An Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta

Department of Education and Science

 

Whole School Evaluation

REPORT

 

Scoil Naomh Bríd,

Killoughter,  Redhills, County Cavan

Roll number: 17230L

 

Date of inspection: 7 April 2006

Date of issue of report: 15 December 2006

 

 

 

 

1.  INTRODUCTION - SCHOOL CONTEXT AND BACKGROUND

2.  THE QUALITY OF SCHOOL MANAGEMENT

2.1 Board of management

2.2 In-school management

2.3 Management of resources

2.4 Management of relationships and communication with the school community

2.5 Management of pupils

3. QUALITY OF SCHOOL PLANNING

3.1 School planning, process and implementation

3.2 Classroom planning

4.  QUALITY OF TEACHING AND LEARNING

4.1 Language

4.2 Mathematics

4.3 Social, environmental and scientific education (SESE)

4.4 Arts education

4.5 Physical education

4.6 Social, personal and health education (SPHE)

4.7 Assessment and achievement

5. QUALITY OF SUPPORT FOR PUPILS

5.1 Provision for pupils with special educational needs

5.2 Other supports 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 Scoil Naomh Bríd, Killoughter. 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’ association. The evaluation was conducted over a number of days during which inspectors visited classrooms and observed teaching and learning. They interacted with students and teachers, examined students’ 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 the opportunity to comment in writing on the findings and recommendations of the report; the board chose to accept the report without response.

 

 

1.  INTRODUCTION - SCHOOL CONTEXT AND BACKGROUND

 

Scoil Naomh Bríd is a five teacher, coeducational primary school located at Killoughter outside the village of Redhills, some eight miles north of Cavan town. It is a Catholic primary school under the patronage of the Bishop of Kilmore and supports the holistic development of each child.  There are 73 pupils on roll. Pupils come from the village and surrounding area. The majority arrive to school by bus or car. In 1995, at the time of the last School Report, there were 129 pupils enrolled with five mainstream class teachers on staff.

 

 

2.  THE QUALITY OF SCHOOL MANAGEMENT

 

2.1 Board of management

The board of management is properly constituted, meets regularly and adopts effective functioning procedures. The board is supportive of the work of the school and a strong sense of community, in which all education partners work well together, is promoted and practised.  The board of management has, in recent times, updated certain policies, appointed a special education teacher, designated parking areas for buses at the school gates and arranged the auditing of their accounts. Its procedures for the management of resources are well organised and efficient. The board, under the guidance of the principal, is involved in policy development through the formulation, discussion and adoption of school policies drafted by staff. Effort has been made to develop various policies in line with relevant legislation; the health and safety, child protection and Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) policies, for example, have been updated recently. Policy areas currently under development include enrolment issues, school security and the setting up of a school website. The board is conscious of its statutory obligations and ensures compliance with Department of Education and Science (DES) regulations in relations to matters such as the length of the school day, class size, deployment of teachers and promotion of pupils from class to class. Board members are commended for their commitment to the school.

 

2.2 In-school management

A strong sense of discipline permeates the school. This discipline and order comes from the leadership style of the principal who is ably assisted by the staff. A carefully planned and implemented supervision policy ensures high standards of health and safety for the pupils.  The principal leads a group of capable and very committed teachers who, together with the school secretary, manage the day-to-day administration of this school effectively. Staff meetings are held regularly and records of such meetings are maintained methodically.

 

The strengths of leadership noted in this school include in-depth familiarity with the community, with all aspects of the work of the school and with the educational needs of the pupils, collectively and individually. A clear commitment to the welfare of all pupils and staff and active collaboration with the parents’ association are further signs of effective leadership by the principal, resulting in the creation of a welcoming atmosphere and a positive school climate. The principal’s keen interest in sport, with dedicated time given to Cumann na mBunscoil, is commendable, as is the exemplary promotion of Irish to the high standard observed during the evaluation.

 

The duties of the in-school management team indicate a mix of organisational, pastoral and some curricular duties. A review of curricular duties might be considered in light of the ongoing priorities and the developing needs of the school. The in-school management team give undivided support to all school activities such as camogie, football, and singing and contribute enormously to the efficient running of the school. They are professional, talented and show tremendous dedication to their teaching task. The team is effective in communicating with, and relating to the parent population and wider community.

