An Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna

Department of Education and Skills

 

Whole School Evaluation

REPORT

 

Lower Glanmire NS

New Inn, Glanmire, Co. Cork

Uimhir rolla:13663W

 

Date of inspection: 13 November 2009

 

 

 

 

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

Summary of findings and recommendations for further development

School response to the report

 

 


Whole-school evaluation

 

This report has been written following a whole school evaluation of Lower Glanmire NS. 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, the school’s board of management, and representatives of the parents. 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 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.

 

 

1.     Introduction – school context and background

 

Lower Glanmire NS is situated between the village of Glanmire in the eastern outskirts of Cork city and the city suburb of Mayfield and Ballyvolane. While some pupils come to the school from the parish of Glanmire, many more come from the neighbouring city suburb parishes of Mayfield and Ballyvolane. The school has some pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. The enrolment during the WSE stood at 212 pupils which represents a decrease in enrolment from an average of 226 pupils over the past three years. The school is under the patronage of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Cork and Ross.

 

 

2.     Quality of school management

 

2.1 Board of management

The board of management of this school has undergone considerable change in recent years. A new chairperson was appointed by the patron in April 2009 following the resignation of the previous chairperson. The incoming chairperson is very committed to the school and the entire school community. She seeks to work with all stakeholders to ensure the success of the school into the future. The first initiative of the incoming chairperson has been the establishment of new procedures for the operation of school finances including direct oversight by the board of all school funds. The new procedures have been communicated to the staff by the chairperson and the school accounts will be audited annually. It is recommended that the financial audit include an historical review of school accounts and that the results of this review be communicated to the Department of Education and Science.

 

Team training has not been undertaken by the board of management to date; however, individual members have attended courses provided by the diocese. The board has agreed to undertake in-house training and it is considering its governance role and functions. Individual members of the board have taken on the roles of treasurer and secretary. The treasurer delivers a report at each meeting.  The principal teacher, who acts as secretary to the board, prepares an agreed report at the end of each meeting for distribution to relevant stakeholders. In addition to the reorganisation of the school’s financial management the board has also discussed policies on enrolment and the code of discipline. A new policy to encourage attendance has been discussed at staff level but not at board of management level. The school has an open admissions policy and is welcoming to children with special needs. 

 

The new chairperson has identified three major areas for development over the coming months. These are staff morale, progressing matters regarding the delivery of new school accommodation and policy development.

 

In the context of developing proposals for new school accommodation, it is noted that a long or medium term plan for maintenance of the existing building has not been prepared by the board of management. The school has made efforts in recent years to improve aspects of the school building and grounds. This work has involved improvements to school yards, provision of security fencing and window replacement. However, some of the temporary buildings in the school are old and in a poor and unattractive state. The board should now prepare a plan to refurbish buildings and to address the long-term needs of the school in consultation with the Department’s planning and building unit. In the meantime, the board should continue to prioritise immediate concerns, including health and safety issues, as they arise.

 

This evaluation has highlighted some very good practice in the day-to-day work of the school which are detailed later in this report and which the board and staff should reflect on as positive features of the school. The inspection team noted in particular the excellent cooperation of pupils and their very good engagement in learning. Notwithstanding the above, this evaluation has also identified regrettable weaknesses in aspects of communication and team working, among the senior management team and staff, which require urgent attention by all concerned. Recommendations in relation to this are detailed in the next section of the report.

 

2.2 In-school management

The in-school management team comprises the principal, the deputy principal and four special duties teachers. The principal has served in the school since 2001. The principal is keen to promote the use of the Irish language in the school and leads in this matter by example. He has organised a number of curricular initiatives in the school over the past number of years. Staff members have also initiated curricular developments and the principal has been fully supportive of these endeavours. The current initiatives organised by both the principal and the staff include an early intervention strategy for learning support, internal teacher exchange for Irish and Mathematics, the use of ICT in some classrooms and the use of ICT for drafting curricular policies.  The principal also makes a conscientious effort to ensure that teachers get a variety of teaching experience while in school and to this end a preference list is circulated to staff each year. Over the years, communication difficulties have grown which have impacted on working relationships between the principal and some members of staff.  

