An Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta

Department of Education and Science

 

Whole School Evaluation

REPORT

 

Kilteevan N.S.

Roscommon, County Roscommon

Uimhir rolla: 14966W

 

Date of inspection: 20 February 2008

  Date of issue of report: 22 May 2008

 

 

 

 

Whole-school evaluation

Introduction – school context and background

1.     Quality of school management

1.1 Characteristic spirit, mission or vision

1.2 Board of management

1.3 In-school management

1.4 Management of relationships and communication with the school community

1.5 Management of pupils

2.     Quality of school planning

2.1 Whole-school and classroom planning

2.2 Child protection policy and procedures

3.     Quality of learning and teaching

3.1 Language

3.2 Mathematics

3.3 Social, Personal and Health Education

3.4 Assessment

4.     Quality of support for pupils

4.1 Pupils with special educational needs

5.     Conclusion

School Response to the Report

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whole-school evaluation

 

A whole-school evaluation of Kilteevan National School was undertaken in February 2008. 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 Social, Personal and Health Education.  The board of management 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.

 

 

Introduction – school context and background

 

Kilteevan National School is a small rural school seven kilometres east of Roscommon town. It caters for boys and girls from infants to sixth class. Enrolment figures have consistently increased in recent years. The school is under the patronage of the Catholic Bishop of Elphin. Attendance in the school is very good.

 

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

49

Mainstream classes in the school

2

Teachers on the school staff

2

Mainstream class teachers

2

Teachers working in support roles

1

Special needs assistants

0

 

 

1.     Quality of school management

 

1.1 Characteristic spirit, mission or vision

 

The school aims to nurture “a harmonious teaching and learning environment”. This is achieved through carefully structured lessons based on the needs of the pupils. Learning is context-based and learner-centred. The mission statement highlights the commitment to “give the children a sense of self-worth and value, to empower them to develop their individual potential as human beings and to respect others”. This is achieved through the teaching of a broad and balanced curriculum and through the differentiation of tasks for pupils with different learning needs. Interactions between pupils and teachers is open and respectful.

 

1.2 Board of management

 

The school is managed by a very dedicated board. It meets regularly and is proactive in ensuring the material needs of the pupils are met. It has carried out extensive development of the school in recent years. The school is maintained to a very high standard. The board has established an action plan for its term of office which includes the building of a third classroom to facilitate the growth in pupil numbers, the building of toilet facilities for the staff and a learning support room. Members of the board expressed their satisfaction with and pride in the school.

 

 

 

1.3 In-school management

 

The principal carries out her administrative and curricular duties competently. She is conscientious in her role and an effective leader within the school community. She maintains close links with parents, members of the board of management and with her staff. It is recommended that arrangements for staff meetings be formalised and that they be organised on a regular basis.

 

1.4 Management of relationships and communication with the school community

 

Relationships and communication with the school community are managed very effectively. Parents are very satisfied with the level of communication between home and school. Parent-teacher meetings are organised annually and are the main forum for discussing pupil progress with parents. Letters and notes are sent home regularly. There is a good level of parental involvement in the school, particularly with regard to sports and fundraising.

 

1.5 Management of pupils

 

The standard of pupil management in the school is very high. Lessons and activities are well prepared. Teachers have high expectations with regard to learning and behaviour. The school’s code of discipline is clear and highlights the school motto ‘show respect and expect respect’. The code of behaviour also includes strategies to promote positive behaviour. It is signed by parents on enrolment. The school has established praiseworthy procedures to promote positive pupil-pupil interaction. This includes an anti-bullying pledge which is signed by all pupils and their parents.

 

 

2.     Quality of school planning

 

2.1 Whole-school and classroom planning

 

The quality of whole-school planning is fair. While there is a very good selection of plans and policies which span organisational and curricular areas, the planning process lacks structure. Plans are generic in nature and generally do not reflect the context of the school. It is recommended that the staff engage in periodic school review leading to the formation of a long-term plan, planning diary and action plans. Current plans and policies should be reviewed to ensure that they are in line with best practice and that they meet the needs of the school.

 

The quality of classroom planning is commendable. The staff is committed to implementing a broad and balanced curriculum which is carefully sequenced. Teachers have established a common framework for their individual planning which promotes continuity and progression. Planning is informative and practical. It details expected pupil outcomes, modes of assessment, use of methodologies and resources and differentiation strategies.

