An Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta

Department of Education and Science

 

Whole School Evaluation

 REPORT

 

Scoil Chnoc an Éin

Ennis County Clare

Uimhir rolla:17583V

 

Date of inspection:  11 April 2008

 

 

 

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 Scoil Chnoc an Éin. 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 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 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

Scoil Chnoc an Éin is situated in the parish of Doora-Barefield approximately three miles south-east of the town of Ennis. It is a ten-teacher mixed national school under the patronage of the Catholic bishop of the diocese of Killaloe. In its mission statement the school endeavours to foster a love of learning, an acceptance of other children, a sense of self-identity, a pride of place and a respect for the environment. There is a very long history of education in this area with the first primary school established in 1824. A school was established on the present site in 1948. This school was extended in 1987, 1990 and 1997. The numbers attending this school stood at thirty in the mid 1960s. By the year 2000 numbers had increased to 149. The number attending now stands at 273. This school’s proximity to the town of Ennis and to proposed further housing developments should ensure that the number of pupils enrolled will continue to grow into the immediate future. The school has a staff of one administrative principal, eleven class teachers including two teachers who are job sharing, one full-time resource teacher, one full-time learning-support teacher, one part-time resource teacher and one part-time teacher for language support for newcomer pupils. Attendance by pupils at this school is very good.

 

2.     Quality of school management

 

2.1 Board of management

The board of management undertakes its work with a strong commitment to the development of all aspects of school life. The board is properly constituted and officers of the board have been appointed. Training for board officers is being provided by the patron. The board meets frequently and minutes of all meetings are carefully maintained. The present board has met on four occasions since its appointment in November 2007. Reports are presented by the principal and by the treasurer at these meetings. Accounts of the board are certified each year. The board draws on the expertise of its members to assist it in the implementation of its duties.

 

Members of the board of management have recently reviewed a number of school policies and have made recommendations accordingly. Policies are then presented to the full board for ratification. Parental input to policy formation is through their representatives on the board of management. These representatives are also active members of the parents’ association.  All plans presented comply with current legal requirements.

 

The main priority for the current board is the development of the school’s building project. The board is in the process of negotiating with the Department for the construction of a new school to replace the present prefabricated buildings and the development of extra accommodation and ancillary rooms.

 

2.2 In-school management

The in-school management team consists of an administrative principal, deputy principal and four special-duties posts. Duties are defined for these post-holders and contracts are in place. The in-school management team is commended for the care and attention given to all pupils and for the pleasant community atmosphere fostered throughout the school. The principal teacher was appointed in 1993 and he carries out his duties with diligence, courtesy and in accordance with the Rules for National Schools and relevant Department of Education and Science circulars. The principal provides the school with caring leadership and he exhibits excellent rapport with his staff, pupils, board of management and the parent body. He fosters a positive working environment and generally utilises individual talents and abilities to ensure that there is very good development of all curricular and administrative areas.

 

The duties of the other post-holders include curricular, organisational and pastoral responsibilities. All post-holders carry out their duties successfully and diligently. They contribute very positively to the development of a team spirit within the school. Duties ascribed to each post are reviewed intermittently. It is recommended that these duties should be reviewed on a more regular basis taking into account the changing needs of the school. It is recommended that post-holders report regularly on their work at staff meetings and provide an annual report to the board of management outlining the range and success of their undertakings.

 

2.3 Management of resources

Teachers are deployed in accordance with Department requirements. Teachers’ skills and abilities are utilised effectively to meet pupils’ needs. Individual staff members can request the opportunity to experience a variety of classes and contexts. The three special needs assistants are deployed effectively. Under the guidance of the teachers, they make a valuable contribution to the inclusion and care of pupils in classrooms.

 

This school has developed very quickly over the last eight years and has outgrown the permanent accommodation on site. The board is in negotiations with the Department for the construction of a new school. At present the school has six permanent classrooms, four temporary classrooms, and temporary accommodation for learning-support and resource teaching. The school lacks a general-purposes room and this is having some impact on the delivery of a full curriculum. The buildings and grounds are maintained very well and a warm, welcoming atmosphere is in evidence throughout the school.

