An Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta

Department of Education and Science

 

Subject Inspection of English

REPORT

 

Crescent College Comprehensive

Dooradoyle, Limerick

 

Roll number: 81014R

 

Date of inspection: 10 March 2006

Date of issue of report: 15 December 2006

 

 

 

This Subject Inspection Report

Subject Provision and Whole School Support

Planning and Preparation

Teaching and Learning

Assessment and Achievement

Summary of Main Findings and Recommendations

School Response to the Report

 

 


Report on the Quality of Learning and Teaching in ENGLISH

 

 

This Subject Inspection Report

This report has been written following a subject inspection in Crescent College Comprehensive, Dooradoyle, Limerick. It presents the findings of an evaluation of the quality of teaching and learning in English and makes recommendations for the further development of the teaching of this subject in the school. The evaluation was conducted over two days during which the inspector visited classrooms and observed teaching and learning. The inspector interacted with students and teachers, examined students’ work, and had discussions with the teachers. The inspector reviewed school planning documentation and teachers’ written preparation. Following the evaluation visit, the inspector provided oral feedback on the outcomes of the evaluation to the subject teachers and principal.

 

The board of management of the school was given an opportunity to comment in writing on the findings and recommendations of the report, and the response of the board will be found in the appendix of this report.

 

 

Subject Provision and Whole School Support

Timetabled provision for the teaching of English in Crescent College Comprehensive is in line with syllabus guidelines. Students have four classes of English a week in Transition Year (TY), five classes of English a week in first, second and third year; and six classes of English a week in fifth and sixth year. The distribution of English classes on the timetable is good. Students are placed in mixed-ability classes in first, second, and third year. In fifth year, students are tentatively set until their Christmas assessment confirms appropriate class placement for them. To facilitate student choice, English classes are concurrently timetabled for fifth and sixth year.

 

General resource provision for the teaching of English in Crescent College Comprehensive is very good. Departmental resources are stored in a centrally-located cabinet. The department receives funding from the school and from the parents’ finance fund. It also receives resources on request. The general school policy of having teachers based in their own rooms facilitates resource storage and the creation of print-rich environments and is therefore commended. A small number of English teachers have TVs, overhead projectors (OHPs), CD and/or DVD players permanently based in their classrooms and all English teachers have access to a departmental TV and VCR. However, a number of teachers reported that TV and VCR are frequently unavailable to them because of prior booking. The study of film is an integral part of English in all syllabuses and programmes, in particular the Leaving Certificate syllabus. It is desirable that all teaching corridors/zones of the school would have TV and VCR/DVD equipment on site and that, in time, all base rooms for English would have these facilities. As part of the subject planning process, it is suggested that the department compile a list of the pedagogical equipment and/or resources it needs and that it prepare a purchase plan for those items, based on its budget allocation. If additional resources are needed, school management can then be approached.

 

Crescent College Comprehensive’s school library is an airy, vibrant space, with a regularly updated stock of books, a bank of six internet-wired computers and printers for research work, and a part-time librarian (funded by the parents’ finance fund). While parents are the main providers of books to the library (through direct contributions and “donate a book at graduation” schemes), the school also receives some free books at book fairs. A number of junior-cycle teachers pre-book the library for personal reading sessions for their classes. Some teachers pre-book it to enable students to research topics or to draft/re-draft essays and reports. Also, a few teachers use library classes as an opportunity to remediate the writing problems of individual students. Such differentiated teaching approaches are highly commended. Additional motivation to read for pleasure could also be provided by encouraging students to identify and collect newspaper/ magazine articles of interest to them, by deepening the department’s links with the public library in its vicinity, by involving students in “World Book Day” activities, by inviting students to participate in the M.S. Readathon or other suitable reading challenge activity and so on. Finally, while a paired reading programme involving students with literacy difficulties and their parents is currently active in Crescent College Comprehensive, it is suggested that programmes matching student pairs (for example, TYs and first years) could also be considered for their literacy and pastoral benefits.