 

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

 

Gaeilge

caighdeán na Gaeilge labhartha go maith tríd an scoil. Leagtar béim chuí ar an nGaeilge neamhfhoirmiúil. De thoradh sin, dearcadh dearfach á chothú sna daltaí. Bíonn struchtúr agus luas maith sna ceachtanna. Baintear úsáid éifeachtach as nuacht an lae ó bhéal chun na daltaí a chur ag caint faoin a saol féin. Bíonn an cur chuige cumarsáideach á chur chun cinn chun deiseanna a thabhairt do na daltaí foclóir nua a úsáid. Moltar an cleachtas seo a úsáid níos minice tríd an scoil. Bíonn na daltaí in ann ceisteanna a chur ar a chéile go han-éifeachtach. Bíonn na daltaí sinseareacha in ann caint go leanúnach agus go cruinn ar réimse leathan d’ábhair. Baineann múinteoirí úsáid as rainn, amhráin, cluichí teanga, dlúthchéirníní agus as an gclár bán i rith an cheachta labhartha a chuidíonn go mór leis an bhfoghlaim. Comhtháitear an Ghaeilge go hinmholta le Mata, Drámaíocht agus Ceol. go bhfuil stór focail maith ag na daltaí níl siad muiníneach agus iad ag caint in aimsirí difriúla.

 

caighdeán na léitheoireachta go maith. forbairt le sonrú sa léitheoireacht de réir mar a théann na daltaí ar aghaidh sa scoil. Bíonn neart ábhair chlóbhuailte sna seomraí ranga. Bíonn lipéid, luaschartaí, cairteacha agus póstaeir mar spreagadh do na foghlaimeoirí. Moltar réimse níos leithne d’ábhair léitheoireachta Gaeilge a úsáid, leabhair móra san áireamh, agus béim a chur ar fhoghraíocht na Gaeilge.

 

caighdeán na scríbhneoireachta ard. Leagtar béim inmholta ar nuacht phearsanta atá á scríobh ag na daltaí go rialta. Is léir go bhfuil na daltaí in ann iad féin a chur in iúl go muiníneach agus go cumasach. Moltar, áfach, éagsúlacht sna tascanna scríbhneoireachta a chur chun cinn chun scileanna scríbhneoireachta éagsúla a chothú go gceartaíonn na múinteoirí obair na ndaltaí ar bhonn leanúnach, moltar nós imeachta uile-scoile a leagan amach do mheasúnú sa Ghaeilge. Cothaítear feasacht cultúrtha sa scoil tríd an amhránaíocht, aithriseoireacht agus trí mhúineadh na feadóige.

 

Irish

The standard of spoken Irish is good throughout the school. An appropriate emphasis is placed on informal Irish. As a result, a positive attitude to the language is instilled in the pupils. Lessons are well structured and paced. Effective use is made of news time to inspire the pupils to talk about their lives. The communicative approach is promoted to give pupils opportunities to use new vocabulary. It is recommended that this practice be used more frequently throughout the school. Pupils can effectively ask questions of one another. Senior pupils can accurately speak at length about a range of topics. Teachers use rhymes, songs, language games, compact discs and the white board during oral language lessons which greatly help pupils’ learning. Irish is integrated admirably with Mathematics, Drama and Music. While pupils have a good language store they are not confident in using different tenses.

 

The standard of Irish reading is good. There is a clear development in reading as pupils progress through the school. Classrooms are rich in print. Labels, flashcards, charts and posters are used to inspire learners. It is recommended that a wider range of reading material be used, in particular big books and that an emphasis be placed on phonetics in Irish.

 

The standard of Irish writing is high. A praiseworthy emphasis is placed on writing personal news on a regular basis and it is obvious that pupils can express themselves confidently and competently. It is recommended, however, to promote different genres of writing to develop a wider range of writing skills. While teachers correct pupils’ work regularly, it is recommended that a whole-school approach to assessment in Irish be devised. Cultural awareness is promoted in the school through singing, recitation and through the teaching of the tin-whistle.

 

English

The quality of teaching and learning in English is very good. Lessons are very much focused and instruction is clear. Teachers effectively promote oral language development through the selection of appropriate themes for discussion and use of a variety of methodologies. Pupils are proficient in their oral presentations. They recite poetry with energy and feeling.

 

Pupil achievement in English reading is very good. Higher-order questioning is generally a feature of lessons. The teachers are commended for the emphasis placed on reading for pleasure through use of big books, class novels and supplementary reading books. Pupils have developed appropriate word-attack skills. Choral reading is used advantageously with the senior classes. The staff places an excellent emphasis on phonological awareness throughout the school. It is recommended that teachers explore ways of differentiating reading activities for pupils with different learning needs.