 

 The school is fortunate in having very good recreational areas. The board has developed play areas to the front of the school, a school garden, basketball court and a playing pitch. The board is commended for developing these amenities.

 

The board provides a wide range of resources including information and communication technologies (ICT) to assist in teaching and learning. The resources are well-organised, accessible and used effectively. Teacher-devised materials, charts and work cards are provided in classrooms. These are used creatively to support the teaching and learning process.  The displays of pupils’ work in the classrooms and in the corridors are of a very high standard and assist in providing a stimulating learning environment.

 

2.4 Management of relationships and communication with the school community

This school has successfully developed a very close relationship between home and school. There are very good communication systems established among the board, teachers and parents. The board of management facilitates the active involvement of parents in the work of the school. The school has a vibrant parents’ association. Both school and parents report a strong willingness to engage purposefully in tasks, which are practical and focused on improving learning outcomes for the pupils. Meetings of the parents’ association are very regular and there is very good use of the school’s website and of school notice boards to further assist in the home-school communication process. The school also supplies parents with monthly newsletters and regular updates on the school’s calendar of events.

 

The school facilitates contact between parents and teachers in a spirit of partnership and mutual respect. A parent-teacher meeting is held annually and the school supplies written reports to parents on request. The school intends issuing annual reports to parents from this year onwards and this development is welcomed.  There is some parental involvement in the development of school policies through parent representatives on the board of management.  Parents are welcome to view policies which are available in the school office. It is recommended that parental involvement in the development of policies is expanded and that relevant policies are supplied to new parents following the enrolment of pupils in the school. For the future, the school and parent body should consider methods of increasing the level of awareness of all parents around curricular content, methodologies and development. 

 

2.5 Management of pupils

Management of pupils in this school is of a very high standard and pupil behaviour is very good. The pastoral, social and emotional needs of pupils are managed effectively and the holistic development of pupils is nurtured. Pupils co-operate very well with the school’s code of behaviour and initiatives to prevent bullying. The pupils demonstrate high levels of confidence and self-esteem. Pupils participate enthusiastically in the range of extra curricular activities arranged especially in the areas of music, drama and sport.  Pupils participate well in decision-making particularly in regard to the school’s Green Flag initiative.

 

3.     Quality of school planning

 

3.1 School planning process and implementation

The school plan is a very comprehensive document dealing with administrative and curricular areas.  It was formulated in consultation with school management and staff.  Final drafts of the plans are presented to the board for ratification.  Most of the policies presented have review dates and are signed. It is recommended that all policies are signed and include review dates.

 

A very wide range of administrative policies has been prepared covering very many aspects of school life. These policies include the school’s ethos and mission statement and policies on enrolment, health and safety, school attendance, code of discipline, anti-bullying as well as assessment and reporting policies. Policies in the school ensure that all pupils are welcome and that a climate of warmth and support is promoted with sensitivity to individual needs. The school is commended for the breadth of these policies.

 

Curriculum policies have been developed for all curricular areas. Many of these policies are well laid out, detailed and include a reference to aims, objectives, content for each class, approaches and methodologies, resources needed, assessment strategies, skills to be developed and differentiation strategies. It is recommended that all policies are developed along these lines to ensure consistency in the development and implementation of a whole-school approach to planning.  

 

It is noted that the school does not have an action plan outlining the whole-school planning priorities.  It is recommended that the school now develops an action plan in order to identify areas for the improvement of pupils’ learning experiences, the resources needed to achieve these goals and the criteria for evaluating success. It is also recommended that parental input to policy formulation is developed further. The school is in the fortunate position of having an enthusiastic and pro-active parents’ association and its involvement in the development of school policies should be further developed.

 

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

All of the teachers prepare individual long-term and short-term plans for their classes, most of which are very comprehensive. Monthly progress records are also maintained. This planning is based on the principles of the curriculum and appropriately guides the teachers’ work in the classroom. The format of this planning varies from class to class to suit each individual teacher’s needs. Most short-term planning includes references to the strands and strand units being taught, the main instructional objectives, brief descriptions of the methodologies to be used and a brief outline of content. The resources required are identified as well as the assessment procedures intended for use during teaching and learning. This good practice is commended.