 

2.3 Management of resources

At present, there are 73 pupils on rolls. Current staffing comprises of a teaching principal, three mainstream class teachers and a special education support teacher shared with one other school. A committed secretary and cleaner complete the staffing roster. A maintenance person is employed as is necessary. Teachers engage in continuing professional development. Consideration might be given to alternating some classes so that a teacher with a talent or interest in a specific subject area could enhance teaching and learning across the school. This practice would facilitate staff development and allow teachers teach a variety of class levels. The school avails of the services of Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) personnel and the quality of skills instruction provided as witnessed during the inspection is very good. The school also avails of the services of a local dance teacher who teaches junior classes.

 

The school building, constructed in 1939, was originally built as a two-classroom structure.  Three classrooms were built in 1984 and the original two classrooms were converted into a general-purpose room. However, further modifications took place and the general-purpose room was sub-divided to accommodate two classrooms. At present, one of these rooms is being used to accommodate the third assistant. The other room is used for display, drama, and physical education and as lunchroom. The school will be a three-teacher school from September 2006 and the two classrooms formed from the general-purpose room will be vacated. The school has a dedicated room for the special education teacher, an office, kitchen and staff toilet. The premises are well maintained and are properly cleaned and heated.

 

A wide range of teaching and learning resources, encompassing all curricular areas, is available throughout the school.  Since 1998, the Department of Education and Science has provided the school with grants to develop its Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure and it interconnectivity capabilities. The school has currently five desktop computers with peripherals for pupil use. Some teachers were noted to incorporate the use of ICT successfully into teaching and learning. Teachers use concrete materials in Mathematics effectively. Big books, charts and parallel readers enhance the learning in English. The local environment is used frequently in the teaching and learning in Geography and History. Resources for pupils with special needs have been suitably accessed. Teachers are commended on their attractive displays of pupils’ work and on the provision of an orderly, stimulating learning environment for the pupils. The school corridors and spare room were particularly attractive with pupils’ creative work and photographs on display.

 

2.4 Management of relationships and communication with the school community

The school has an interested and active parents’ association who support the work of the school. It is involved both in fundraising to provide for some school activities and needs and in facilitating co-curricular activities. The parents’ association has been involved in the school planning process and has discussed pertinent issues such as uniforms, healthy lunches and homework. The members promote the interest of all pupils with the co-operation of the principal, staff and board of management. They adopt a programme of activities, which promotes involvement of parents. They help in transporting pupils to after-school events such as quizzes, games and various competitions such as Scór.

 

There was evidence of good communication between school and home. Parents are kept abreast of pupils’ progress and of school events on an ongoing basis through good communication from the school in the format of letters and newsletters. There is a formal policy on home-school partnership that highlights the many ways in which parents support the work of the school. Parent-teacher meetings are held annually and written school reports are issued for pupils. Meetings with individual parents of junior infants are conducted in June of each year.

 

2.5 Management of pupils

The relationship between staff and pupils is very good. Pupils are exceptionally well behaved, industrious and respectful towards their peers and teachers. A notable sense of discipline is apparent in all activities undertaken. Supervision of pupils during recreation is exceptionally well managed where the teacher on duty can see all pupils in their care from a central standpoint. This is noteworthy practice. The code of behaviour is implemented effectively.

 

 

3. QUALITY OF SCHOOL PLANNING

 

3.1 School planning, process and implementation

The active involvement of the board and parents in the school planning process, as noted earlier, complies with the requirements of section 21 of the Education Act. The school plan does have a planning diary as recommended by the School Development Planning Support Service (SDPS), which facilitates the school in identifying and highlighting its priorities for development.  The school’s mission statement aims to facilitate the holistic development of the potential of each individual pupil, which it strives to do through its various activities.

 

The school plan consists of a series of documents, which outline well-developed and detailed policies and programmes for a range of organisational issues (such as enrolment, homework, assessment and code of behaviour) and curricular areas (including Mathematics, English, Irish, SPHE and Visual Arts). Most of the curricular policies are of a very good quality but modifications are required in some cases, as discussed at the post-inspection meeting. These include a greater emphasis on skills and concept development in some curricular policies, and more reference to methodologies, resources, assessment and differentiation. Addressing these aspects would ensure a continued systematic and comprehensive coverage of the curriculum and would have associated benefits for pupil learning. Pupils receive a broad and rich curriculum and participate very well in classroom activities.  Teachers are embracing some of the new teaching methodologies as outlined in the school policies. The school plan influences teaching and learning where teachers plan for methodologies and resources in their own classroom planning. It is recommended that teachers plan for assessment and use the information on pupil achievement to review the school plan. The school should also consider the use of action plans as part of the school planning process, as this would enable the school to manage change efficiently.