 

The quality of pupils’ written work is very good. Early-writing skills are developed to good effect in the junior classes. The writing process is promoted at all levels. Pupils develop writing skills through a variety of genres; although each genre could be developed further to ensure pupils have mastered the conventions of each style. Handwriting is systematically taught resulting in a neat, individual style of writing by sixth class pupils. Teachers assess English using a variety of tools including spelling tests, the correction of written work, dictation and standardised tests.

 

3.2 Mathematics

 

The quality of teaching and learning in Mathematics is very good. Teachers promote an effective variety of activities across all strands with an excellent focus on the use of concrete materials, including calculators. Activities are advantageously linked to pupils’ lives and experiences. Pupils display competence across all strands. Pupils are interested in mathematical enquiry and their questions are welcomed. Teachers place a very good emphasis on number facts and mathematical skills. While the language of Mathematics is taught systematically it is recommended that teachers make additional use of group work and pair work to provide opportunities for pupils to use new vocabulary. It is further recommended that teachers place a greater emphasis on problem-solving skills throughout the Mathematics programme.

 

3.3 Social, Personal and Health Education

 

The quality of teaching and learning in SPHE is very good. The programme is delivered in a variety of contexts, including the positive school climate and atmosphere. There is a high quality of interaction between pupils and teachers. A broad range of resources and methodologies is used to explore issues pertinent to the lives of the pupils. Excellent use is made of circle time and drama affording pupils opportunities to explore feelings and emotions sensitively. Pupils participate fully and honestly in all activities. Teachers could promote more higher-order questioning to challenge pupils’ thinking. It is recommended that teachers explore an appropriate method of assessment for SPHE.

 

3.4 Assessment

 

The quality of assessment is good. Pupils’ work is carefully and consistently monitored. Teachers use a comprehensive range of assessment tools in literacy and Mathematics which include standardised tests, diagnostic tests, teacher-designed tests and tasks and teacher observation. Considering the good practice that has been developed in these areas, it is recommended that the staff engages in assessment in other curricular areas. It is further recommended that teachers examine the results of standardised tests in English and Mathematics to establish a clear picture of the school’s strengths and areas for development in these subjects.

 

 

4.     Quality of support for pupils

 

4.1 Pupils with special educational needs

 

The quality of teaching and learning in the special education setting is very good. Lessons are carefully planned. They show continuity and progression in line with the needs of each learner. Education plans are prepared for all pupils availing of the special education service in the school. Targets are concise, specific and measurable. The nature of support is very flexible. Some pupils avail of one-to-one tuition, others attend lessons in small groups and where appropriate in-class support is provided. A wide range of teacher resources and methodologies is utilised to good effect, including information and communication technologies. A commendable emphasis is placed on developing life skills of pupils. The quality of interaction between the support teacher and her pupils is excellent. It is recommended that the school reviews its policy on special education to include procedures as laid out in the Department of Education and Science’s circular 02/05. Staff should also consider extending its early intervention programme. It is essential that all pupils are placed in age-appropriate classes, and that they progress through the school with their peers.

 

 

5.     Conclusion

 

The school has strengths in the following areas:

 

·         The school’s board of management is very hardworking and committed to meeting the needs of the pupils.

·         The maintenance of the school building and its grounds is commendable.

·         The school has a very dedicated and effective teaching staff.

·         The quality of teaching in all areas is high with an appropriate emphasis on a variety of teaching methodologies.

·         There are very effective links established between school and home.

·         Pupil behaviour is excellent.

·         Individual teacher planning is praiseworthy.

·         Teachers integrate various aspects of the curriculum successfully and are particularly adept at using Drama and Music as stimuli for pupils across all curricular areas.

 

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

 

·         It is recommended that staff meetings are formalised to ensure teachers have regular opportunities for whole-school planning.

·         It is recommended that the staff implements the school development planning process, including a review of existing plans and policies to meet the current needs of the school.

·         It is recommended that a greater variety of reading materials be used in Irish.

·         It is recommended that pupils are placed in age-appropriate settings on enrolment and that they progress through the school with their peers.

·         It is recommended that the school’s approach to special education be reviewed to take into account the Department of Education and Science’s circular 02/05.

 

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.

 

 

 

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 of Kilteevan N.S. found the content of the inspection report to be fair and accurate.

 

 

 

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

 

1.       Staff meetings have been formalised by the Board of Management to ensure teachers have regular opportunities for whole-school planning (one meeting per term)

2.       A greater variety of Irish Reading Materials have been purchased by the Board of Management.

3.       The school has now taken into account the Department of Education and Science Circular 02/05 i.e. the staged approach to meeting the needs of pupils with Special Education Needs.

4.       All pupils are now enrolled in age-appropriate classes.

5.       The staff will use the School Development Planning Process when we review existing plans and policies.