 

4.     Quality of learning and teaching

 

4.1 Overview of learning and teaching

The quality of teaching and learning in this school is very good. All of the teachers display enthusiasm for their work and this has a very positive impact on the pupils. A variety of teaching approaches is employed that is well matched to the pupils’ learning needs.  Lessons are very well structured and teacher questioning is skilful. The range of resources used during teaching ably supports and assists in the learning process. There is some very good use of ICT during many of the lessons and the school is commended on the decision to provided further ICT facilities. The teachers prioritise the development of literacy and numeracy skills across all curricular areas. Integration of the curriculum is developed successfully and the teachers ensure that the curriculum is appropriately differentiated. Pupils are very interested in their lessons and they are challenged by the variety of activities organised for them. Pupils’ knowledge and understanding in the various subject areas is appropriate to their age and stage of development. The school is commended for the high quality of teaching and learning observed during this evaluation.

 

4.2 Language

 

Gaeilge

Múintear an Ghaeilge go coinsiasach sa scoil seo.   Tá plean scoile curtha ar fáil don Ghaeilge.  Tá clár cuí leagtha amach sa phlean ach tá easpa treorach sa phlean ar raon na modhanna múinte, ar chomhtháthú na scileanna teanga agus ar na feidhmeanna teanga chun freagairt do riachtanais teanga na bpáistí. Moltar anois athbhreithniú ar an bplean scoile ag cur san áireamh an chomhairle atá ar fáil i dTreoirlínte do Mhúinteoirí don Ghaeilge (1999). 

Baintear dea-úsáid as ábhair léirithe, fearas nithiúil agus modheolaíochtaí éifeachtacha chun ábhar na gceachtanna a chur os comhair na ndaltaí. Úsáidtear modhanna taitneamhacha múinte i gcuid de na ranganna, i bhfoirm drámaíochta, agallaimh, ról-ghlacadh, cluichí agus obair i bpéirí, a chinntíonn rannpháirtíocht ghníomhach na ndaltaí agus a dhéanann forbairt chuí ar a gcuid scileanna cumarsáide.

Déantar iarrachtaí fiúntacha cumarsáid na ndaltaí a chothú i ranganna áirithe.  Déantar iarracht an Ghaeilge a chomhtháthú le gnéithe eile den churaclam. Ba chóir anois, i ranganna áirithe, úsáid níos forleithne a bhaint as na hócáidí cainte chun seans a thabhairt do na daltaí fíorchumarsáid a chleachtadh agus a dtuiscint ar mhúnlaí na cainte a dhaingniú. I gcoitinne, feictear go gcuirtear éagsúlacht rann agus filíochta i láthair na bpáistí agus go n-aithrisítear go tuisceanach iad. Ba chóir  réimse níos leithne de phíosaí filíochta a  chur os comhair na ndaltaí tríd an scoil.

Tá tús cuí curtha leis an léitheoireacht fhoirmiúil. Léann na daltaí go cóir sna meánranganna agus ag leibhéal na n-ardranganna agus léiríonn siad buntuiscint ar an ábhar. Freastalaítear go hoiriúnach ar phrionta sa timpeallacht a sholáthar i ngach rangsheomra. Is fiú machnamh a dhéanamh anois, áfach, ar éagsúlacht ábhar léitheoireachta a sholáthar agus a úsáid ag leibhéal na meánranganna agus na n-ardranganna, chun saibhreas foclóra agus léitheoireacht neamhspleách na ndaltaí a fhorbairt.

 

Tá an scríbhneoireacht bunaithe, don chuid is mó, ar an ábhar léitheoireachta. Cláraíonn na daltaí cleachtaí sa scríbhneoireacht fheidhmiúil ina gcóipleabhair, ach ba chóir béim níos treise a leagan ar fhorbairt na scríbhneoireachta cruthaithigh. Is fiú machnamh a dhéanamh freisin ar an nGaeilge scríofa a fhorbairt i dtimpeallacht phoiblí na scoile.

