An Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta

Department of Education and Science

 

Whole School Evaluation

REPORT

 

Glencorrib National School

Glencorrib, Co. Mayo

Roll number:  17874J

 

Date of inspection: 23 November 2007

  Date of issue of report: 22 May 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

Conclusion

 

 

 

Whole-school evaluation

A whole-school evaluation of Glencorrib National School was undertaken in November 2007. This report presents the findings of the evaluation and makes recommendations for improvement. The evaluation focused on the quality of teaching and learning in English, Irish, Mathematics and Physical Education (PE).  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

Glencorrib School is a two-teacher co-educational primary school situated in the parish of Shrule, Co Mayo. All of the pupils come from the Glencorrib area. It is expected that enrolment figures will increase very slightly over the next few years, due to increased house building in the area.

 

The school building dates from 1952. An extension was completed in 2004. This added a general purposes room and office to the existing two mainstream classrooms. There is also a small kitchen and there are pupils and staff toilets. The building and school grounds are well maintained.

 

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

28

Mainstream classes in the school

8

Teachers on the school staff

2

Mainstream class teachers

2

Teachers working in support roles

2

Special needs assistants

0

 

1.     Quality of school management

 

1.1 Characteristic spirit, mission or vision

The Catholic Bishop of Galway is the patron of the school. The school’s mission statement is set out in the school plan. The school is characterised by positive working relationships among the board of management, teachers, parents and pupils. There is a welcoming atmosphere in the school and an appropriate learning environment is provided.

 

1.2 Board of management[h1] 

The board of management meets at least once a term. Minutes are kept of the proceedings of board meetings. The board discusses and ratifies all school policies. The board’s current priorities include planning to further extend the school. This would provide improved facilities.

 

1.3 In-school management

The principal’s management and curricular duties are carried out diligently and competently. The school staff operates well as a team. Roll books, registers and all school records are carefully maintained. Informal staff meetings are held very regularly. It is recommended that formal staff meetings be held in the future to further improve organisational and curricular planning. Such meetings should assist in monitoring the implementation of the school plan.


 

1.4 Management of relationships and communication with the school community

While there is no parents’ association in the school, positive relations exist between parents and teachers. There is a good level of parental involvement in the school. A meeting for all parents is held once a year to discuss issues of concern. The parents are satisfied with the education provided in the school. Many parents are particularly happy with the recent introduction of French lessons for fifth and sixth classes. These lessons are provided as part of the Modern Languages Project for Primary Schools.

 

Parents are given an oral report on the progress of their children at the formal parent-teacher meetings that are organised annually. Parents are also sent a written report on their children at the end every school year. The school deals with parents’ concerns in an open way. Parents are welcome to discuss pupils’ progress or other issues with the principal or class teacher at any time. The parents receive regular newsletters from the principal. A report on the main events of the year is provided in the final newsletter each year.

 

1.5 Management of pupils

The pupils in Glencorrib School are well behaved. They get on well with each other and are welcoming to visitors to the school. The teachers have a positive relationship with their pupils. Past pupils often visit the school to discuss their progress with their former teachers. Almost all of the pupils participate eagerly in lessons and other school activities.

 

2.     Quality of school planning

 

2.1 Whole-school and classroom planning

The quality of whole-school planning is good. The teachers value the support received from cuiditheoirí and facilitators from national in-service training initiatives. The school plan is available for parents to consult. The board of management ratifies administrative and curricular policies prior to their inclusion in the school plan. Plans are available for all of the curricular areas in the primary school curriculum. Appropriate organisational policies have been developed on a wide range of school matters. Among these are a health and safety statement, an enrolment policy and a code of behaviour and anti-bullying policy. An equality statement is also available.

 

The quality of classroom planning is satisfactory. Teachers’ written schemes provide a good overview of the work planned. Long-term and short-term plans are prepared and monthly progress records (cuntais míosúla) are kept. The teachers keep to an appropriate timetable, based on the suggested minimum time framework set out in the primary school curriculum.

 

Individual education plans (IEPs) have been developed for pupils attending learning support or in receipt of resource hours. The IEPs are intermittently reviewed, but it is recommended that the process of review should be further formalised. This should be a crucial part of the overall review of the supplementary teaching system in the school. Records are kept in the office and in the learning support teacher’s files.

 

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 and staff have formally adopted the Child Protection Guidelines for Primary Schools (Department of Education and Science, September 2001). Confirmation was also provided to confirm that the board of management has adopted and implemented the policies. 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[h2] 

 

Gaeilge

Cothaítear dearcadh dearfach i leith na Gaeilge i Scoil Ghleann Coirib. Leagann na hoidí béim ar an dteanga labhartha ó naíonáin go rang a sé. D’fhéadfaí, áfach, i bhfad níos mó béime a leagan ar an gcuid seo den obair as seo amach. B’fhiú dul siar ar na bunabairtí go rialta. Moltar freisin smaoineamh ar bhealaí chun scileanna labhartha na ndaltaí a fhorbairt agus saibhreas an teanga a mhéadú agus iad ag dul tríd an scoil. Úsáideann múinteoirí agus daltaí Gaeilge mar mheán cumarsáide go minic i rith an lae, ach b’fhiú an cleachtas seo a leathnú a thuilleadh.

 

Aithrisíonn agus canann na daltaí uile rainn, dánta agus amhráin as Gaeilge. Forbraítear an léitheoireacht go héifeachtach ó rang a dó ar aghaidh. Léann an chuid is mó de na daltaí os ard go líofa agus freagraíonn siad ceisteanna bunaithe ar an méid atá léite go cumasach. Tá cló i nGaeilge le feiceáil i dtimpeallacht na scoile, ach moltar an obair seo a mhéadú. Tá caighdeán inmholta scríbhneoireachta agus néatachta le sonrú i gcóipleabhair agus i leabhair saothair na ndaltaí.