 

During the WSE, a number of tensions came to light which highlight specific communication gaps in the school. There are no formal communication processes within the in-school management structure and there has been disagreement at senior level in the school as to certain administrative matters. One of these matters concerns the school’s roll books which have been the subject of separate examination by the Department of Education and Science. The difficulties in the school are having an effect on management processes, on organisation and on collaborative working in the school. In that regard there is a significant responsibility on the principal and other senior staff in the school to address working relationships and to re-establish effective communication and professional collaboration. It is advised that the board of management should engage with the principal and school staff on these issues and provide support with a view to developing an effective resolution. It is recommended that the board should consult with the patron in relation to accessing appropriate external support, facilitation and management advice to enable the school to address issues and improve its internal modes of working.

 

The duties assigned to post-holders on the in-school management team are mainly organisational and are carried out by post-holders with diligence and attention. There is no time-scale set to review these posts. In the interests of promoting distributive leadership, collegiality and harmony, it is advised that regular formal meetings of the in-school management team be organised. The board should also routinely review duties to ensure that they reflect the priorities of the school. There are no formal communication systems in place for discussion of and reporting on duties in relation to in-school management. In order to address this deficiency, a mechanism for post-holders to provide information and report progress on their roles at staff meetings should be established. An assistant-principal’s post, advertised in 2006, was never filled and this is very regrettable. The board, principal and staff should ensure that this situation does not arise in the future. It is strongly recommended that more emphasis be placed on curriculum leadership roles for the in-school management team. In assigning curricular responsibilities the potential exists to develop the instructional leadership roles of in-school management personnel in guiding future teaching and learning. 

 

2.3 Management of resources

The school is well resourced in terms of educational material and equipment to complement the teaching and learning process.  The effective use of information and communication technology in the classroom has been prioritised for future staff development. Notwithstanding certain difficulties in the school, staff members are professional in their practice and teachers display a genuine concern for the welfare and progress of pupils. There is willingness among staff to share their expertise and to this end the school has begun a project whereby the teachers in third class and in sixth class alternate to teach Irish and Mathematics. The school intends to review this project at the end of the school year and to facilitate staff discussion of the outcomes.

 

Staff meetings are convened once a term and an agenda is prepared in advance. Matters organisational and curricular are regularly discussed and decisions reached are subsequently recorded by the principal. Notwithstanding this practice, it is advised that administrative arrangements for staff meetings, including the recording of minutes be further discussed on a whole staff basis. The ancillary staff, including the secretary, caretaker and cleaning staff provide conscientious support. 

 

The main school building accommodates three classrooms and a further seven prefabricated classrooms are situated throughout the school grounds. The poor quality of some of these temporary classrooms has been alluded to already. Teachers are commended for creating attractive displays in classrooms and in corridors and the addition of a school garden is a welcome feature. There has been delay in the current school year in allocating resource hours to certain pupils with special needs and providing language support for newcomer pupils. Language support provision is shared between this school and St. Michael’s in Upper Glanmire and at time of the WSE, the application form had not been submitted to the Department of Education and Science. The board is advised to put measures in place to ensure the efficient and timely allocation of additional supports for pupils in the future.  

 

2.4 Management of relationships and communication with the school community

The parents’ association committee consists of two parents who have been involved in the association for seven years. These representatives met with the inspection team as part of the evaluation process. Fundraising is the association’s main priority. The parents’ representatives organise breakfast after First Holy Communion and Confirmation for the parents and children and they also meet the principal two to three times a year to discuss and plan for these events. Parents have also been involved in supporting the school walk and certain sports activities. An AGM of the association is held every year, and two or three more meetings are called but these are generally not well attended.