 

 

 

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, 2004) and Child Protection: Guidelines and Procedures (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 relevant and useful long-term schemes of work. Teachers’ classroom planning generally identifies curriculum themes, strands, strand units and content in detail with less emphasis, however, on skill development. The method and style of presentation of teachers’ schemes reflects individual preferences; in the interests of consistency, it is recommended that the staff devise common templates to plan and record their work. Teachers should consider including headings in their classroom planning such as content objectives, skills, methodologies, resources, assessment and differentiation. Planning for differentiation is crucial to support, in particular, those pupils in the classroom who are experiencing learning difficulties.

 

Monthly progress records are compiled by all teachers and maintained centrally by the principal. Analysis of these records indicates that teachers are implementing the 1999 curriculum effectively in most subject areas. However, there is little emphasis on Drama and an imbalance in the implementation of the Physical Education curriculum. The staff have acknowledged that these areas for development and have organised a planning day to plan for Physical Education. The staff will review Drama in 2007 when they receive in-service in this subject area. 

 

 

4.  QUALITY OF TEACHING AND LEARNING

 

4.1 Language

Gaeilge

Is inmholta an dúthracht a chaitheann na hoidí le teagasc na Gaeilge. Ag éirí as an bpolasaí don ábhar atá leagtha amach sa Phlean Scoile, múintear ceachtanna go díograiseach i ngach rang sa scoil. Leagann na hoidí ullmhúchán cuí amach le haghaidh an teagaisc. Moltar cur leis an ullmhúchán seo tré phleanáil do na modhanna múinte, na hacmhainní, an t-idirdhealú agus na huirlisí measúnaithe is gá chun díriú ar líofacht na ndaltaí a fhorbairt níos mó agus an fhoghlaim a neartú, go háirithe i gcás daltaí le riachtanais speisialta.  Baintear úsáid as rannta, scéalaíocht, amhráin agus agus aithrisítear an fhilíocht go bríomhar, taitneamhach. Leagtar béim ar theagasc na múnlaí cainte, na briathra agus ar an ngramadach. B’inmholta, áfach, an sluafhreagairt  agus modh an aitriúcháin a sheachaint le linn na foghlama. Úsáidtear an modh díreach go hondúil le linn an teagaisc. Baintear úsáid as comhrá beirte, cluichí agus mionagallaimh i gcuid de na ranganna ach b’inmholta na modhanna seo a úsáid níos minicí agus níos forleithne le linn na foghlama ar fud na scoile. Déantar cúram cuí de snáithe na héisteachta, ach moltar níos mó oibre a dhéanamh sa ghné seo.

 

Tá flúirse scríbhneoireachta sna cóipleabhair. Bunaítear cuid mhór den obair scríofa ar ábhar leabhair saothair nó ar chleachtaí tuisceana agus gramadaí agus baineann slacht agus cruinneas leis an obair ar an iomlán. B’inmholta an ghné chruthaitheach a fhorbairt níos mó ar fud na scoile. Caitear an-dua le teagasc na léitheoireachta. Déantar an téacs a phlé go tairbheach, léann na daltaí le brí agus déanann siad cíoradh tuisceanach ar ábhar na dtéacsleabhar. Tá forbairt an-mhaith á déanamh ar fhoclóir agus ar chumas na ndaltaí. Tá formhór na ndaltaí eolasach ar an méid atá múinte. Tá tromlach na ndaltaí an-eolasach ar na briathra agus ar chruinneas gramadaí ach moltar structúr a chur ar fáil do mhúineadh na n-aimsrí sna meánranganna agus sna hardranganna.  Ag an iarchomhdháil, pléadh na bealaí ina bhféadfadh na daltaí a bheith níos gníomhaí san fhoghlaim.  Ar an iomlán, múintear an Ghaeilge ar bhealach éifeachtach agus tá caighdeán ard bainte amach ag na daltaí.

 

Irish

The teachers deserve credit for the efforts they make in teaching Irish. Lessons are taught in all classrooms with enthusiasm and these are linked to the content as laid out in the school plan. Teachers provide appropriate preparation for their teaching. It is recommended that this preparation be augmented by planning for methodologies, resources, differentiation and the necessary assessment tools in order to focus on reinforcement of learning, and even greater development of pupils’ fluency in Irish in particular for those pupils with special needs. Rimes, story telling and songs are used in the teaching and poetry is recited in a lively, happy manner. Emphasis is placed on the teaching of phrases, on verbs and on grammar.  It is advisable, however, to avoid group answering and the use of English during the teaching of Irish. The direct approach is the most common approach used in teaching this subject. Pair work, games and mini dialogues are used in some of the classes but it is advised to use these methods more often and more widespread to facilitate learning throughout the school.

