An Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta

Department of Education and Science

 

Whole School Evaluation

REPORT

 

Templebreedy National School

Crosshaven, County Cork

Uimhir rolla:12169J

 

Date of inspection: 13 February 2008

 

 

 

 

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Whole-school evaluation

Introduction – school context and background

Quality of school management

Quality of school planning

Quality of learning and teaching

Quality of support for pupils

Conclusion

 

 

 

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Whole-school evaluation

 

A whole-school evaluation of Templebreedy N.S. was undertaken in February 2008. This report presents the findings of the evaluation and makes recommendations for further development. The evaluation focused on the quality of teaching and learning in English, Irish, Mathematics and Physical Education. The board of management was given an opportunity to comment in writing on the findings and recommendations of the report; a response was not received from the board.

 

Introduction – school context and background

 

This is a co-educational, Church of Ireland parish school. It is an integral part of the local church community and caters for pupils from junior infants to sixth class. It is situated in Crosshaven village alongside Holy Trinity Church. It has become a three-teacher school since the last report was conducted in 2001.

 

The following table provides an overview of the enrolment and staffing in the school at the time of the evaluation:

 

 

Number

Pupils enrolled in the school

70

Mainstream classes in the school

8

Teachers on the school staff

3

Mainstream class teachers

3

Teachers working in support roles

.5 of a post

Special needs assistants

-

 

This school is currently at its maximum size because of limitations of space. It is a progressive school with a committed principal and staff, who work in close collaboration with the board of management and parents. The school participates in a wide range of praiseworthy community and Department of Education and Science initiatives The pupils are provided with many commendable opportunities to perform in public and to display their work.

 

1. Quality of school management

 

1.1 Characteristic spirit, mission or vision

The school is under the patronage of the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross and upholds the ethos of the Church of Ireland. As outlined in the school ethos statement it is a “community where all pupils are equally valued and respected” and where they experience a “sense of belonging and caring for others”. The Rector visits the school on a regular basis and pupils attend services in the church. The Bishop also visits on an annual basis.

 

1.2 Board of management 

The board of management discharges its duties in an effective manner. The chairperson convenes regular meetings and the minutes are recorded carefully. Detailed financial reports are maintained and presented at each meeting. It is evident that much credit is due to the board members for their dedicated work in a range of areas and in particular for successfully refurbishing the school building to a high standard. The board employs a secretary who contributes significantly to the work of the school. With the help of funding from the parents, interactive white boards were recently installed and greatly enhance the quality of teaching and learning. The board has regular contact with the Diocesan Board of Education and is actively involved in policy formulation. The importance of further developing the role of the board in curriculum policy development was highlighted and discussed during the evaluation.

 

1.3 In-school management

It is evident that much credit is due to the principal for the growth and success of the school. She provides effective leadership and combines her managerial and teaching roles most admirably. She is ably supported in her role by her teaching colleagues including a deputy principal. They work successfully as a team and are to be highly commended for the positive, caring learning environment in evidence in the school.

 

1.4 Management of relationships and communication with the school community

Parental involvement in the school is exemplary. A useful policy on communication with parents is included in the school plan. It outlines clearly the many effective channels of communication provided in the school. The success of parents’ fundraising has led to the provision of a wide range of high quality resources. The teachers acknowledge and greatly appreciate the significant input of parents in their children’s learning. The parents, in turn, express a high degree of satisfaction with the quality of education provided in the school. Appropriately, formal parent teacher meetings are organised on an annual basis and the teachers provide written progress reports for pupils at the end of the school year. In the interest of further development, it is recommended that a formal Paired Reading Programme be re-introduced in the school.

 

1.5 Management of pupils

The management of pupils is commendable. The relationship between teachers and pupils in all classrooms is characterised by high standards of courtesy and respect. The pupils are well-behaved and demonstrate positive dispositions to their learning.

 

 

2. Quality of school planning

 

2.1 Whole-school and classroom planning

The quality of whole-school planning is good. The principal and staff in collaboration with relevant partners have devised a wide range of both curricular and organisational policies. Appropriately, the staff have made good use of the support services to facilitate the whole-school planning process. The policies are presented clearly and are accessible to all partners. They provide some clear guidelines for the development of effective practice. The considerable work in evidence is acknowledged and commended. In order to enhance their effectiveness in promoting improvements in pupil learning it is recommended that further guidelines for classroom planning and practice be provided. Also, it is recommended that these plans be reviewed in a more systematic manner through the provision of action plans which outline clearly priorities for development.