 

The parents’ representatives expressed satisfaction with parent teacher meetings and with the openness of teachers to meet and discuss any issues that arise concerning pupils. It is acknowledged by the parents that the lack of facilities in the school building militates against the organisation of events and activities. Parents are not involved in supporting curriculum delivery in the school although the enrolment policy has been communicated to parents.

 

Lack of parental involvement in the school is an issue that was raised by the parents’ representatives at pre-evaluation meetings and this lack of involvement is recognised by the board as an issue to be addressed. It is recommended that the board, principal and staff examine the issues relating to parental involvement in the school. In this context, consideration should be given to drawing up a whole-school plan on communication with and involvement of parents in the life of the school.

 

2.5 Management of pupils

The pupils are very well-behaved and their good behaviour was much in evidence throughout the evaluation. The principal and staff members manage the pastoral needs of pupils with care and attention. Break times are supervised carefully, ensuring that pupils play safely while relating to peers. The principal and staff monitor pupils’ homework and behaviour carefully. Parents and pupils are addressed by the principal and staff at the beginning of the school year regarding the work of the year ahead. This is good practice. The pupils are eager to learn. They engage conscientiously in their tasks during lessons and they co-operate respectfully with teachers and with other staff members both in the classroom and outside.

 

 

3.     Quality of school planning

 

3.1 School planning process and implementation

The school plan is devised through the collaborative activity of the principal and staff. The plans, both curricular and organisational, are of good quality and are informative. The current curricular plans have been developed over the past eighteen months. A clear programme of work is outlined for each class level and provides clear guidance for teachers’ long-term planning.  Copies of the school plan are available in the school either in hard copy or in the case of curricular plans, in CD format. Statutory policies have been developed in response to relevant legislation including policies on enrolment, health and safety, and a code of behaviour. A number of policies are not formulated yet and the school is now advised to devise an action plan with the purpose of further developing and reviewing school policies, both curricular and organisational. Greater emphasis should now be placed on promoting the role of parents in the planning process to facilitate the inclusion of the broadest range of perspectives. In the policies reviewed it was not evident that they are formalised and ratified by the board of management. The whole-school curricular plans should be adopted and implemented by all teachers, and this would significantly strengthen the impact of the school plan on teaching and learning throughout the school.

 

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; that a copy of the procedures has been provided to all staff (including all new staff); 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.

 

3.2 Classroom planning

The majority of teachers in the school fulfil the requirements of Rule 126 of the Department of Education and Science Rules for National Schools and provide plans for the long-term and the short-term as well as monthly reports on the work done in class. The school is reminded that all teachers have a professional obligation to engage in this process. The short-term planning is based on a commercial template and generally outlines the content that the teacher intends to cover in a fortnight. Some teachers expand on this template to make it more amenable to individual class needs. This is good practice. Long-term plans are presented in accordance with the curriculum and include reference to its strands, strand units, objectives and content. In some instances, teachers have adapted the school plans for their own long-term plans. This is good practice and it would be advisable that all teachers make use of whole-school curricular plans as the basis for their own long-term planning.

 

 

4.     Quality of learning and teaching

 

4.1 Overview of learning and teaching

 

 

4.2 Language

 

Gaeilge

Tá dea-chaighdeán múinteoireachta sa Ghaeilge le feiscint i bhformhór na ranganna sa scoil seo. Múintear an teanga go díreach sna bunranganna agus cuirtear an teanga múinte i bhfeidhm go héifeachtach le hobair beirte. Baintear dea-úsáid as fearas léirithe, as ábhair choncréideacha agus as teicneolaíocht cumarsáide cosúil leis an gclár bán idirghníomhach chun frásaí, abairtí agus scéalta a mhúineadh. Sna bunranganna chomh maith, cuirtear béim ar rainn agus amhráin a mhúineadh chomh maith le raon leathan de chluichí. Baintear úsáid as puipéid agus fearas eile chun foclóir a mhúineadh. Nótaíodh go gcuirtear béim ar cheisteanna a chleachtadh go rialta i ranganna áirithe.