 

Irish

The teaching of Irish is carried out conscientiously in this school. A school plan is in place for Irish. An appropriate programme is set out in this plan; however there is a lack of direction in this plan on the teaching strategies to be used, the integration of the language skills and language functions required to respond to the pupils’ needs.  It is recommended that the school plan be reviewed taking into account the advice given in Treoirlínte do Mhúinteoirí  don Ghaeilge (1999).

 

There is good use made of illustrative and concrete materials and effective methodologies in the presentation of lessons to the pupils. Enjoyable teaching methodologies, including drama, dialogue, role play, games and pair work are used in some of the classes to ensure active participation of pupils and to contribute  towards the development of their communication skills.

 

Worthy efforts are made in some of the classes to develop the pupils’ communication skills. Efforts are made to integrate Irish with other curricular areas. It is now recommended that in certain classes there should be wider use made of the conversation settings to facilitate opportunities for pupils to engage in real conversation and to reinforce their understanding of phraseology. In general, the pupils are presented with a variety of poems and rhymes and these are recited with understanding. A wider range of poetry should be presented to the pupils throughout the school.

 

Formal reading skills are appropriately developed. The pupils read with understanding in the middle and senior grades. Suitable displays of print are provided in all of the classrooms. It is now worth considering expanding the range of print material made available and used in the middle and senior classes to enable the development of independent reading and the enrichment of vocabulary.

 

In general writing exercises are based on the reading materials. The pupils record formal writing exercises in their copies.  A greater emphasis should be placed on the development of creative writing. It is also worth considering the promotion of written material in Irish in the public areas of the school.

 

English

Teaching and learning standards in English are of a very good quality. All strands of the curriculum are promoted consistently and effectively in every classroom. Objectives selected are specific and are supported through a range of pupil-centred activities. This work is designed to encourage active participation by the pupils in their own learning. Concentration and achievement rates are high. The purposeful manipulation of ICT is observed in all classrooms. Pupils are competent in their own use of the technology and teachers use it also to promote spelling, sentence construction and creative writing. The teaching of English is also promoted through integration with other curricular areas. Pupils are consistently asked to discuss, share ideas, listen and write both functionally and creatively. This work is displayed very attractively throughout the school. Story-time is used skilfully, to encourage an interest in reading and to improve oral language. In all classes, the pupils are eager to read at an appropriate level and to discuss the plots and characters of the books read. The wide range of resources available in the school supports the work being carried out.

 

4.3 Mathematics

The quality of teaching and learning in Mathematics is very good. The whole-school plan for Mathematics is very well laid out. This plan is broad, well balanced and based on the principles and structures of the mathematics curriculum. In this plan, approaches and methodologies to be used during teaching are stated and a very clear syllabus of work for each class is outlined.  Classroom planning is based on the objectives, strands and strand units of the curriculum and the school plan. Classroom planning details the learning activities being considered and outlines the regular use of concrete materials, other resources, practical experiences and ICT.

 

In all classes mathematics lessons are well structured and paced and the learning outcomes are clearly defined. A wide range of teaching methodologies is used successfully during lessons including whole-class teaching, group work, pair work and individual teaching. Pupils are encouraged to ask questions, explore concepts using concrete materials and integrate Mathematics with everyday happenings. The terminology and language associated with mathematical concepts is very well developed and pupils use this language appropriately. In some classes there is very good use of Irish during lessons and this practice is commended.

 

In all classes teachers emphasise the importance of mental mathematics and these lessons are used to consolidate mathematical facts and formulae. The pupils are encouraged to be active in their learning and these learning experiences provide opportunities for guided discovery. In all classes there are mathematics corners and a range of mathematics posters and charts which are relevant to the work in hand. 

 

Pupils have acquired a proficiency in basic number facts and fundamental mathematical skills. Pupils apply these skills in a variety of learning contexts. In the infant classes due attention is given to concept formation and language development through early mathematical activities. In the junior classes, concrete materials are deployed to extend these mathematical skills and knowledge. Pupils have developed good problem-solving strategies and also a good sense of place-value. In the middle and senior classes, these skills are further developed and pupils demonstrate a good knowledge of number facts and perform computations accurately. Pupils can communicate and express mathematical ideas, processes and results in oral form and they also record this work neatly.