 

An array of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities supports the teaching and learning of English in Crescent College Comprehensive, for which its teachers are highly commended. School shows (most recently West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof) are produced which provide students with insights into the mechanics of drama that support their reading of drama texts in the classroom. Student magazines such as the Crescent Review are produced. The arts are also promoted among senior-cycle students by societies such as the Crescent Academy and the Arts Society. Furthermore, students are encouraged to attend poetry readings and lectures organised by the English department of Mary Immaculate College of Education, are encouraged to enter writing competitions, and are taken to theatrical productions of plays. To complement this range of supports, it is suggested that writer-in-residence schemes could be investigated and that samples of students’ writing in different genres could be posted on a page of the school’s website (http://www.crescentsj.com). Above all, the management and teachers of Crescent College Comprehensive are highly commended for their commitment to providing such stimulating co-curricular and extra-curricular activities for their students.

 

English teachers wishing to avail of continuous professional development opportunities are encouraged and supported in Crescent College Comprehensive. In the past, members of the English department have availed of courses such as “Approaches to the Teaching of Film in the English Classroom” offered by the Teaching English Support Service (TESS). Most members of the English department were able to avail of the inservice provided by TESS to prepare for the introduction of the new Leaving Certificate English syllabus. The department is encouraged to continue to avail of TESS courses periodically offered in the Limerick area and to continue consulting the TESS magazine and website, http://english.slss.ie/Main/. Lastly, another form of professional development that supports the teaching and learning of English in the school is the department’s informal sharing of practice. It is hoped that the process of developing the department’s subject plan over the coming years will consolidate that excellent tradition of peer professional support.

 

Planning and Preparation

The English teachers of Crescent College Comprehensive are a dedicated, collaborative group who base their professional practice on the Ignatian model of openness to “growth,” openness to “peer evaluation,” and readiness to “initiate new patterns in one’s own behaviour” (CCC Teacher Manual, pg 4). This commitment to openness and self-reflection became manifest in the course of meetings with individual teachers, with the English department, and with school management over the course of the evaluation.

 

Every September, a teacher is elected as voluntary head of the school’s English department. Formal departmental meetings take place in September and sometimes during the weekly planning period that teachers voluntarily participate in throughout the year. Agenda for and minutes of those meetings are kept. Moreover, members of the department regularly consult with each other informally. By the time of the evaluation, materials such as outline schemes of work for year groups, the school’s learning-support policy, and minutes of departmental meetings had been compiled as a subject department plan-in-progress. One of the most significant departmental policies agreed in recent times was the decision to teach the same units of work to fifth-year students until Christmas, when a common assessment would be used (along with Junior Certificate results, TY performance, and teacher and parental observations) to guide student setting. The objective of that planning exercise was to provide focus and motivation for fifth-year students’ study of English and to give students a realistic indicator of the examination level most appropriate for them. However, the initiative necessarily drew the department into collective planning for the sequencing of texts in fifth-year teaching, for the preparation of a common assessment and marking scheme, and for cross-monitoring of student scripts. Such purposeful planning constitutes best practice.

 