 

Tá béim inmholta ar ghníomhaíochtaí teanga i ngrúpaí sna meánranganna agus sna ranganna sinsearacha. Baintear dea-úsáid as an gcur chuige cumarsáideach sa roinn seo den scoil. Freagraíonn na daltaí ceisteanna go muiníneach agus aithrisíonn siad dánta agus rannta go bríomhar. I gcásanna áirithe, tá fíor leabhair, úrscéalta Gaeilge san áireamh, in úsáid sa léitheoireacht agus moltar an dea-chleachtas seo. Ar an iomlán, cleachtaítear an léitheoireacht go rialta sna ranganna seo agus tá an rian san ar chumas na ndaltaí.  Cláraíonn na daltaí an scríbhneoireacht go hordúil sna cóipleabhair agus forbraítear an scríbhneoireacht leanúnach go coinsiasach. Tríd is tríd, léiríonn na daltaí dul chun cinn maith i dtuiscint, i labhairt, i léamh agus i scríobh na teanga.

 

Irish

Sound teaching strategies for Irish are employed in classes in this school. The language is taught in a direct fashion in the junior classes and the specific language taught is practised effectively by means of pair work. Good use is made of visual aids, concrete material and information and communication technology, including the interactive whiteboard, to teach sentences and phrases for oral language. In the junior classes as well, rhymes and songs are taught together with a wide range of games. Puppets and other resources are used to teach vocabulary. It is noted that questioning skills are practised regularly in some classes.

 

There is commendable emphasis on group language activities in the middle and senior classes.  Good use is made of the communicative approach in this section of the school. Pupils answer questions confidently and they recite rhymes and poems in a lively fashion. In certain instances, real books, including Irish novels, are in use and this good practice is to be praised. Overall, reading is practised regularly in these classes to the benefit of the pupils. Pupils write carefully in copies and narrative writing is developed conscientiously. Throughout the school, pupils are making good progress in understanding, speaking, reading and writing the language.

 

English

The staff implements a broad and balanced programme in English. Clear learning outcomes are identified for the development of pupils’ oral language. In each classroom teachers encourage pupils to engage in regular discussion, based on age-appropriate topics. Poetry is presented in an interesting manner and pupils recite a range of verse and rhyme with vigour, clarity and expression. Discrete oral language lessons are taught well. Pupils work in pairs, in groups and as a whole class and learn to develop confidence during their interactions. In some classes, the pupils are encouraged to make presentations to the class.

From an early age pupils are exposed to a useful sight vocabulary and this is paralleled by regular promotion of phonic activity, based on the Jolly Phonics scheme. Approaches to developing pupils’ reading skills include shared reading tasks and sound copies which are practised at home with parents. These approaches at individual class level are further supported by an effective early intervention strategy where pupils are provided with differentiated instruction in specific reading skills through station teaching. This laudable exercise is facilitated by the learning-support teachers and the class teacher. The core resource for reading is a set of graded books from a published scheme and this is supplemented appropriately by the use of the novel and by the promotion of library book reading. An examination of reading scores attained in standardised tests demonstrates that pupils are making systematic progress in accordance with age and ability.

 

Pupils engage in a range of writing activities that include functional, interactive and creative outputs and this work is complemented productively with the pupils’ engagement in project work across a number of curricular areas. Writing skills are developed imaginatively where, for example, pupils write class poems for publication in the school magazine. The senior pupils’ production of the school’s newsletter “The New Inn Times” is most accomplished and is worthy of particular praise. Pupils are afforded regular opportunities to use Information Communication Technology (ICT) to print samples of work and these are displayed attractively in classrooms. The foundations of good spelling skills are laid in the late junior and early middle classes where pupils learn spellings in the context of full sentences. The standard and presentation of written work in copybooks is good. The foundations for neat handwriting skills are laid down in the junior classes and are maintained as pupils progress through middle and senior classes.