 

4.4 Social, Environmental and Scientific Education

 

History

A broad history programme is undertaken in this school and many aspects of this curricular area   are well developed. A number of the skills of working as an historian is successfully promoted especially those of using evidence, empathy and understanding of sequence, time and chronology. There is good use of talk and discussion, photographs, ICT, story and a range of artefacts during lessons. Many of these lessons are suitably integrated with other aspects of the curriculum especially those of English and Visual Arts.  It is noted that the school plan for History does not give sufficient guidance in the areas of methodologies to be used, syllabuses to be followed, use of the local environment and the balance that needs to be achieved between strands and strand units. The school plan in History should be reviewed in order to include these areas. The section in History Teachers Guidelines (1999) should be used as a reference during discussion on these areas.    

 

Geography

The teaching of Geography in this school is carried out with a good level of preparation and a keen sense of display. Pupils have access to a wide range of geographical ideas and concepts and they present a co-operative approach to activity work. Good use is made of pictures and maps to assist the pupils in developing appropriate skills in the areas of analysing, observing and questioning. In fostering the skills of the geographer the pupils are encouraged to develop knowledge and understanding of local, regional and wider environments in order to enhance their understanding of place and spatial awareness. It was noted that field trips, talks, and visits from experts in the local community have been arranged in the past.

 

Science

A comprehensive school plan aptly guides the presentations in Science. In this plan clear objectives are set out, methodologies are described and due care is given to the development of safety in the use of equipment and during experiments. The syllabus for each class is clearly presented. All strands and strand units of the curriculum are developed appropriately enabling the pupils to complete a range of activities suitable to their age and stage of development.

 

In the lessons observed a very good emphasis is placed on the development of pupils’ scientific skills. All classes have nature investigation tables. In the middle and senior classes the programme is broadened to include a focus on the development of observation, prediction, exploration and investigative skills. Of particular note is the development of scientific equipment in some classes using a range of everyday materials. In all classes the exploration of basic scientific concepts forms the basis of the learning activities. Pupils are given opportunities to become actively involved in scientific experiments and in applying and using scientific knowledge and skills. Pupil participation is through discovery-based learning which aptly promotes teamwork and verbal interaction. The presentation of work done is of a very good standard and opportunities for integration are identified and successfully implemented. In addition Environmental Awareness and Care forms a central part of the work in this school. The school has recently achieved Green Flag status and a garden club organised by parents in conjunction with the school. Members of this club assist the school in tending to the school garden on a weekly basis.

 

4.5 Arts Education

 

Visual Arts

Very high standards of teaching and learning in the Visual Arts are evident in this school. The programme is allocated an important status as is evident in the stimulating and creative displays of children’s work in all classes and throughout the entire school. The work done indicates that children are exposed to a wide range of media, techniques and skills. Opportunities for integrating the Visual Arts with other curricular work are exploited to very good effect. The school is commended for this excellent practice. The development of group designs in project work presents opportunities for creative thinking and for the development of collaborative learning skills. Children are encouraged to discuss and critique their own work under the Looking and Responding strand.

 

Music

There is an excellent delivery of the music curriculum in this school. A very successful music plan is in evidence with all strands well developed. Teachers work conscientiously to maximise pupil enjoyment and participation in the work. Extra-curricular time is allocated to a school orchestra and pupils display considerable skill and they enjoy the opportunity to perform. Shows are regularly put on for parents and the community in general. Especially commendable is the degree of inclusion of pupils with special educational needs in the musical activities. It is clear that pupils are delighted to perform, compose and listen to the musical opportunities afforded them. There are some very good examples of integration with other subjects to be found in this work also. The talent and skill of the teaching staff in Music and Visual Arts is recognised and the impact of this on the learning experiences of the pupils is highly visible.