 

There is much evidence of written work in copies. Most of the written output is based on the content of the workbooks, on comprehension exercises and grammar, which is neat and meticulously presented on the whole.  It is recommended to develop creative writing even further across the school. Good effort is invested in the teaching of reading. The text is well explained, the pupils read with understanding and the content is adequately studied.  Pupils’ abilities in Irish and their language acquisition are well developed. Most pupils prove knowledgeable on content covered. The majority of pupils are very knowledgeable on verbs and grammatical precision but it is recommended to put structures in place for the teaching of tenses in the middle and the senior classes. Modern textbooks are used in all classes. At the post-inspection meeting, discussions took place on how pupils could be more active in the learning. Overall, Irish is taught effectively and pupils achieve high standards in this subject.

 

English

Overall, the provision for English is of a high quality. A broad, well-balanced curriculum is taught and a strong emphasis is placed on the centrality of oral language. Pupils are being successfully developed in their receptiveness to oral language through the use of a variety of stimulating teaching methodologies. These include poetry, discussion, role-play, and story and circle time. Pupils’ competence and confidence in oral language is being developed effectively, as pupils are involved in discussions, debates and games on a regular basis. The quality of the teaching of oral language in the school is very good.

 

Classrooms provide a print-rich environment. Curriculum-related materials and samples of pupils’ work are attractively displayed. The teachers provide opportunities for pupils to encounter a range of literary forms and are developing reading strategies effectively. From third class upwards, reading is based on the use of textbooks and suitable novels and a wide range of varied reading material is provided for both independent and silent reading. Pupils read widely and fluently in keeping with their age, interest and ability. Reading for pleasure and information is actively encouraged. Pupils enjoy storytelling, visit the class library and are making very good progress in reading generally. Big books are used effectively in the junior classes to develop pupils’ knowledge of print conventions. There is a valuable emphasis on the development of phonological awareness in the junior classes. Pupils participate in World Book day through planned activities. Teachers develop pupils’ emotional and imaginative response to literature. Poetry is well explored throughout the school as pupils are exposed to different genres of poems with an emphasis on recitation, discussion and composition. Grammar, spelling and phonics are very well taught throughout the school and pupils prove knowledgeable on content covered.

 

There is appropriate encouragement for writing in classrooms and pupils gain regular writing experience. Pupils write stories that explore a variety of genres.  Examples of pupils’ work include recipes, poetry, stories, reports, letters and essays. Pupils’ writing is valued and teachers encourage the use of ICT on occasions in the presentation of some of their creative writing.  The standard of work in creative writing in the school, and its presentation, is noteworthy. Due emphasis is given to functional writing in the form of comprehension questions, close tests, grammar exercises and dictionary work. Assessment procedures and the recording of outcomes vary from class to class. Teachers maintain checklists, results of teacher-designed tests and other class test outcomes. 

 

4.2 Mathematics

Teachers have formulated a Mathematics policy in keeping with SDPS guidelines and are embracing some of the new teaching approaches with considerable success. Topics are discussed adequately and appropriate use of materials provides opportunities for the development of mathematical concepts. All strands and strand units are carefully planned and taught. Differentiated learning opportunities are planned in some classes for pupils with special educational needs. However, the practice of the special education teacher working in classrooms would benefit learning for such pupils, taking into account the reduction in the number of class teachers in the next academic year. There is a mathematics-rich environment in the school, with relevant teacher charts and illustrations of mathematical language used to enhance learning. Resources, games, computer software, target boards and other visual stimuli are used to enrich the learning environment. Talk and discussion are used effectively. Pupils are given regular opportunities to develop their problem-solving skills. Enjoyable learning experiences, such as guided discovery and activity methods in weight, were observed during the evaluation. Pupils’ work is monitored carefully. The quality of copybooks is very good. All teachers maintain test results, worksheets and work samples.  Pupil attainment overall in Mathematics is very good.