To help progress the department’s subject plan even further, the following recommendations are offered. First, it is recommended that a more formalised sharing of professional expertise and resources now take place, so that the good practices observed during the evaluation can be consolidated across the entire department. Arising from those discussions and exchanges, sections on methodology and resources should be added to the subject department plan. (Handouts from professional development courses and copies of teaching strategies and resources being used by the learning support and resource team could also be included in these sections, if considered relevant). Second, it is recommended that appropriate learning outcomes for each year-group be agreed and documented. The year-group schemes of work already drafted by the department could then be revised to match those desired learning outcomes and to reflect the principles of thematic planning and of the integration of language and literature. Such re-visioning of the department’s existing year-group schemes will result in more incremental, consistently-reinforced learning experiences of English for students. It will also act as a roadmap for teachers providing literacy support to students in different year groups and for teachers assigned to teach classes in the middle of the junior/senior cycle. Of course, for students to have the full benefit of this work, coherence between teachers’ individual plans and the collective department plan will be essential. (This is not to suggest that teachers will have to relinquish their autonomy to choose texts for their classes. What is envisaged is that students would have covered similar units of work in the course of a year). Third, it is recommended that a section on homework and assessment be added to the subject department plan. While the whole-school homework policy (when finalised) will be a key document in that section, so too will the department’s collective expectations for presentation standards for student work, appropriate types and amounts of homework (including the number of assigned essays per year), and samples of student work across the ability range for peer assessment and creative modelling purposes. Fourth, other documents that should be added to the subject department plan include SEC Chief Examiners’ reports and marking schemes, Teaching English magazines and so on. Ideally, if disk/CD copies of the subject department plan-in-progress could be prepared, then all English teachers could be provided with copies for reference and planning purposes. Ultimately, the formalisation, documentation, and compilation of discussions that are already ongoing is what is envisaged.

 

At present, the TY students in Crescent College Comprehensive study English-related modules such as Performance of a Play, Communications, Media Studies, and English. Strengths of those modules include the oral component of the Communication course, which culminates in an oral examination to help prepare students for sixth-year LCVP interviews. Also, the performance module provides students with insights into the mechanics of drama that support their reading of drama texts in the classroom. The idea of providing such varied experiences to TY students is highly commended. However, there is little coherence or formal cross-curricular linking between those modules at present and the knowledge and concepts presented in some of the modules neither build on junior-cycle courses nor anticipate senior-cycle courses. For example, in the present theoretical Media Studies module, classes are taught on concepts like “Chomsky’s theory of propaganda” and “Todorov’s theory of equilibrium and disequilibrium.” While those concepts would be appropriate in a third-level course on the subject, they do not figure in junior or senior-cycle second-level English courses. Hence, it is recommended that all TY English-related modules be reviewed, to ensure that the knowledge, concepts, skills, and experiences they give students are age and ability-appropriate. To help initiate that review, it is recommended that desired aesthetic, academic, and life skill learning outcomes for TY English be identified and agreed by the English department. Then teachers/outside tutors of English-related modules could be asked to plan courses that would help students attain those outcomes. In revisiting the programme for TY English, the department will find the Transition Year Programmes: Guidelines for Schools a useful springboard for discussion. The following quotation from the TYP Guidelines is particularly relevant to programme planning: “The programme content for Transition Year, while not absolutely excluding Leaving Certificate material, should be chosen largely with a view to augmenting the Leaving Certificate experience, laying a solid foundation for Leaving Certificate studies, giving an orientation to the world of work and, in particular, catering for the pupils’ personal and social awareness/development. Where Leaving Certificate material is chosen for study it should be done so on the clear understanding that it is to be explored in an original and stimulating way that is significantly different from the way in which it would have been treated in the two years to Leaving Certificate. For example, if a module on drama is included, the production of a play which is on the English syllabus could be considered; in French, pupils might engage in a project of a type which would be of benefit subsequently for the Leaving Certificate course; for Business Studies, the setting up of a mini-company would help enrich syllabus content.” (See http://ty.slss.ie/resources/guidelines.pdf). The department may also find the TY Support Service’s suggestions for TY English programmes (http://ty.slss.ie/areas_study.html) and the article “The Teaching of English in Transition Year: Some Thoughts” helpful in this regard (Teaching English magazine, Spring 2006, pgs. 11-12).

 

In all classes observed, the range of work being taught was appropriate. Structured delivery and careful prior preparation of material (handouts and pre-prepared OHP transparencies, for example) indicated that teachers were engaging in short-term planning in almost all classes. Detailed daily, termly, and/or yearly plans were presented for inspection. The best of them included evidence of review (such as brief reflective notes on how lessons could be improved/extended with future class groups). Such careful preparation shows great dedication and zeal. Given that so many English classes in Crescent College Comprehensive are of mixed ability, it is suggested that teachers also specifically plan how they will differentiate methodologies, resources, and tasks to best meet the needs of the learners in their classes.