 

Irish

A positive attitude towards Irish is fostered in Glencorrib School. The teachers emphasise oral language from infants to sixth class. Much more emphasis, however, should be placed on this aspect of the work from now on. Basic phrases should be constantly revised. Consideration should also be given to how pupils’ oral skills can be developed and the richness of the language [they use] can be improved as they progress through the school. Teachers and pupils often use Irish as a means of communication throughout the day, but this practice should be further expanded.

 

All pupils recite and sing rhymes, poems and songs in Irish. Reading is developed effectively from second class onwards. Most pupils read aloud fluently and they answer questions on what they have read competently. A print-rich environment in Irish can be seen in the school, but this work should be expanded. An appropriate standard, in writing and neatness, is seen in pupils’ copybooks and workbooks.

 

English

Most pupils achieve a high standard in English. Oral language is appropriately emphasised. Most of the pupils can speak about themselves, their interests and a variety of other topics reasonably articulately.

 

Appropriate emphasis is placed on the development of phonological awareness, as part of the foundation of basic reading skills, in the junior classes. Much emphasis is placed on developing reading skills and on developing a love of reading in every class. While there is a print-rich environment in certain parts of the school, this work needs to be expanded much more. Class libraries are reasonably well stocked and well presented. It is recommended that in future class libraries should be even more attractively laid out. The libraries should provide a constant supply of up-to-date and stimulating books for readers at all levels of age and ability. This will require a substantial and ongoing investment in the purchase of books and other reading materials.

 

The standard of English writing throughout the school is good. Copybooks and workbooks contain commendable work in functional and creative writing.

 

 

3.2 Mathematics

The teaching of Mathematics is undertaken competently in every class. A sound foundation in Mathematics is laid in the junior classes. This has contributed to most pupils achieving good standards in Mathematics. The pupils have a good knowledge of mathematical terms. Almost all of the pupils have a very impressive knowledge of number facts (tables). Appropriate emphasis is placed on solving mathematical problems.

 

There is a range of mathematical equipment available in the school. This equipment should be used more regularly as part of teaching and learning in every class. A more stimulating maths-rich environment should be developed. Mathematics corners and mathematical posters and charts should be displayed to further enhance the status of Mathematics in the school. The pupils record their work neatly. This work is regularly checked and corrected by the teachers.

 

3.3 Physical Education (PE)

Physical Education (PE) is taught very well in Glencorrib School. All of the strands of the curriculum are covered in the school plan for PE. Particularly noteworthy emphasis is placed on athletics and cross-country running. Many of the pupils have been successful in local and regional sporting competitions and races. PE lessons follow the correct sequence of warm up, skills’ development, games practice and cool down exercises. The school has very good outdoor facilities for the teaching of PE. The schoolyard is attractively and appropriately laid out for various PE games and activities. There is a general purposes room in the school and this is sometimes used for teaching Dance. This room is too small, however, for the overall PE needs of the school in the long term.

 

The school is involved in several sporting competitions and leagues, for example Cumann na mBunscol. Swimming lessons have been provided for pupils in Glencorrib for twenty years. Lessons take place in Leisureland in Galway in the second term for pupils from first class onwards. External coaches sometimes assist in providing lessons for sporting activities such as these. The coaches are funded by the organisations that provide the service.

 

3.4 Assessment

Drumcondra standardised tests are given to pupils in English and Mathematics once a year. The results of these tests are filed centrally. They are used to compare pupils in the school with national averages and to identify pupils who need learning support or other supplementary teaching. The other main assessment tools used in the school are teacher observation and teacher-designed tasks and tests.

 

The Middle Infant Screening Test (MIST) is given annually to pupils in senior infants. This helps to ensure that early intervention can address pupils’ needs as soon as possible. It is recommended that diagnostic tests be used much more frequently in future to identify the specific needs of pupils with learning difficulties. Such testing would also help in the development and improvement of individual education plans (IEPs).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.     Quality of support for pupils

 

4.1 Pupils with special educational needs

The school has a learning support and special educational needs policy. This policy sets out the school’s procedures for screening, planning and implementation. The policy should now be reviewed on a whole-school basis to provide a more efficient and effective service.

 

The general purposes room is used as the learning support classroom. It is reasonably attractively decorated. It needs to be further developed, however, to provide an even more stimulating learning environment. Learning support is provided to all pupils who need it in English. The service should be extended to provide assistance in Mathematics, where necessary, also. Whole class groups are occasionally withdrawn to the learning support room for tuition. This enables the teachers to focus more on the specific needs of each class group. This practice should be reviewed to expand and further formalise it.

 

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

All pupils in the school are treated equally and fairly. The school has an open enrolment policy. School funds are generously used to ensure that every pupil can participate fully in school activities. The home/school/community liaison teacher visits parents in their homes on a regular basis. School planning in the future should consider how this service can be used even more effectively.

 

5.     Conclusion

The school has strengths in the following areas:

 

 

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

 

 

Post-evaluation meetings were held with the staff and the board of management where the draft findings and recommendations of the evaluation were presented and discussed.

 

 

 

Appendix

 

School Response to the Report

 

Submitted by the Board of Management

 

 

 

 

 

 

Area 1:  Observations on the content of the inspection report

 

 

.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 [h1]Insert blank line after each of the sub headings. I have only done this for this heading – you need to repeat throughout the document.

 [h2]Note changes to language section.