 

The quality of classroom planning is good. Teachers make impressive use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for their preparation work. Much credit is due to them for their dedication. It is commendable that they have introduced common planning templates. This approach provides them with a worthwhile framework to enable them further link their classroom work with whole-school planning and enhance progression in pupil skill development. Appropriately, it is the intention of the principal to make more use of the monthly progress records for whole-school purposes. However, it is recommended that the staff review the manner in which the planning templates are being recorded in order to promote more differentiation of mainstream work and active learning approaches.

 

2.2 Child protection policy and procedures

Confirmation was provided that, in compliance with Department of Education and Science Primary Circular 0061/2006, the board of management has formally adopted the Child Protection Guidelines for Primary Schools (Department of Education and Science, September 2001). Confirmation was also provided that these child protection procedures have been brought to the attention of management, school staff and parents, and that management has ensured that all staff are familiar with the procedures to be followed. A designated liaison person (DLP) and a deputy DLP have been appointed in line with the requirements of the guidelines.

 

 

3.     Quality of learning and teaching

 

3.1 Language 

 

Gaeilge

Is inmholta an cumas cumarsáide sa Ghaeilge atá ag cuid mhaith daltaí sa scoil seo. Baintear leas éifeachtach as ról-imirt agus as an drámaíocht chun deiseanna a thabhairt do na daltaí an teanga a bhíonn foghlamtha acu a úsáid chun fíorchumarsáid a dhéanamh. Is léir go mbaineann siad an-taitneamh as an obair fhiúntach seo. Is mór is fiú an bhéim a leagann na hoidí ar an scéalaíocht agus ar an bhfilíocht/rannta. Baintear úsáid chumasach as na cláracha bána idirghníomhacha chun an scéalaíocht a chur faoi bhráid na ndaltaí ar bhonn spreagúil. Chun freastal níos fós a dhéanamh ar riachtanais gach dalta b’fhiú anois béim sa bhreis a chur ar struchtúir theanga agus ar fhrásaí áirithe a chleachtadh le linn tréimhse réamhchumarsáide an cheachta. Chuige seo, d’fhéadfaí an teanga nua a bhíonn le cur ar chumas na ndaltaí a shoiléiriú a thuilleadh sa phleanáil. Chuirfeadh go mór le hoideachas na ndaltaí dtabharfaí deis leanúnach dóibh achar den churaclam, ar nós na Drámaíochta, a fhoghlaim trí Ghaeilge. Leagtar bunchloch na léitheoireachta go héifeachtach i rang a . Éiríonn le cuid mhaith daltaí sna meánranganna agus sna ranganna sinsearacha na téacsanna ranga a léamh go measartha cruinn. Chonacthas samplaí fónta de scríbhneoireacht na ndaltaí a bhí bunaithe ar a gcuid oibre ó bhéal.  B’fhiú anois breis taithí a thabhairt dóibh ar réimse níos leithne téacsanna a léamh agus scil na saorscríbhneoireachta a chothú a thuilleadh.

 

Irish

Many pupils in this school demonstrate a commendable communicative competence in Irish. Role-play and drama are used effectively to enable pupils use the language they have learned to engage in meaningful communication. It is evident that pupils enjoy and greatly benefit from this worthwhile work. The teachers are to be commended for the emphasis they place on storytelling and poetry/rhyme. They make skilful use of the interactive white boards to expose pupils to stories in a most stimulating manner. In order to cater further for the needs of all pupils it is recommended that a greater emphasis be placed on reinforcing specific language structures and phrases during the pre-communicative phase of the lesson. It would be worthwhile to clarify further in planning the new language input which pupils are to be enabled to use. Pupils’ learning would be greatly enhanced if consistent opportunities were provided for them to learn a subject area, such as Drama, through Irish. The basic reading skills are established effectively in second class. Many pupils in the middle and senior classes read the class texts with a reasonable degree of accuracy. Creditable samples of pupils’ writing, based on their oral work, were noted. It is recommended that further opportunities should now be provided for pupils to read a broader range of reading materials and to develop their independent writing skills.