 

4.3 Mathematics

An examination of mathematical scores attained in standardised tests demonstrates that pupils are making good progress in accordance with age and ability. Teachers present content clearly and provide appropriate structured learning activities. Exercises in the memorisation of number facts feature regularly in class work and revision tests are administered at frequent intervals. In the junior classes the recitation of number rhymes and song is utilised productively to promote understanding of number. Teachers engage commendably in grouping approaches in classrooms to cater for pupils’ diverse learning needs. A wide range of games and mental mathematical activity is used effectively to enable pupils develop and consolidate number skills. A whole-school approach to the development of pupils’ mathematical language is addressed consistently in classroom routines. The use of concrete material is widespread and purposeful and is recognised by staff as a productive means of developing understanding. Staff members have developed effective strategies in the area of problem-solving and the pupils’ understanding of concepts is facilitated through regular linkage with real life situations.  Productive use is made of the interactive white-board to reinforce activities covered and this reinforcement needs to be extended to broaden and consolidate the pupils’ knowledge. The pupils’ written work is well presented and is monitored regularly and marked by teachers. The recording of work in copybooks should now be extended to the junior classes.

 

4.4 Social, Environmental and Scientific Education

 

History

History lessons observed in the junior classes focused on working as an historian through exploration of chronology. Pupils practised the language of chronology including before, after, past and present. Artefacts were used to make the lessons interesting and meaningful. In the middle and senior classes, the skills and concepts of working as an historian are developed further through archaeological approaches designed to make the context for learning as real as possible. Pair work is used for brainstorming and the approaches encourage reflection in the class.

 

Geography

Pupils are afforded opportunities to engage in a range of geographical activities in order to develop a knowledge and understanding of local, regional and wider environments. Topics are introduced and developed through discussions that are relevant to pupils’ lives and experiences. Appropriate use is made of visual aids, maps and information and communication technology to complement the learning process. Commendable use is made of digital photography in the presentation of pupils’ project work, and the development of pupils’ awareness of the environs of Glanmire is laudable. Lessons observed had good pace and structure and data documented in copybooks is well-presented.  

 

Science

The pupils exhibit considerable enthusiasm for Science and they are challenged suitably by the range of activities devised by teachers. Teachers encourage an investigative spirit through regular engagement in a variety of practical tasks. Suitable attention is given to the language of Science and to the development of pupils’ skills of observation, analysis, prediction and recording of outcomes. Staff members recognise the potential of the school’s immediate environment to support the development of pupils’ skills in Science. Good examples of this include the construction of a school garden and chicken coop. The potential now exists to promote an increased awareness of and care for the environment through participating in the Green-Schools initiative. Science is integrated successfully with other curricular areas and pupils were afforded fruitful opportunities to explore a number of habitats during the recent local trail activity. The provision of nature and investigation tables in a number of classes provides a welcome source of learning for pupils and adds aesthetically to classroom environments.

 

4.5 Arts Education

 

Visual Arts

Visual Arts displays are of a high standard and there is evidence of a wide range of curricular strand units covered. Teachers have displayed work based on painting, printing, fabric and fibre, collage, construction and clay. In some classes, praiseworthy examples of integration with Science, Geography, English and Mathematics are in evidence. For example, in one class a theme on pirates for English became the basis of Visual Arts work in construction of pirate boats and was followed by Science work on floating and sinking. In some of the classes, teachers draw on the work of renowned artists to act as inspiration for pupils’ own work.

 

Music

Various sub-skills for singing are practised in the junior classes. Emphasis on rhythm and action songs aids the children’s musical development. Songs are taught throughout the school in both Irish and English. In the middle classes, pupils are taught the tin whistle and use is made of the interactive whiteboard to develop literacy skills in Music. It is worth considering extending the teaching of tin whistle to other classes. The school also avails of the services of outside tutors who are under the auspices of Co. Cork VEC.

