An Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta

Department of Education and Science

 

Whole School Evaluation

REPORT

  

Clonmore National School

Clonmore, Templemore, Co. Tipperary

Uimhir rolla: 12540B

  

Date of inspection: 13 February 2007

  Date of issue of report:  4 October 2007

 

Whole-school evaluation

1.     Introduction – school context and background

2.     Quality of school management

3.     Quality of school planning

4.     Quality of learning and teaching

5.     Quality of support for pupils

6.     Summary of findings and recommendations for further development

 


Whole-school evaluation

 

This report has been written following a whole school evaluation of Clonmore National School. It presents the findings of an evaluation of the work of the school as a whole and makes recommendations for the further development of the work of the school. During the evaluation, the inspectors held pre-evaluation meetings with the principal, the teachers, and the school’s board of management. The evaluation was conducted over a number of days during which inspectors visited classrooms and observed teaching and learning. They interacted with pupils and teachers, examined pupils’ work, and interacted with the class teachers. They reviewed school planning documentation and teachers’ written preparation, and met with various staff teams, where appropriate. Following the evaluation visit, the inspectors provided oral feedback on the outcomes of the evaluation to the staff and to the board of management.  The board of management of the school was given an opportunity to comment on the findings and recommendations of the report; the board chose to accept the report without response.

 

 

1.     Introduction – school context and background

 

Clonmore National School is a four-teacher co-educational school under the patronage of the Catholic Archbishop of Cashel and Emly. The mission statement outlines the school’s aims which are to nurture ‘self-respect, care for others and care for our environment’ and to ‘value each person as an individual and show concern for those with special needs.’ The school has three mainstream class teachers. There is a learning support/resource teacher based in the school. Four other teachers provide support for pupils with special educational needs. The school has a permanent special needs assistant who provides for the care needs of one pupil.

 

Clonmore National School is situated in a rural setting approximately three miles from Templemore, Co. Tipperary. The school had an enrolment of 74 pupils on the 30 September 2006. The enrolment in the school has been steadily increasing from 59 pupils in 2003 to 74 pupils in 2006. The development of a sewerage scheme in the area may lead to an increase in housing development in the area which may impact on the number of pupils attending the school in the future. The school participates in the Green Schools initiative.

 

 

2.     Quality of school management

 

2.1 Board of management

The board of management is properly constituted and meets once per term and more frequently when urgent issues arise. The board’s priorities over the past two years have been the development of the pitch at the rear of the school, the management of relationships with parents and managing complaints. The chairperson delegates the running of the school to the principal and the staff. The board expressed its confidence in the staff in delivering a broad curriculum in the school. The board identifies the teaching staff, the high calibre of the pupils attending the school and community support as the major strengths of the school. The board ratifies a range of organisational policies. However, an action plan for the development of the school has not yet been considered by the board.

 

It is evident that this board is very committed to the school. However, the board needs to become more proactive in ensuring the development and improvement of the physical structure of the school, in monitoring the quality of teaching and learning and in formulating school policies and to become more aware of curricular policies. There are several management issues raised in this report in relation to accommodation, resources, management of staff, and the quality of teaching and learning that need to be addressed by the board.

 

It is recommended that the board should facilitate the setting up of a parents’ association. The board should also apply for funding to the Department of Education and Science to develop the school building, off-road parking for teachers and improve the maintenance and cleaning of the school. The board should also consider putting in place a process for the review of duties assigned to the post-holders in the school.

 

2.2 In-school management

The in-school management team consists of the principal, the deputy principal and one special duties post-holder. The duties as outlined in the school plan are clearly defined in respect of the deputy principal and special duties post-holder. They have been allocated organisational, curricular and pastoral responsibilities. Individual post-holders are very committed to the school and carry out their duties in relation to the school plan, the maintenance of the roll books, mentoring of teachers and links with external agencies.

 

It is reported that duties are reviewed regularly and altered as new priority needs are identified. Ongoing communication between the post-holders and the principal is informal. The principal reports that staff meetings are convened outside of school hours every four to six weeks and that the minutes are recorded at each meeting. The principal, in consultation with the staff, draws up the agenda.