 

4.3 Social, environmental and scientific education (SESE)

Geography

The planning for this subject is in line with the strands and strand units of the 1999 curriculum. There is great breadth and balance in the strands covered. The emphasis on the local environment is commendable. Judicious use is made of the local area in the teaching of the subject and pupils are afforded beneficial opportunities to interact with their immediate environment through, for example, visiting the church in Redhills, reading maps of the village and interpreting road signs in the area. Noteworthy project work involving collaborative research and writing is used to good effect, for example, in the study of Tanzania, place names of Redhills, the solar system and other themes.  It is recommended that further project work and collaborative learning form a core part of the learning experience in place of a more teacher-directed approach. Teachers use jigsaws, maps, globes, posters, digital camera and other visual stimuli to enhance teaching and learning. Pupils acquire a range of knowledge that includes information on the natural environment, human environment and environmental awareness and care. They display an interest and an enthusiasm for the subject, are acquiring appropriate skills and have a good understanding of the content covered.

 

History

Textbooks provide the core material for the programme but it is recommended that teachers plan for a variety of methodologies and resources. The use of artefacts, drama, legends and photos and projects to enhance the teaching and learning is noteworthy. The pupils have acquired knowledge on change and continuity through the study of photos from past and present of their locality, a talk from a local resident and through comparisons of toys and games from long ago and now. School tour destinations are chosen on occasions to benefit learning in this subject area. A cross-curricular approach is adopted in some instances with themes chosen integrated with aspects of other curricular areas. Pupils display a sound knowledge and understanding of various aspects of the history curriculum. Pupils are assessed through teacher designed tests and quizzes and teacher observation. It is recommended that the concept of co-operative learning be fostered to enable the pupils develop their historical skills and research skills.

 

Science

Opportunities are provided in some classes to engage pupils in simple, investigative work on energy and forces and other areas of the Science programme and this practice needs to be developed further. Teachers are successfully implementing strands such as living things, energy and forces, materials and environmental awareness and care. Pupils are assigned as litter wardens on rotation and this responsibility towards the environment is a good learning experience for the pupils. The study of the local environment was observed to foster positive attitudes and help develop scientific skills. Resources to support the teaching of Science are available in the school but it is advised that teachers plan deliberately for the targeted use of a variety of resources and methodologies. Pupils prove knowledgeable about topics taught in aspects of human life, animal life and plant life. Classrooms present attractive nature tables and stimulating displays such as the animals in Serengeti National park, magnets and birds in the garden. Pupils proved very knowledgeable on bird life and topics, which were studied during the year. 

 

4.4 Arts education

Visual arts

Teachers and pupils are enthusiastic about the visual arts and pupils are given ample opportunities to experience a wide range of techniques using a variety of art media. The various strands are remarkably represented in the samples of work on display such as the collage for St. Patrick’s Day, clay work, construction of storage containers and drawings from imagination.  Integration of this subject with other curricular areas is a notable feature of this work as noted in the construction of St. Brigid’s crosses, the making of Christmas decorations from clay and the making of percussion instruments. There is evidence that valuable work is done in the area of looking and responding as pupils have looked at the work of various artists such as Picasso. Pupils’ work is displayed impressively in classrooms and in corridors.

 

Music

Good attention is paid to the teaching of singing and pupils take part in singing annually at the lighting of the Christmas tree in the village. Song singing is tuneful and expressive. Due attention is given to the use of percussion instruments and to listening and responding to music. Teaching and learning occurs in a pleasant and supportive environment. Pupils are given varied opportunities such as making percussion instruments, learning to play an instrument in school and listening to music during the delivery of visual arts. Music is successfully integrated with other curriculum areas. The pupils’ musical performance of the tin whistle was particularly praiseworthy and pupils enjoyed participating in all of the activities. The staff has received in-service in this subject area and needs to address the development of musical concepts, rhythm and intervals through their school policy. A music policy would also benefit from the inclusion of lists of suitable songs and musical excerpts for the various classes.

 

Drama

Some elements of drama are explored effectively through integration with other subject areas as noted in History and English during the evaluation.  Pupils derived enjoyment and benefit from these learning experiences. Drama is used to explore feelings and ideas in the teaching of SPHE. Long-term and short-term plans of work indicate little emphasis in the area of drama, however. It is recommended that the staff formulate a policy and a suitable programme of work in this subject area when Primary Curriculum Support Service training is delivered in due course.

