An Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta


Department of Education and Science



Whole School Evaluation




Scoil Náisiúnta Bhaile an Chaisleáin

An Sciobairín, Contae Chorcaí

Uimhir rolla: 13728B



Date of inspection: 05 November 2007

  Date of issue of report: 17 April 2008

Whole-school evaluation

Introduction – school context and background

1.     Quality of school management

2.     Quality of school planning

3.     Quality of learning and teaching

4.     Quality of support for pupils

5.     Conclusion


Whole-school evaluation


A whole-school evaluation of Scoil Náisiúnta Bhaile an Chaisleáin was undertaken in October / November, 2007. This report presents the findings of the evaluation and makes recommendations for improvement. The evaluation focused on the quality of teaching and learning in English, Irish, Mathematics and Visual Arts. 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.



Introduction – school context and background


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




Pupils enrolled in the school


Mainstream classes in the school


Teachers on the school staff


Mainstream class teachers


Teachers working in support roles


Special needs assistants




1.     Quality of school management


1.1 Characteristic spirit, mission or vision

This is a co-educational school situated in the parish of Castlehaven in West Cork. It is under the patronage of the Catholic Bishop of Cork and Ross.


1.2 Board of management

The Board is properly constituted and manages the school in a highly effective manner. Meetings are convened at least once a term or more frequently as required. The school’s financial affairs are attended to with great care and a financial report is presented on a regular basis. A highly commendable maintenance programme is presently nearing completion which involved the purchase of additional land. An additional mainstream teacher is likely to be appointed for the 2008/9 school-year and the Board wishes to ensure that suitable accommodation be available in that event. Discussions with the Planning and Building Section of the Department are on-going in this regard.


In line with recommended practice the Board is involved with the development of the school plan and has ratified all the curriculum plans. Its support for the Parents’ Association is clearly productive and is to be commended.



1.3 In-school management

The principal deserves considerable credit for his commitment to all aspects of school work and has clearly facilitated a school atmosphere which is based on respect and collaboration. In this regard he is effectively assisted by a highly motivated staff which includes two post-holders.   


1.4 Management of relationships and communication with the school community

The effective management of relationships as well as high quality communication with the school community was noted during the evaluation and is very much in line with the views expressed by the board and the Parents’ Association.


1.5 Management of pupils

The pupils are managed in a highly effective manner. The staff  have drawn up purposeful policies in relation to discipline and bullying in collaboration with the board. The result of such policies were clearly evident during the evaluation. In this regard the reassuring levels of pupil participation at all levels in the school are to be commended.



2.     Quality of school planning


2.1 Whole-school and classroom planning


The quality of whole-school planning is commended and an effective school plan has been drawn up in relation to all aspects of the curriculum. The planning process has involved staff, board as well as the school planning support services and there is clear evidence of its positive impact on teaching and learning process within the school.  


The quality of classroom planning greatly assists the teaching and learning process throughout the school. Teacher preparation is focused, sets out clear and attainable objectives and places due emphasis on suitable levels of differentiation. The merits of using templates produced by the supports services were discussed during the evaluation.


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; 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.     Quality of learning and teaching


3.1 Language


Moltar go mór caighdeán Gaeilge na fóirne trí chéile maraon lena ndúthracht agus iad i mbun a teagaisc. Ba léir le linn an fhiosraithe go dtéann na cúinsí seo go mór i bhfeidhm ar éifeacht na hoibre sa scoil ina hiomláine. Dá réir sin chonacthas samplaí de theagasc a bhí ar ard-chaighdeán ag gach leibhéal sa scoil. Is mór is fiú mar shampla an bhéim a leagtar ar ionchur teanga soiléir agus ar thoradh an teagaisc le linn na gceachtanna. Fágann sin go n-éiríonn le líon súntasach daltaí fíor-chumarsáid inmholta a dhéanamh dá bharr seo.


Múintear scileanna na léitheoireachta go cumasach ar bhonn rialta agus is inmholta go mór an soláthar breá de leabhair bhreise atá curtha ar fáil don léitheoireacht mar chaitheamh aimsire. Cuireadh comhairle ar fáil maidir le húsáid na leabhar móra. Dírítear chomh sciliúil céanna ar theagasc na scríbhneoireachta agus tá ard-chaighdeán le sonrú go minic ina leith. Cuireadh comhairle ar fáil faoin scríbhneoireacht chomhoibritheach. Moltar go mór néatacht na gcóipleabhar ag gach leibhéal sa scoil.




The mainstream staff’s mastery of Irish together with their commitment to teaching it is highly commended. It was evident during the course of the evaluation that these factors have a significant bearing on learning outcomes throughout the school. Accordingly samples of high quality tuition were noted at all levels. The attention devoted to specific and appropriate language input as well as to learning outcomes is praiseworthy. Such approaches ensure that a significant number of pupils engage in real communication.


The appropriate skills of reading are fruitfully taught and highly effective provision is made for reading for pleasure. The use of big books was discussed. The writing skills are taught equally competently throughout the school .It is now felt that additional emphasis could be placed on collaborative writing. Otherwise the pupils’ written presentations are of a particularly high standard.



The principal aural /oral skills in English are developed to a high degree throughout the school. In this regard a praiseworthy balance is struck between teacher talk and pupil talk so that the pupils’ ability to communicate effectively is systematically nurtured. Due emphasis is also placed on teaching English across the curriculum.


The relevant reading skills are taught effectively on a whole-school basis and evidence was available to indicate that a significant number of pupils attain a high standard. An attractive supply of additional reading material is available at all suitable levels which fruitfully supports the more formal tuition. Reading for knowledge is also suitably emphasised. The importance of assessment for learning was discussed during the evaluation.


Suitable skills in writing are purposefully taught throughout the school. Accordingly many pupils reach a high standard in a variety of genres. The standard of presentation and of penmanship throughout the school is highly commended.    



3.2 Mathematics

A useful school plan for Mathematics has been prepared and provides an excellent basis for the effective teaching and learning of Mathematics. Fruitful emphasis is placed on coherent approaches to the language of Mathematics, number operations and to problem-solving skills. The positive effect of this plan on the quality of teaching was clearly noted during the evaluation. High quality tuition was noted frequently during the evaluation and careful attention was paid to the internalisation of key concepts. In this regard the use of manipulative materials is managed very effectively and allows for a high degree of meaningful activity learning. Linkages with other aspects of the curriculum are also a welcome feature of the work. Clear evidence was available to indicate that significant progress is made in the teaching and learning process throughout the school.  


3.3 Visual Arts

The school plan acknowledges the important role played by the visual arts in the pupils’ overall formation. Comprehensive work programmes are implemented at all levels within the school which provide the pupils with excellent experiences in a wide range of techniques. The lessons are well structured and the pupils are carefully encouraged to respond meaningfully to their own work and to that of others. Attractive displays of pupil creativity add considerably to the overall learning process in the school.


3.4 Assessment

A range of standardised tests is administered throughout the school within the parameters set out in the school plan. These tests include Micra T, Sigma T, MIST, Neale Analysis. This approach to assessment allows for the systematic monitoring of pupil progress which is carefully recorded. Teacher-designed tests and checklists also form an important part of the assessment process.



4.     Quality of support for pupils


4.1 Pupils with special educational needs

A wide variety of high quality strategies are employed regarding provision for pupils with special educational needs within the school. A noteworthy feature of this provision is the significant level of collaboration which is promoted among all the relevant parties on a regular basis. In addition, the use of diagnostic testing to inform teaching strategies is highly commended as is the comprehensive range of teaching materials provided. 


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.