 

4.6 Physical Education

A full Physical Education (PE) programme is implemented in the school and teachers make use of the school’s resources and equipment. The school does not have a hall for PE and instead use is made of one of the unoccupied classrooms in one of the older temporary buildings. There is a sports field next to the school which is a valuable resource during the summer term in particular. The aquatics strand is catered for through use of a nearby swimming pool. During PE lessons, various skills are practised and lessons are well organised.

 

The school is to be commended for its involvement in sports activities. One teacher, as a post-holder, has responsibility for the management of all sports activities in the school. This involves all administrative duties including organising permission slips, fixtures, transport, and equipment. The school is involved in a wide range of sports including football, hurling, camogie, basketball, volleyball, soccer, swimming, county school sports and internal school sports. Other teachers are also involved and provide help when pupils go to games and take part in competitions. It is advised that the sports policy be reviewed from time to time to ensure priorities are defined and implemented. Priorities for consideration should, among others, include participation by as many pupils as possible, equal participation in sport for boys and girls and ensuring that no single class is unduly affected by teacher absence due to the school’s sports commitment.

 

4.7 Social, Personal and Health Education

Teachers prepare interesting lessons for SPHE. Some of the work observed during the WSE included lessons on opinions and on agreeing and disagreeing with opinions. The vocabulary for lessons was taught deliberately and pupils were enabled to take turns and practised listening to opinions. In other classes, the teachers used pair work and group work for brainstorming sessions on topics such as safety. Good lessons on road safety were observed and pupils were taught the Safe Cross Code song. Practical equipment, the interactive whiteboard and discussion were used for demonstration and for reinforcement of teaching points.

 

4.8 Assessment

The teachers are to be commended for the comprehensive records kept on pupils’ progress in the school. Teachers of junior classes keep assessment folders containing record sheets for pupils’ knowledge of letter sounds, letter names, words and comprehension. Records are also kept for Mathematics and for pupils’ skill development in certain areas. In addition, teachers maintain samples of pupils’ work and pupils’ shared reading records. In later classes, teachers maintain records for results of dictation tests, spelling tests, letter formation, reading aloud (number of mistakes heard) and sight words. In many instances, teachers maintain copies of the previous year’s school report forms.

 

In the middle and senior classes, the teachers maintain the results of standardised tests for pupils. The results of the tests demonstrate that the pupils are making good progress in the school.  Records kept in the late junior, middle and senior classes include assessment record sheets for knowledge of alphabetical order and results for cloze procedure tests, phonics tests, punctuation tests, test results for knowledge of high frequency words, spelling tests, dictation tests and comprehension tests. In addition, teachers in the higher classes maintain progress records for Irish including progress in Irish reading, writing and vocabulary.

 

 

5.     Quality of support for pupils

 

5.1 Pupils with special educational needs

Supplementary support for pupils with special educational needs is delivered by four learning-support/resource teachers (LSRT), two of whom are shared with two other schools. The board is advised to review this sharing arrangement to ensure all personnel are effectively deployed. The school has drafted a useful policy on the provision of support for pupils with special educational needs which incorporates the staged approach to assessment, identification and programme implementation outlined in Special Education Circular 02/05. A consistent application of diagnostic testing should be identified to further inform individual intervention programmes.

 

In the course of their work support staff members liaise regularly with mainstream class teachers and with relevant external professionals. Support for pupils is provided in literacy, in numeracy and in social development. The teachers are creditably proactive in addressing pupils’ needs through appropriate initiatives such as early intervention that operates from junior infants to second class. Elements of Reading Recovery are utilised to further support pupils and professional development in this area has been partially accessed. In most instances individual education plans are prepared on the basis of a careful diagnosis of needs and are characterised by a measured degree of detail and relevance. These plans include specific targets with set timeframes for review and progress records are carefully maintained. Management is advised to ensure that the maintenance of planning and progress records should be undertaken consistently by all teachers. Support for pupils is provided on a withdrawal basis, either individually or in small groups, and is duly complemented with in-class support.