 

Drama

Teachers are aware of the unique contribution of Drama to the understanding of self and this is reflected through the regular promotion of dramatic activity in all classes. Generally employed as an enriching element of language development, the drama experiences provided succeed admirably in the fostering of creativity and in enabling pupils to participate with enthusiasm. The efforts of the teachers in encouraging various drama strategies are enhanced by the willingness of the teachers to engage in role-play.

 

4.6 Physical Education

Planning and preparation for physical education lessons are based on the curriculum structure and content objectives. There is an appropriate emphasis placed on the implementation of a broad and balanced programme of learning. There is a great commitment on the part of the staff to provide as wide a range of experiences as possible. A range of resources is in place to support the physical education programme. The school has developed a playing pitch and this amenity adds considerably to the promotion of physical education activities. The lack of a general-purposes hall limits the capacity of the school to some extent. Physical education lessons observed were very well structured and highly participative. A positive emphasis is placed on the acquisition of skills. Pupils perform tasks to the level of their individual ability and the organisation of lessons allows for partner and group work. The pupils have opportunities to engage in games, dance, outdoor and adventure activities, and athletics. During some lessons there was very good use made of Irish in delivering instructions to the pupils. All activities are organised and monitored efficiently.

 

The school has a great tradition of participating in local competitions. Pupils in this school participate in Gaelic games, basketball, swimming, rounders, tag rugby, soccer and cross-country running. Parents are very supportive of these activities and provide transport whenever required. After-school sporting activities are supported by teachers and parents on a regular basis. This commitment to the children is praiseworthy.

 

4.7 Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE)

All teachers implement the SPHE curriculum with a strong sense of commitment to the development of high levels of self-esteem. The creation of a positive atmosphere in all classrooms facilitates good achievement levels. Teachers are encouraging and affirming of their pupils and they work hard to ensure the maximum participation of pupils. The quality of teaching in SPHE is good in all classrooms observed. Pupils are stimulated and actively engaged by well-constructed lessons. Whole-class teaching and talk and discussion are the key methodologies used during lessons. During activities and lessons pupils are encouraged to ask questions, give opinions, explore ideas and make responses. Most teachers seat pupils in groups to facilitate group work and interaction with peers. The pupils work collaboratively and involve their peers in sharing responsibilities, roles and tasks. It is timely now to establish a students’ council which would provide further opportunities for pupils to engage in decision making processes in the school.

 

4.8 Assessment

A range of assessment strategies is used successfully in this school. Teacher observation, teacher-devised tests and monitoring of pupils’ written work are some of the assessment modes used regularly throughout the school. These are complemented by the administration of formal and standardised tests such as Micra-T and Sigma-T standardised tests. These tests are administered from first class upwards. Teachers monitor the progress of individual pupils and, where necessary, a range of diagnostic tests is carried out. Phonics tests are also administered to pupils. Parents are consulted and advised of results at the annual parent-teacher meetings. The data on pupil attainment and performance is documented. As a further development of assessment procedures, the school might usefully direct attention to the plotting of trends to create a whole-school perspective on pupil achievement in literacy and numeracy. The analysis of the data available would assist in devising future programmes of learning.

 

5.     Quality of support for pupils

 

5.1 Pupils with special educational needs

At present, there are two full-time posts allocated to the school for learning support (LS) and resource (RT) teaching. It is evident that the school takes great care to ensure that the needs of the pupils receiving additional support are identified early. Individual education plans (IEP) are constructed collegially and flexible methodologies are used regularly. The rooms used for this work are well-equipped and the pupils are comfortable in these settings. Regular communication with parents is reported and the individual education plans take the contribution of the home into account. This progressive approach to the delivery of special education programmes of work is commended.

 

During the visits to some of the mainstream classes, some unfocused participation rates by the pupils with special needs in the work of the class were observed. This is an important issue for the school to address. In line with Circular 24/03, the programmes of work being delivered in the mainstream classes can be harnessed more effectively to improve participation and achievement levels. The IEP for each pupil should be adjusted to focus on a shorter period of time with more specific goals identified. These targets should be more closely linked to the learning targets set by the mainstream class teacher. Regular liaison between the class teachers and the special education team is in place. Awareness of the need to support the pupils with special educational needs in their primary learning environment is high, but it is now appropriate for teacher liaison to focus on how this support can be best implemented.