 

Evidence of very good literacy support for the students of Crescent College Comprehensive was gathered during the evaluation. (Literacy and numeracy support are the core components of learning support. This report only discusses literacy support in Crescent College Comprehensive. Also, because no international students are in receipt of language support in 2005/06, the report does not discuss such provision). Psychological reports on incoming first-years are gathered and a pre-entrance assessment is administered to screen students for learning difficulties. Parental consent is then sought for further diagnostic testing of some students. Based on the results of those tests, on teacher observations, and on parent observations and consent, eligible students are provided with small group/small class support. Subject teachers are kept informed of students’ specific learning needs informally and through IEP meetings. The school has two resource rooms that are well-equipped with computers and print and software educational support materials. Among the initiatives the school runs to support students with literacy difficulties are preparing parents to engage in paired reading with their children, facilitating students with language-support needs to attend a special homework club at Mary Immaculate College, and facilitating students who will be using laptops/scribes/tape recorders for State examinations during their mocks.

 

In recent years, a team approach to the delivery of literacy (and numeracy and resource) support for students has been developing in Crescent College Comprehensive, with the numbers of trained support providers increasing from one to four. Also, a consciousness of the whole-school’s responsibility for supporting the education of students with learning difficulties has been growing, as evidenced by the briefing given by the learning-support co-ordinator to the whole staff on the challenges faced by students with low reading ages in trying to read subject textbooks. It is recommended that professional development for the school staff continue to be organised by school management, through briefings and/or workshops by the teachers providing literacy (and numeracy and resource) support in the school, by the Special Education Support Service (http://www.sess.ie/sess/Main/Home.htm), and possibly by educational specialists from Mary Immaculate College (given the school’s close relationship with the college).

 

 

Teaching and Learning

Effective teaching was observed over the course of the evaluation. Teachers’ ease and breadth of reference in relation to the studied texts and their passion for the subject was impressive. In all classes visited lessons were structured, the content being taught was in line with syllabus requirements, and the lesson objectives were clear. In almost all classes, lesson pace was appropriate. In a few classes, the pace was too slow, causing some students to become disengaged. To address this difficulty, teachers are encouraged to decide in advance specific time allocations and varied methodological approaches for lesson components.

 

Teachers’ instructions and explanations were clear and precise in most classes observed. Pair/groupwork was sometimes an area where precise instructions were not communicated. It is encouraged that students’ understanding of the roles they are required to perform within a specific pair/group, of the end-product that the pair/group is expected to produce, and of the timeframe assigned for task completion be checked through questioning before pairs/groups commence working.

 

The resources used by the English teachers over the course of the evaluation included handouts, textbooks, blackboards, stimulus materials (sample film and play reviews from newspapers) and OHPs. Where possible, it is recommended that more audio-visual stimuli and concrete artefacts be utilised in the teaching of English, to cater for students’ different learning styles and ability levels. Also, over the coming years, the English department is encouraged to utilise the school’s laptops and data projectors. To anticipate the eventuality that broadband might not always be running when needed, it is suggested that teachers could “save” websites they want to show students as files, for use at a later point. In that way, film clips of poets reading their own work or being interviewed, maps and photographs of the places where texts are located and so on could be used to vivify texts, thus increasing students’ engagement in particular units of work. To help the English department become more confident users of laptops and data projectors, it is suggested that teachers teaching IT in the school and/or the ICT advisor attached to the Limerick Education Centre could be consulted for advice.