 

English

A good emphasis is placed throughout the school on the development of pupils’ oral language skills in English. Pupils are engaged skilfully in talk and discussion and many express their views competently and with confidence. A commercial reading scheme is in use and appropriately, this is supplemented by the systematic promotion of additional graded reading materials and by class novels. In keeping with good practice pupils are encouraged to maintain records of their individual reading. Basic reading skills are taught methodically through the development of whole word sight vocabulary and through phonemic awareness. Most pupils attain high standards in reading and it is evident that many read avidly. The pupils are provided with print-rich environments and many displays of their writing were noted and commended during the evaluation. Praiseworthy project work is undertaken and pupils write frequently on a range of topics and in a variety of genres. They make regular use of ICT to present their writing. It is particularly commendable that in some classes storytelling is frequently used as a stimulus for pupils’ writing. However, it is recommended that a greater emphasis be placed on the use of the language experience approach to teach emergent reading and writing skills and to support pupils experiencing difficulty.  A further emphasis on group teaching approaches and on the provision of more differentiated instruction in specific skills is recommended to greatly enhance pupil learning.

 

3.2 Mathematics

It is evident that most pupils make creditable progress in Mathematics. They are highly motivated and complete a variety of operations accurately. They are well trained to present their written work to a high standard. The practice of reinforcing computation skills and engaging pupils in mental mathematics as a key component of each class is to be commended. Appropriately, number rhymes and songs are taught to the junior classes. Much purposeful teaching, mainly at whole class level, was observed during the evaluation. In some classes skilful use was made of a variety of concrete materials. However, this area ought to be viewed as an important focus for further attention in the middle and senior classes in order to facilitate the implementation of more active learning and differentiation of mainstream programmes. Also, it is recommended that more regular use of teacher-designed tests, to revise and consolidate key concepts, would greatly enhance pupil learning.

 

3.3 Physical Education

A Physical Education programme, which provides the pupils with good quality, enjoyable learning opportunities through the medium of movement, is organised in the school. The programme currently includes games, dance, aquatics and athletics.  The teachers make good use of classroom space. The organisation of markings in the school yard has greatly enhanced the quality of the outdoor play area. The school also accesses local sports facilities for hockey and tennis. Much credit is due to those parents who work collaboratively with the teachers to implement the programme. The lessons observed were well-planned and skilfully delivered. Commendably, there is a high level of pupil participation and engagement. The pupils demonstrate positive attitudes to physical education and both boys and girls participate equally in all activities.

 

3.4 Assessment

The teachers use a variety of both formal and informal methods of assessment to monitor pupils’ progress. The good practice of administering standardised tests is well established. The results are recorded carefully and stored centrally. Appropriately, all teachers retain copies of the results of those pupils in their care. A tracking system, which was introduced recently to monitor pupil achievement levels from one class level to the next, is especially noteworthy. Tests based on the textbooks in use and some teacher-designed tests are administered regularly. The teachers correct the pupils’ written work carefully. Commendably, there is also much evidence of constructive feedback being given to pupils. It is recommended that greater use be made of assessment data to inform differentiated learning experiences and that formative assessment approaches be developed further.

 

 

4. Quality of support for pupils

 

4.1 Pupils with special educational needs

The teachers deserve much credit for the close links they maintain with parents regarding pupils’ special learning needs. The learning-support teacher, who is based in the local convent school, provides additional support to pupils in both literacy and numeracy. She approaches her work in a most professional manner and works in close collaboration with the mainstream teachers. She maintains detailed planning and assessment records which are accessible to all partners. Appropriately, a small number of pupils are withdrawn for supplementary teaching and Individual Education Plans (IEPs), based on their identified learning needs, are prepared carefully. A model of in-class support for pupils has been put in place. This enables the learning-support teacher co-teach Mathematics with two of the mainstream teachers. This good practice provides an opportunity to target the specific needs of pupils in an integrated setting. However, the model currently in place focuses mainly on teaching whole class groups. While the benefits of this approach are acknowledged, it is recommended that it could gainfully be reviewed in order to cater further for the particular needs of individual pupils in both literacy and numeracy. In particular, it is recommended that consideration be given to the creation of flexible groupings for targeted periods of instruction, based on pupils’ identified learning needs. During the evaluation the importance of providing copies of IEPs to parents and further developing early intervention strategies was highlighted and discussed.  

 

4.2 Other supports for pupils: disadvantaged, minority and other groups

 

This school does not have disadvantaged status.  

 

 

5. Conclusion

 

The school has strengths in the following areas:

 

The following key recommendations are made in order to further improve the quality of education provided by the school:

 

Post-evaluation meetings were held with the staff and the board of management where the draft findings and recommendations of the evaluation were presented and discussed.

 

 

 

 

Published, June 2008