The principal carries out his teaching duties in a professional and competent manner. He has an in-depth knowledge of the backgrounds of the pupils and he demonstrates a caring and sensitive attitude towards them. He has good interpersonal skills and it was evident during the inspection period that he relates well to his colleagues and members of the board of management. The in-school management team commended the principal’s involvement and leadership in the establishment of a positive climate in the school and in his contribution to the management of the pupils.

The principal has delegated a wide range of administrative and curricular responsibilities to other members of the in-school management personnel. However, the strategic and instructional leadership roles need to be developed. These skills are necessary to develop, in the future, the physical environment of the school, to facilitate the provision of essential teaching and learning resources, and to develop a more co-ordinated approach to the provision of supports for pupils. In particular, it is necessary for management to establish a systematic approach to monitoring standards of attainment in literacy and numeracy and assessment data should be reviewed regularly. Strategic planning in terms of the development, implementation and monitoring of the school plan is required and school-based review and self-evaluation should be undertaken and spearheaded by the principal. Systems for the maintenance and cleaning of the school need to be further co-ordinated. These organisational and curricular responsibilities and systems need to be addressed to provide purposeful leadership.  

 

2.3 Management of resources

 

Resources – teaching staff

One learning support/resource teacher is based permanently in this school and she caters for a caseload of 14 pupils. In addition, there are four part-time special needs teachers who provide supports for pupils with learning difficulties and special educational needs. These teachers are based in two other schools and travel to the school to work with the pupils. The school is clustered with Templetouhy N.S. and the learning support teachers who job-share, provide support to six pupils for one hour daily. The school also shares a resource teacher with St. Mary’s N.S., Templemore and the resource/learning support teacher provides three and a half hours resource support per week to one pupil in the school. A part-time resource teacher provides four hours support for one pupil per week. It is recommended that the principal and the board of management liaise with the special educational needs organiser (SENO) to facilitate a re-organisation of these arrangements so as to provide one resource teacher who would provide for the needs of these pupils. This will facilitate more collaborative planning with the class teachers and ensure that the special educational needs team has opportunities to work together in a more focused way.

 

Accommodation

The school was constructed in 1884 and was refurbished and extended in 1990. It consists of three mainstream classrooms which are small and inadequate to cater for the learning needs of the pupils and the requirements of the curriculum. These classrooms lack storage areas and there is little space for resources or for the pupils to work in an active manner. Modern furniture is also required to facilitate group-work and activity based learning. There is a small staffroom which is inadequate for the needs of the staff as this is also the base for the shared resource/support teachers. This room is unsuitable for use as a learning area. As a result of the lack of storage facilities it was noted that public areas such as halls, toilets and staff areas were used to store materials. This practice should be discontinued. A prefabricated building was added to the school in recent years and this is the base for the learning support teacher.

 

The school has a tarmacadamed area to the side and the rear and this is used for recreation periods. The board of management has purchased additional land at the rear of the school. This land has been developed as a playing pitch. It was reported by the principal during the WSE that the purchase of the land and the development of the pitch had cost approximately €100,000.

 

There is no regular system in place for the ongoing maintenance of the school and a caretaker is not employed. While the board of management reports that the school is cleaned on a regular basis, there was evidence of a lack of appropriate cleaning of floors, and sinks during the inspection period.

 

It is recommended that the board of management make an application to the Planning and Building Unit in the Department of Education and Science for an extension to accommodate the learning support/resource needs of the school and to upgrade the classrooms so as to provide learning and teaching areas which will meet the needs of the pupils and the demands of the curriculum. The board should also apply for a staff room, an office for administration and storage of school files and documentation, adequate toilet facilities for staff and pupils, storage areas and a general purposes room.

 

The board of management should also ensure that the school is cleaned to a high standard on a regular basis, that necessary maintenance is undertaken and that the physical environment of the school is improved significantly.