 

A variety of uses of the blackboard/OHP was observed over the course of the evaluation, including diagramming answers for examination questions, reviewing the key components of reviews, listing the correct answers for grammatical exercises, recording difficult words encountered in texts, and brainstorming ideas for creative writing assignments. For instance, a particularly good example of blackboard use was observed in one class, where the game “spot the mistake” was used to encourage students to pay attention to blackboard work, in the hope of identifying “mistakes” (deliberate/accidental) made by the teacher. All of these were sound educational activities and are commended. For the additional purposes of vocabulary/syntax reinforcement and for demonstrating how students might draft a text of their own based on a model text, it is recommended that the blackboard be used in a more consistent, structured way across the department. Also, student-volunteers could be occasionally utilised in classes to record class feedback, thus enabling teachers to devote more attention to stimulating discussion and to monitoring student behaviour. Other structured blackboard uses the department might find useful include the consistent use of vocabulary and homework columns. Lastly, the requirement that students transcribe board work into their copies will provide them with an invaluable revision aid.

 

In the majority of classes evaluated, a mixture of global (open for answer by all) and targeted questions (questions directed to individual students across the class group) was used to review and elicit information and to trigger discussion and debate. In a small number of classes, the following weaknesses were noted in questioning technique: not allowing adequate “wait time” for a student to formulate a response before teacher answering of the question or redirecting it to another student, asking predominantly global questions, and asking predominantly lower-order questions. Where best practice was observed, questions were carefully sequenced and graduated, leading students to higher-order thinking and encouraging them to make personal aesthetic responses.

 

Many teachers built on students’ prior knowledge and experiences to deepen their understanding of texts being studied. For example, students were prepared to write a review of a play they had seen performed in a theatre the previous day in one class observed. In another class, the concept of parody was introduced and reinforced through references to Après Match, “Gift Grub” sketches, visual parodies and other contexts the students were familiar with. Lastly, students had been directed to write reports on Hurricane Katrina, a current event they would all have been familiar with, by another teacher. Such linking of students’ localities, personal experiences, general knowledge, and content studied in other classes with lesson topics is highly commended.

 

A variety of teaching methods was observed over the course of the evaluation including question and answer, teacher reading, pair work, group work, language games (“spot the mistake” and “unscramble the poem), visualisation (getting students to illustrate scenes from texts, to design the front cover of newspapers and so on), brainstorming, free writing, designing activities that integrate language and literature (for instance, deepening students’ study of The Chronicles of Narnia by asking them to write letters inviting the character Lucy to tea), and peer learning (where students were asked to listen to and comment on samples of other students’ work). A particularly good example of role play was observed in one class, where pairs of students were asked to question each other (in role) on the characters they had previously prepared “fact files” on. Evidence of students being directed to draft/re-draft substantial pieces of writing on computers was also noted in some classes. Furthermore, it was reported that a few teachers differentiate for the needs of potential higher and ordinary/foundation level junior-cycle candidates when teaching plays by using different text versions with the two cohorts. Catering for the different needs of learners in this way is best practice.

 

In terms of identifying pedagogical areas for further development across the department, it is recommended that resources and strategies in relation to the teaching of writing and to differentiation be pooled. Building on the practice of getting students to listen to and comment on samples of other students’ work read out in class, it is recommended that anonymous written samples of such work spanning the grade continuum be occasionally distributed. Students could then be encouraged to identify the strengths and areas for development in those samples, leading to the introduction of criteria for assessment to help structure such peer assessment discussions. (Sources of student work samples for peer critique include the Leaving Certificate exemplars of standard, the 2005 Chief Examiners’ Report on Leaving Certificate English, and saved samples of previous classes’ work. The department may also find the Assessment for Learning materials developed to support post-primary English by the NCCA useful in this regard. See http://www.ncca.ie/index.asp?locID=367&docID=-1). Also, while it is acknowledged that good writing models have been distributed to students in most classes, it is recommended that the department demonstrate and encourage creative modelling in all junior and senior-cycle English classes and that it experiment with writing frames and cloze tests. (The department may find Between the Lines a useful reference text in this regard. Written to support literacy teaching at junior cycle by members of the Junior Certificate School Programme (JCSP) support team, Between the Lines offers samples of writing frames and concrete ideas for helping students internalise concepts and terms). Finally, it is recommended that the department, in conjunction with the school’s learning support co-ordinator, pool its expertise and resources in relation to differentiation (samples of differentiated homework/tests, versions of texts and alternative text selections and so on) and that it seek inservice from the Special Education Support Service on this area.

