers.

·         The present Junior Certificate curricular emphasis in JCSP should be supplemented for some students and replaced for others by the use of the NCCA Guidelines for Teachers of Students with General Learning Disabilities.

·         The special learning needs of each JCSP student should be addressed in a systematic way by all teachers.

·         The JCSP should be subjected to a formal review by the school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 2008