 

Resources – physical resources

A limited range of teaching and learning resources is available in the school. Some materials have been acquired for Physical Education, Visual Arts and Social, Environmental and Scientific education. Computers have been provided for each classroom and resource room. Each classroom has a variety of reading materials and reference books. The range of materials available for group work in literacy should be extended. There are limited storage areas in the school and this to some extent has limited the provision of resources. The teachers devise their own materials, work-cards and charts to support various areas of the curriculum. A book rental scheme is provided for the pupils. The teachers make use of published materials and textbooks to support the teaching and learning. In some classrooms the textbook is the main resource used. Most classrooms provide an appropriate learning environment for the pupils where samples of pupils’ work and charts are displayed and areas for different aspects of the curriculum are organised.  

 

2.4 Management of relationships and communication with the school community

Parents are reported to support school activities such as the Christmas concert, the development of the school pitch, sports activities and fundraising events. The school maintains ongoing communication with the school community through a school newsletter which is published annually and also through regular circulars which are issued to parents during the school year. Annual parent teacher meetings are organised and the principal reports that the parents are welcome to visit the school and meet members of the staff.

 

There are no formal structures in place to provide parents with opportunities to become involved in the life of the school. No parents’ association is in existence in the school and no parents representatives were available to meet with the inspection team on the day of the pre-evaluation meeting. It is recommended that the board of management should facilitate the setting up of a parents’ association in the school in order that parents can become involved as partners in the school community. The parents’ association could support the school in many practical ways such as the management of the book rental scheme, the purchase, management and the distribution of tracksuits.

 

 

2.5 Management of pupils

The management of pupils in this school is good. A good rapport was evident between pupils and teachers during the inspection process. Children were mannerly and very well behaved at all times. Pupils with special educational needs are well integrated in the classrooms, learning support and resource settings. The fostering of learning environments where the pupils become more active agents in their own learning is recommended. The involvement of the children in the Green School Committee should be further developed to provide pupils with opportunities to articulate their views, to debate relevant issues and provide opportunities for ongoing dialogue between pupils and staff. In the longer term it is recommended that a pupils’ council be formed with elected representatives from all classes representing the views of their peers. Furthermore it is recommended that the views of this committee be brought to the attention of the teachers at staff meetings and of board members at board of management meetings.

 

 

3.     Quality of school planning

 

3.1 School planning process and implementation

 

A commendable whole school plan has been devised by the teaching staff. The plan consists of a range of organisational policies and curricular plans. The school has also devised an action plan and maintains a planning diary setting out its current planning activities. The deputy principal and the post-holder co-ordinate the development of the school plan and all teachers contribute to the development of various curricular and organisational policies. The curricular plans reflect the strands and the strand units of the curriculum. It is recommended that a review of all plans be undertaken to focus on methodologies, children’s learning, learning outcomes, assessment and differentiation. The school plans should also be further developed to reflect the specific school context and pupil cohort for which these plans are intended.

 

It is recommended that the principal undertake a leadership role in the monitoring of the implementation of the school plan and that the standards of attainment in each area of the curriculum should be reviewed on a regular basis.

 

Evidence was provided to confirm that the board of management and staff have taken appropriate steps to develop policies in line with the provisions in Children First: National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children (Department of Health and Children, 1999, updated issue May 2004) and Child Protection Guidelines for Primary Schools (Department of Education and Science, April 2001). Evidence was also provided to confirm that the board of management has adopted and implemented the policies. A designated liaison person has been appointed in line with the requirements of the Departmental guidelines.

 

3.2 Classroom planning

All teachers complete satisfactory long-term and short-term planning. Monthly progress records are maintained. These plans are closely aligned to the strands of the curriculum. However, throughout the school there is an over-reliance on textbooks as the main source of planning and this curtails the implementation of a broad and balanced curriculum. There is a need for a clear focus on learning outcomes in all classes in order to ensure appropriate standards in literacy and numeracy are achieved by all pupils.