 

4.5 Physical education

Most attention is paid to the strands of games and dance. The board has considered the organisation of swimming lessons for pupils. The GAA coach offers an organised skills programme under the supervision of the class teacher. A visiting teacher provides tuition in dance during school time and some pupils also attend additional lessons outside of school hours.  A review of the delivery of this curriculum is necessary, especially in relation to the four strands not widely catered for at present, and a planning day has been organised by the staff to address this matter. One hour is allocated to the provision of the physical education programme in the week, so therefore staff and the board of management need to plan for the implementation of all strands. Physical education lessons observed were well structured with appropriate warm-up phases, a clear emphasis on skill development with partners or in groups. An enthusiasm for sport is evident among the pupils in all classes. The school participates very successfully in various inter-school activities, community games and Cumann na mBunscoil leagues in camogie and football.

 

4.6 Social, personal and health education (SPHE)

Teachers provide many opportunities to explore topics such as citizenships, safety, conflict resolution and decision-making with pupils sensitively through talk and discussion. There is a strong emphasis on obedience, responsibility, industriousness and perseverance as outlined in the SPHE policy. Senior pupils are encouraged towards self-discipline and self-motivation. Examples of such practice include pupils organising a jumble sale and engaging in litter control. The staff and board are committed to promoting democratic processes and enhancing self-esteem through their newly formed policy, which is praiseworthy. Teaching approaches such as games, role-play, debates, interviews, written activities and circle work are used effectively to ensure the development of pupils’ social skills and self-esteem. Links with the local community include participation in the community games, carol singing at the lighting of the Christmas tree, dancing for a party for the elderly in the village, an annual visit by the local community Garda to senior classes, involvement in Scór competitions and taking part in various quiz competitions. Such activities are commendable.  The school community is active in fund-raising to support many social and charitable initiatives such as the annual Shoebox Appeal. There is a strong community identity and link in the school and pupils are proud of their locality and achievements. Teachers bolster this through their dedicated support of, and involvement in the various activities.

 

4.7 Assessment and achievement

Teachers maintain accurate records of tests and achievements in different subject areas. Teachers complete monthly records indicating specific content and strands covered in the previous month, along with evidence of learning. The pupils’ copies and workbooks are systematically monitored. Assessment also includes teacher observation, checklists, samples of pupils’ work, spelling tests and teacher-designed tests throughout the year. Staff discusses pupils’ progress and analyses the results appropriately.  Teachers use these data to plan for the needs of the pupils. Parents sign class tests and are kept informed of pupils’ progress. The quality of record keeping and reporting is very good. The Non-Reading Intelligence Test (NRIT) and the Middle Infant Screening Test (MIST) are both used appropriately at relevant times. Standardised tests are carried out in English.  The school has implemented testing annually in Mathematics up to and including 2003/2004. The school plans to recommence standardised testing in Mathematics when the testing instruments are revised in line with the present curriculum.

 

 

5. QUALITY OF SUPPORT FOR PUPILS

 

5.1 Provision for pupils with special educational needs

The provision for pupils with special educational needs and specific learning difficulties in this school is very good as effective use is made of the services of the special education teacher based there. While there is a whole-school policy on learning-support, this policy needs to state how the curriculum will be differentiated for pupils, a list of tests to be used to assess pupils and a list of all the resources and methodologies available in the support room. The available resources are accessed appropriately to meet the needs of all these pupils and are used very efficiently. Planning for these pupils is very good. Learning is enhanced further as daily records of progress are maintained for each attending pupil and plans are tailored to meet individual needs. This constitutes best practice. Good communication exists between the support teacher and the classroom teachers. Regular contact is facilitated with parents.

 

Pupils’ self-esteem is enhanced through effective motivation and through the experience of success in carefully structured multi-sensory activities organised by the special education teacher.  Many of the activities are teacher-designed and appropriate to the needs of the pupils and deserve commendation. Methodologies employed in the support room include a variety of games, use of a magnetic board, reading tasks and phonemic awareness activities to support learning. The use of the computer as a learning tool in the support room merits praise. It is recommended that the school acquire further resources to support the development of listening and pre-reading activities. Skilled special education teaching is provided in English and Mathematics. The practice of the special education teacher working in the classroom is recommended. Tests used in the support room include Jackson phonics test and Quest. The results of assessment of academic progress are used effectively and sensitively in planning suitable learning programmes for these pupils.

 

 

5.2 Other supports for pupils

The school participates in the Giving Children an Even Break programme. Teachers are sensitive to any isolated instance of disadvantage and endeavour to be as supportive as possible of specific family situations. At present, there are no international pupils on roll.

 

 

6. SUMMARY OF FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER DEVELOPMENT

 

The following are the main strengths and areas for development 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 the board of management when the draft findings and recommendations of the evaluation were presented and discussed.