 

A new model of management has been initiated where all assistants rotate some of their allocated time with different children. The work done by the assistants is diligently and sensitively carried out. This practice is commended.

 

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

The school provides six hours of language support for newcomer Irish pupils per week. A range of resources is used during lessons which are focused and well directed. These pupils are making very good progress under this initiative.

 

6.     Summary of findings and recommendations for further development

 

The following are the main strengths identified in the evaluation:

·         Management of pupils in this school is of a very high standard and pupil behaviour is very good. The pastoral, social and emotional needs of pupils are managed effectively and the holistic development of the pupils is nurtured.

·         The principal, deputy principal, post-holders and staff are commended for the care and attention given to all pupils and for the pleasant community atmosphere that they foster throughout the school.

·         The quality of teaching and learning in this school is very good. All of the teachers display enthusiasm for their work.

·         This school has successfully developed a very close relationship between home and school. There are very good communication systems established between the board, teachers and parents. The school facilitates contact between parents and teachers in a spirit of partnership and mutual respect.

·         The quality of teaching and learning in English and Mathematics is very good.

·         Very high standards of teaching and learning in the Visual Arts and Music are achieved in this school. The talent and skill of the teaching staff in Music and Visual Arts is recognised and the impact of this on the learning experiences of the pupils is highly visible.

·         The progressive approach to the delivery of special education programmes of work is commended.

 

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

 

·         Duties of post-holders should be reviewed on a more regular basis taking into account the changing needs of the school. It is recommended that post-holders report regularly on their work at staff meetings and provide an annual report to the board of management outlining the range and success of their undertakings.

·         It is recommended that parental involvement in the development of school policies is expanded. For the future, the school and parent body should consider strategies in order to increase the level of awareness of all parents around curricular content, methodologies and development. 

·         It is recommended that the school now develops an action plan in order to identify areas for the improvement of pupils’ learning experiences, the resources needed to achieve these goals and the criteria for evaluating success

·         Moltar anois  athbhreithniú ar an bplean  sa Ghaeilge  ag cur san áireamh an chomhairle atá ar fáil i dTreoirlínte do Mhúinteoirí don Ghaeilge (1999). Ní foláir seans a thabhairt do na daltaí fíorchumarsáid a chleachtadh chun a dtuiscint ar mhúnlaí na cainte a dhaingniú.

It is recommended that the Irish plan be reviewed taking into account the advice given in Treoirlínte do Mhúinteoirí don Ghaeilge (1999). Opportunities should be provided for pupils to engage in real conversational settings in order to reinforce their understanding of Irish phrases.

 

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 September, 2008

 

 

 

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 and teaching staff warmly welcome the findings of the Inspectorate in the W.S.E. Issued on May 21st 2008 .We are delighted that the report highlights that

 

·         The management of the pupils is of a very high standard and that the behaviour of pupils is very good.

·         All staff are commended for the care and attention given to all pupils.

·         That the quality of teaching and learning in the school is very good.

·         That there is a very close relationship between home and school and that there is a spirit of partnership and mutual respect.

·         That the quality of teaching and learning in English and Mathematics is very good.

·         That the quality of teaching and learning in Visual Arts and Music is of a very high standard.

·         That there is a progressive approach to Special Education.

 

 

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

 

Following the recommendations in the report

 

·         All post holders will furnish the Board of Management with an action plan for the year at the start of the year and a review of this plan at the end of the year.  

            An input from post holders will be on the agenda at each staff meeting.

 

·         A development plan regarding review and update of current policies has already been set m motion and it is envisaged that the parents will be more involved in curricular areas through the medium of information evenings throughout the school year.

 

·         The school is presently devising a new form of report card based on the most recent guidelines from the NCCA. Parental input will be an inherent part of this.  Funds have already been raised for the purchase of additional resources.

 

·         Tá sé ar intinn againn féachaint arís ar ar bplean sa Ghaellge agus an méid atá ar siúl sa scoil  faoi láthair a neartú. .