 

 

4.     Quality of learning and teaching

 

4.1 Overview of learning and teaching

The quality of teaching and learning in the curriculum was evaluated on the basis of observation of teaching, interaction with the children and a review of samples of pupils’ work in each classroom visited. In general, teachers presented content clearly and paced their lessons appropriately. In most classes, teachers engaged in good interaction with the children. New content was presented in a capable way with the teachers engaging pupils in a range of relevant and meaningful activities. Some good to very good teaching was observed in core areas of the curriculum in some classes. A range of methodologies was in use in most classrooms Whole-class teaching predominates with a strong reliance on textbooks as the primary teaching and learning resource.

There is a need to shift the emphasis from a teacher directed approach to a greater focus on the pupils as active learners. There is an urgent need to prioritise literacy and numeracy in the infant and junior classes in order to improve the quality of outcomes. It is recommended that the work being carried out in junior classes in respect of language development be extended to all classes with particular emphasis on intervention in the infant classes. Greater emphasis on local studies, hands on learning, Science in the environment and group work is recommended in order to ensure the delivery of a broad and balanced curriculum throughout the school.

 


 

4.2 Language

 

Gaeilge

 

Tá múineadh agus foghlaim na Gaeilge ar chaighdeán ard tríd an scoil. Tá dearcadh fabhrach agus dea-thoil don Ghaeilge le sonrú i ngach rangsheomra. Roghnaítear ábhar cainte atá in oiriúint do chumas na ndaltaí i ngach rang. Déantar cúram breá d’fhoclóir na ndaltaí a chothú agus a leathnú agus a scileanna tuisceana a chur chun cinn. Tugtar deiseanna do na daltaí an teanga a úsáid i gcomhthéacsanna cumarsáideacha trí mhodhanna gníomhacha idir chluichí, obair bheirte, dhrámaíocht agus agallaimh a úsáid. Baintear feidhm fhiúntach as na téacsleabhair éagsúla. Déantar iarracht fhónta an Ghaeilge a úsáid go neamhfhoirmiúil i mionchaint an lae ar fud na scoile

 

Tá cumas léitheoireachta agus scríbhneoireachta na bpáistí go maith sna méanranganna agus sna hardranganna. Is féidír leis na daltaí seo sliocht scríofa a léamh agus a thuiscint. Is féidir leo freisin soarscríbhneoireacht phearsanta ar chaighdeán mhaith a dhéanamh.  Tá cnuasach rann agus amhrán ar eolas ag na páistí i ngach rang agus aithrisítear le taitneamh iad.

 

 

Irish

The teaching and learning Irish is of a good standard throughout the school. There is a positive attitude to Irish in evidence in the classrooms. Topics for oral language are chosen that are appropriate to the abilities of the pupils at each class level. Appropriate attention is given to the development of pupils’ vocabulary and comprehension skills are developed competently. Language games, pair work, drama and conversations are organised and these provide pupils with contexts to develop good oral skills and communicate in real-life situations. A range of textbooks are used effectively to support teaching and learning. The teachers and pupils make commendable efforts to use Irish informally throughout the school at each class level.

 

The reading and writing skills of the pupils in the middle and senior classes are good. In these classes the pupils are able to read and understand excerpts from written texts. They are also able to undertake creative writing tasks to a good standard. Children have learned a store of rhymes and songs in all classes which they recite with pleasure.

 

English

Individual teacher planning is carried out very effectively in respect of the teaching of English. Most teachers incorporate the strands/strand units and content objectives in their written preparation. Overall the standard of reading in the school is satisfactory. The standard of literacy attainment in middle and senior classes was good to very good. Literacy attainment in the infant and junior classes was poor. The teachers identified the level of outcomes in these classes as a cause for concern. A significant number of pupils presented with severe language difficulties. Some pupils were identified as having difficulty in their acquisition of basic language and literacy skills and comprehension of reading materials. An analysis of data provided from a range of sources including the teachers own assessment data, confirmed these findings.