 

Very good rapport between teachers and students was evident in all the classrooms visited. Teachers consistently affirmed students’ responses, integrating them orally into lessons. In all classes observed, there was strong evidence that students were able to orally communicate their ideas and content knowledge effectively. In almost all classes observed, high standards of presentation and completion of written work were noted. Discipline was maintained by all teachers and almost all students were attentive and engaged in their learning. In tackling this limited issue of unequal student engagement, it is recommended that audio-visual/multi-media resources and active learning methodologies be more consistently used.

 

In the majority of classes observed, teachers had made efforts to create a motivational print-rich environment to support the teaching of English. The English-related resources displayed in room included a mixture of commercially-produced posters (Irish writers/poets, Readathon materials, plays) and teacher-produced posters (information about LC English criteria for assessment, instructions for reading unseen poems, and Point-Quote-Explain reminders). Also, samples of student work were displayed in a minority of classes. However, the walls tended to be completely bare in classrooms shared by teachers (as distinct from teacher-based rooms). Such bareness makes for a de-motivating learning environment and an under-utilised learning resource. Hence, it is recommended that school management encourage and facilitate the creation of vibrant learning environments in all shared classrooms. Additional visual aids teachers may wish to display in classrooms might be posters featuring key words associated with genres, key quotations from plays, posters featuring photographs and timelines of studied poets, photographs of writers working with students and/or book reviews of those writers’ works, and posters advertising literary events taking place in its locality. Finally, it is encouraged that more student-work be displayed on classroom walls, to simultaneously reinforce students’ learning and celebrate their achievements. Such print-rich environments constitute a key motivational support for the teaching and learning of English in Crescent College Comprehensive.

 

Assessment and Achievement

A range of assessment modes is used to monitor student competence and progress in English in Crescent College Comprehensive, including oral questioning, written assignments, peer assessment, and formal examinations. Appropriate records of students’ results are kept by all teachers. Additional assessment practices are also used by individual members of the department. A particularly good exercise to promote self-assessment was observed in one class, for example, where students were asked to enter their results for each question on their mock English examination onto a pre-prepared template. The purpose of the exercise was that the students would identify their own strengths and areas for development and thus take responsibility for planning their own revision work. Criteria for assessment are also being taught through information sheets posted on walls and through teachers’ use of them when marking substantial writing assignments. Moreover, continuous assessment practices were also noted in one class, where a corrected essay, spelling test and comprehension question on a studied text are stapled together by the teacher at the end of each month, a global mark is calculated for the work, and students are instructed to take the packet home for signature by a parent/guardian. Not only does this practice motivate students to work toward specific, short-term assessments, but it also acts as a reporting mechanism to parents/guardians. Furthermore, some teachers use assessments as diagnostic instruments. For instance, regular spelling tests are administered to one class based on the most common misspellings of the class group. Similarly, recurring punctuation and grammatical errors in student essays are typed up on a handout and distributed as a class correction exercise in one class. Such assessment practices are highly commended and it is recommended that they too be incorporated into the department’s assessment repertoire.

 

A number of the classes observed began with a review of homework or of work done in a previous class, thus maximising the chances that students would retain their new learning. Homework was being regularly set and corrected in most classes visited. However, significant variations in teachers’ treatment of mechanical errors in student work were noted. The department is encouraged to discuss this issue and to arrive at a consensus position on it, so that teachers’ responses to student errors are relatively consistent from first to sixth year. Also, the department’s agreed response to this issue could constitute an important contribution to the whole-school homework and assessment policy currently being formulated in Crescent College Comprehensive.

 

Evidence was noted in a number of classes of detailed, developmental feedback being written on substantial pieces of student writing, with teachers balancing the identification of student errors/omissions with affirmations of what students had done correctly and with developmental feedback on how they might improve their work. This best practice is commended and it is recommended that it be extended across the entire department.