 

A conscientious effort is made by teachers to employ a variety of strategies that are adapted regularly to pupils’ learning needs. There is however, a need to develop interventions further that will facilitate a greater focus on the prioritised needs of pupils. The in-class model of support should be further explored to provide greater opportunities to target the specific needs of pupils. Judicious use is made of a range of resources, including the use of ICT, to consolidate learning. Two special needs assistants (SNA) ably assist teachers in facilitating pupils to access the curriculum in the mainstream setting. They work in close co-operation with staff to provide good care of pupils and are to be commended for the dedicated manner in which they undertake their duties. There are currently no established arrangements in the school for meetings between the SNAs and senior management. Further clarity is needed regarding the role of SNA’s in supporting the school’s special needs provision and to this end the development of a written school policy would be helpful. On their own initiative the SNAs maintain a record on the pupils in their care, however, a more coordinated approach led by the school’s senior management is required. The professional development needs of SNAs should also be addressed in the policy. Within the context of developing further good practice, the assignment of responsibilities for the coordination of special needs within the school is essential to promote the professional development of all staff and to support high-quality special needs provision. Formal time to meet and discuss special needs as a team should be identified.

 

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

There are pupils in the school who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. These pupils are helped on an individual basis with contributions towards the costs of school trips, involvement in sports events and other areas of school life that involve costs. It is advised that the board should prepare a policy document outlining how the school can best support pupils who may be at risk of educational disadvantage. This should include arrangements for an annual report to the board on how funds have been disbursed and an outline of the supports proposed for the year ahead.

 

 

6.     Summary of findings and recommendations for further development

 

The following are the main strengths 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 staff and board of management where the draft findings and recommendations of the evaluation were presented and discussed.

 

 

 

 

Published, June 2010

 

 

 

 

Appendix

 

School Response to the Report

 

Submitted by the Board of Management

 

 

Area 1   Observations on the content of the inspection report     

 

 

The Board of Management welcomes the WSE report and would like to thank the cigirí for their input and advice.

The BOM welcomes the acknowledgement by the cigirí of the very high standards achieved in Gaeilge ,the above average attainment in Maths and excellent progress being made in English. It is a true reflection of the application and diligence of the principal and staff over a number of years. It highlights in a practical way the emphasis which is placed on the teaching and learning process.

The BOM is also proud of the initiatives undertaken in IT.

The report also acknowledges the innovation in curriculum planning, and the positives accruing from professional sharing of best practice, an integral part of school and staff development.

The whole school community can be rightly proud of the praise for the children and their conduct in the course of the WSE. A considerable amount of planning and implementation from the principal and staff with the cooperation and involvement of the parents has made it possible.

The Board also acknowledges the wonderful progress being made by children with different needs.

 

 

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

 

The report highlights some shortcomings A number of recommendations have been made. The BOM is happy to relate that significant progress has been made in relation to these recommendations.

 

In house BOM training was undertaken on the 1-3-10 conducted by the CPSMA.

A financial audit is being undertaken the results of which will be communicated to the DES.

The BOM sets as a priority the provision of a new school.

Significant progress has been made in practical arrangements to address communication difficulties. The Board welcomes the advice in relation to in-school management. The Board will review the existing needs of the school and the current duties allocated to cater in a more meaningful way for curriculum leadership roles and promoting distributive leadership. New structures for staff meetings have been agreed and initiated.

The BOM has adopted the Working Together document as drawn up by the CPSMA and INTO.

The Board will endeavour to have each classroom resourced with interactive whiteboards or interactive projectors in the coming year.

Considerable progress has been made in reconstituting the Parents Association and this initiative will continue to be supported.

The Board takes great pride in our sporting achievements and will look to further enhancing opportunities for both boys and girls in varying sporting arenas.

The BOM will review our current policy in Special Education and ratify.