 

Oral language is taught informally as part of the reading process, it is recommended that specific topics for oral language development should be planned for and explored by pupils in all classes. To ensure consistency across classes, it is recommended that a discrete oral language programme be introduced that is explicitly linked to the oral language objectives as set out in the English curriculum. Consideration should also be given to developing an observation framework for the assessment of oral English in the school, particularly in the infant and junior classes. It was noted during the evaluation that the learning support teacher provides oral language development classes for the junior classes. This practice is to be commended and it is recommended that the focus on early intervention in this area of the curriculum should be extended to include the infant classes.

 

In all classes a textbook from a commercially produced reading scheme forms the basis of the reading material and in some classes novels are used. Some supplementary materials such as parallel readers are used in the infant and junior classes. In the infant and junior classes, a phonological awareness programme is taught. Pupils’ in all classes know a wide range of rhymes and poems, which they perform with understanding and enthusiasm. Children read from a range of texts in the middle and senior classes. Class novels are introduced to pupils in middle and senior classes in the last term. Pupils are also encouraged to read books from the class library. Children are encouraged to write book reviews and these are displayed in the classrooms.

It is important to develop individual reading programmes matched to the needs of the child and to utilise a variety of methodologies in English reading classes. The implementation of an intervention strategy from infant classes onwards should include an intensive approach to the teaching of reading using a wide variety of methodologies including a reading recovery approach for children who are underachieving in senior infants. It is also recommended that the shared reading programme utilising the support of parents be formally introduced in the infant and junior classes. There is a need to ensure that children have an opportunity to read and be read to by competent readers who can model the reading process for them. It is important that pupils in infant and junior classes have opportunities to read with an adult on a daily basis to ensure greater engagement by pupils in the reading of real books.

In order to facilitate the further development of shared reading, a wider range of high quality reading materials for all class levels should be acquired. Greater emphasis should be placed on the creation of a structured print-rich environment, the development of phonological awareness and the use of onset and rime in the infant and junior classes.

 

Functional and creative writing is undertaken at most class levels. Short personal accounts, news, book reviews, recipes, letters and poems form part of the work undertaken in the junior and middle standards. In some classes children also write their own poetry and are encouraged to write in varying formats. The quality of these poems is very good. Some teachers use computers skilfully to support and present the work undertaken by the children. Samples of children’s completed work are displayed attractively and celebrated in most classes and this practice should be extended to all classes. In general, handwriting is of a good standard. It is recommended that the process approach to writing be further developed.

 

4.3 Mathematics

Good teaching was observed in this area of the curriculum in most classrooms. Well structured lessons were observed in the middle and senior classrooms. Where good practice was observed, the language of Mathematics was emphasised, consolidation and review were carried out and mental mathematics were used frequently to improve pupils’ computational abilities.  In these classes pupils had a good understanding of the concepts taught. Classroom interaction was good and pupils responded and participated in the lessons. It was also observed that links with the pupils’ everyday environment and experiences were established.

 

Where scope for development in the teaching of Mathematics was identified, it was noted that concepts were not secure, pupils were unable to use the language of Mathematics and had difficulties with number and associated concepts. There is a need for an additional focus on learning outcomes, an increase in pace, and greater structure in the lessons taught. Pupils require more opportunities to work with concrete materials, regular consolidation and repetition and a greater emphasis on formative assessment.

 

Consideration should be given to the development of mathematical language through the allocation of discrete time during Mathematics lessons. The extension of the practice of creating Mathematics-rich environments, the further use of concrete materials during lessons and a clearer focus on learning outcomes is recommended. Repetition, consolidation and review should be carried out regularly and more frequent use of assessment for the ongoing monitoring of pupils’ progress should be considered.

 

 

4.4 Social, Environmental and Scientific Education

 

History

The History lessons observed were well planned and delivered. Timelines were displayed in some rooms. It was evident that pupils were interested in the subject and have a good knowledge of the topics explored to date. There was an emphasis on national, world history, stories and legends. A history trail has been planned and this will be an important feature of the programme. While some project work was in evidence during the evaluation period the further development of project work in all classes is recommended. School visits from local community experts would add greatly to the pupils’ appreciation of the local environment. Pupils’ skills could also be developed through working as historians. The use of information and communications technology could be utilised to explore and provide access to primary sources of data.