 

Copies revealed that students had completed a range of appropriate work. Folders revealed that students had a range of notes and resources to support them in their work. To help ensure that students will be able to easily access their notes and written work for revision purposes at the end of junior and senior cycle courses, it is suggested that the department discuss and agree copy and/or folder systems of organisation and communicate them to all students at the beginning of each school year.

 

Christmas and end-of-year examinations are held and third and sixth years also have mock examinations. When setting the fifth-year Christmas examination in English, teachers prepare a common assessment and agree a common marking scheme. It is encouraged that this best practice be extended to junior-cycle students as well (for the end of year second-year examination, for example). Elements such as reading comprehension and unseen poem sections could be common. Generic questions could be set to cater for different text selections. Common criteria for assessment could also be agreed. These practices would facilitate comparison of attainment across year groups, thus providing an evidence base for planning to meet students’ needs.

 

The school reports that liaison with parents is good and that parents are very supportive. The standard formal structures for parent-teacher meetings and for reporting to parents through homework journals are in place.

 

 

Summary of Main Findings and Recommendations

 

The following are the main strengths and areas for development identified in the evaluation:

 

 

 

As a means of building on these strengths and to address areas for development, the following key recommendations are made:

 

 

Post-evaluation meetings were held with the teachers of English and with the principal at the conclusion of the evaluation, when the draft findings and recommendations of the evaluation were presented and discussed.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix

 

School Response to the Report

 

Submitted by the Board of Management


Area 1: Observations on the content of the inspection report

 

Crescent College Comprehensive S.J. has been a frequent participant in the Subject Inspection process since it was initiated, and has facilitated the process at every opportunity.

 

The school recognises the Inspection Process as a collaborative one, where the expertise of the Inspector can be fused with the experience and talent of the class-room teacher to the benefit of all.

 

The report on the quality of learning and teaching of English in Crescent College Comprehensive S.J. is the result of a recent Subject Inspection process. As such it is a snapshot of the English Department in operation. While acknowledging the limitations imposed by such a snapshot, the resulting report is detailed and comprehensive, and a valuable external evaluation of the quality of learning and teaching in Crescent College Comprehensive S.J.

 

The report itself contains approximately forty affirmations and approximately six areas where growth is recommended. Such a positive affirmation is undoubtedly welcome, and is, both individually and collectively, a genuine endorsement of work done by both the teaching staff and the management of the school.

 

With regard to the areas where growth is recommended, it is encouraging to note that where such areas are outlined, the Inspector has made many positive suggestions on how such growth could be achieved. Regularly in the report sources are referred to in a positive way, which would help in this process. This is to be welcomed, and further emphasises the essentially collaborative nature of the process.

 

It was interesting to note that in two of the areas where review and growth were recommended (T.Y. and I.T.), both have already been the subject of review within the Department. The T.Y. review, which should be completed during this academic year 2006/07, will enable the English Department to examine the current T.Y. English Programme. This is being done with a view to shaping the programme to meet the changing needs of pupils, while at the same time maintaining the integrity and uniqueness of T.Y. as a stand-alone year-long programme. Furthermore, throughout the school the I.T. provision is being substantially upgraded and an audit of existing resources will be undertaken to ensure optimum benefit. This demonstrates the Board’s commitment to equip each teacher of English with the necessary I.T. equipment to meet the demands of Twenty First century teaching.

 

Consistent with this theme, many other initiatives which were praised and suggested depend to a large degree on resources and staffing levels. The Board will make every effort to implement the recommendation of the Inspectorate, given the resources at its disposal.

 

The Board welcomes the report as a positive affirmation of one of the most dynamic departments in the school and is pleased that the work of the teachers of English has been acknowledged in such a public forum. The Board would like to acknowledge the role of the Inspectorate and its affirmation.

 

Area 2: Follow-up actions planned or undertaken since the completion of the inspection activity to implement the findings and recommendations of the inspection

 

As Above.