 

Geography

Through class discussion, story and use of pictures and photographs, pupils in infant and junior classes become aware of themselves as members of the family and school community. In the middle and senior classes, pupils study aspects of people’s lives and places in a more systematic way. Some aspects of physical geography of their local area, Ireland, Europe and the wider world are explored.

 

Science

A school plan for the teaching of Science has been devised. The further development of this plan should identify the learning experiences to be provided at each class level and how these experiences can be linked to the local environment when appropriate. In general, the lessons observed were teacher directed but well structured and some group-work was also facilitated. The learning experiences provided are primarily based on the textbook. The use of the school garden as a teaching resource is very positive and mini-beast trails are organised and conducted. Pupils contributions were welcomed during lessons and simple experiments using concrete materials were observed. The range of resources for the teaching of Science needs to be further expanded. Greater focus on the use of the environment and pupils’ ability to work scientifically is also recommended. The school is involved in the Green Schools’ Initiative and some thought should be given to how this project can support the teaching of Science in the school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.5 Arts Education

 

Visual Arts

A comprehensive school plan has been devised and agreed by the school staff. Responding to art is provided for in the plan. Some attractive displays were noted during the inspection and these included children’s work from a range of strands including, Paint and Colour, Drawing, Clay and Fabric and Fibre. These displays, combined with evidence from teachers’ short and long-term planning, indicate that pupils explore a variety of themes incorporating techniques and media across the six strands of the curriculum. In general, emphasis is placed on the creative developmental process that affords pupils opportunities to express their understanding of their world in a creative rather than in a passive or imitative way. This process should continue to be the main focus for the work in all classes.

 

While teacher observation is used to assess pupils’ work, the implementation of a range of assessment strategies including portfolios of children’s work would support the progressive development of pupils’ skills as part of a whole school approach.

 

Music

The teaching of Music is of a good standard in this school. All strands of the Music curriculum are included at each of the class levels. There is a sharing of experience among the teachers in this area of the curriculum. The teachers accompany the pupils and this enhances the standard of singing and participation. Activities were observed which incorporated pitch and rhythm work, song-singing, exploration of sound and simple composition. An appropriate range of songs is sung tunefully by the children in all classes. Percussion instruments are used to explore aspects of rhythm and pulse. Music appreciation is also a feature of good practice and is sometimes integrated with other areas of the curriculum when appropriate. Pupils are provided with opportunities to perform during annual school concerts and Scór na bPáistí.

 

Drama

In general, drama is skilfully integrated with many other curricular areas. It is used to provide pupils with opportunities to explore themes in topics in such a way that their understanding in these areas is enhanced. Skilful use of pair-work and role-play was observed during the evaluation process.

 

4.6 Physical Education

The school plan states that teachers will choose from a range of activities ensuring access to all six strands each year. The school pitch is a valuable resource in providing access to the Athletics, Games and Outdoor Activities Strands. Pupils’ physical development is fostered through a range of experiences and good use is made of the community hall to facilitate indoor activities when the weather is inclement. It is reported that games feature on the Physical Education programme and these are supported by the local GAA club and parents. Pupils’ participation in local sports competitions augments the school’s provision for Physical Education. No lesson was observed during the evaluation period due to inclement weather.

 

4.7 Social, Personal and Health Education

The school plan in this area of the curriculum is comprehensive and is relevant to the needs of the school. The atmosphere in the school reflects a commitment to the development of a positive, caring environment that cultivates pupils’ self-esteem and contributes to the skills, knowledge and attitudinal base relevant to this subject. A range of appropriate topics is planned for and taught throughout the school. Many of the objectives are approached in a cross-curricular manner drawing on a range of specific programmes and materials available to the staff.

 

4.8 Assessment

Most teachers use assessment strategies, including teacher observation, teacher designed tasks and tests and also the monitoring of oral and written activities. The Sigma T and Micra T are administered annually. On occasion the Drumcondra English Reading Tests are administered. It is recommended that the results of these tests should be analysed at class and at whole school level  in order to monitor attainment and pupil progress. The Middle Infant Screening Test is used to assess pupils’ attainment in senior infants in the third term. The results of the tests should be used to inform teaching and learning programmes in literacy and numeracy. It is recommended that the MIST should be carried out in the second term of senior infants and that the Forward Together Programme be implemented in the third term. The use of a profile such as the Belfield Infant Assessment Profile is recommended as an assessment tool in junior infants.

 

 

5.     Quality of support for pupils

 

5.1 Pupils with special educational needs

The school has devised a special needs policy. The policy outlines clearly how pupils are selected for supports and this is based on the results of standardised tests, diagnostic testing and meetings with class teachers and parents.

 

The resource/learning support teachers meet with the parents at the start of the academic year and review meetings are also held. A policy of early intervention is implemented and three pupils in senior infants receive additional supports in phonological awareness, letter and sound identification and language skills. Resource teachers outline an individual education plan at the start of the academic year. They complete monthly planning and learning targets, and strategies and resources for each month are defined. Monthly reviews of work achieved and targets attained are conducted. It is recommended that appropriate assessment information is generated on pupils’ progress, especially those pupils with language delays. The Drumcondra English Profiles would provide a useful checklist to monitor pupils’ progress in oral language, reading and writing.

Individual education plans are reviewed at the beginning of each term. It is recommended that learning support teachers devise two IPLPs and set out new targets for each instructional term as recommended in the Learning Support Guidelines. Copies of psychological assessments, speech and language reports and occupational therapy reports are maintained by the teachers and these provide the basis for the targets outlined in the education plans.

 

There is a need for more diagnostic testing to provide baseline information on pupils’ progress at different stages throughout the year. It is recommended that all learning support and resource teachers should provide copies of their individual pupil learning profiles or education plans to the class teacher and should collaborate formally with the teachers in devising these plans. Learning support teachers should devised two IPLPs each year. Targets for each instructional term should be outlined which reflect the child’s current learning needs. Increased emphasis should be placed on reading familiar materials and new reading during each lesson. Pupils’ writing skills should be developed. The range of resources available to the resources/learning support teachers should be enhanced.

 

 

 

 

6.     Summary of findings and recommendations for further development

 

The following are the main strengths identified in the evaluation:

 

 

·         During the evaluation a positive climate was evident in the school.

·         Staff members collaborate with each other in developing the school plan and other school related activities.

·         The principal is held in high esteem by the staff, the pupils and the board of management.

·         The pupils are well-mannered pupils and interested in their learning.

·         Standards of attainment in literacy and numeracy are satisfactory.

·         There is evidence of commitment to the teaching of Irish throughout the school.

·         A broad range of extra-curricular activities including Gaelic games available in the school.

·         The acquisition of additional land to facilitate the school’s development.

 

 

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

 

·         It is recommended that the principal and the board of management liaise with the special educational needs organiser (SENO) to facilitate a re-organisation of special education provision in the school.

·         The board should facilitate the establishment of a Parents’ Association.

·         A review of the accommodation should be carried out and funding sought from the Department of Education and Science to improve the existing accommodation.

·         The maintenance and cleaning of the school is in need of improvement.

·         Existing furniture is in need of replacement to facilitate more activity based learning and group-work.

·         The development of an action plan to include a time frame for addressing the above issues needs to be put in place.

·         The board needs to be more actively involved in the management of the school.

·         Specific tasks should be devolved to board members.

·         There is a need for purposeful leadership in addressing organisational and curricular issues in the school.

·         Literacy and numeracy outcomes in the infant and junior classes need to be improved.

·         Intensive oral language and literacy programmes need to be implemented.

·         Additional resources for each area of the curriculum need to be provided.

·         The implementation of the curriculum needs to be reviewed and monitored.

·         Assessment needs to become a more central element of the teaching and learning process.

 

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