An Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna

Department of Education and Skills

 

Whole School Evaluation

REPORT

 

Saint Munchinís Girls National School

Ballynanty, Limerick

Uimhir rolla: 17941V

 

Date of inspection: 16 October 2009

 

 

 

 

Whole-school evaluation

Introduction Ė school context and background

Quality of school management

Quality of school planning

Quality of learning and teaching

Quality of support for pupils

Conclusion

School response to the report

 

 


Whole-school evaluation

 

A whole-school evaluation of St. Munchinís National School was undertaken in October, 2009. 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, Mathematics and History. The board of management of the school 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 Ė school context and background

 

St Munchinís National School is a co-educational school situated in the Ballynanty area of Limerick city. It draws from the immediate catchment area of Ballynanty, Kileely, Moyross and Thomondgate. A small number of newcomer pupils are enrolled in the school at present.

 

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

192

Mainstream classes in the school

11

Teachers on the school staff

18

Mainstream class teachers

11

Teachers working in support roles

5

Special needs assistants

2

 

 

The school is under the patronage of the Catholic Bishop of Limerick and is part of the Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) Initiative. Under DEIS, the school places sustained emphasis on the involvement of parents, family members and the community in the pupilsí education. The school also works very effectively in collaboration with external agencies including The National Educational Psychological Service, People Against Unemployment in Limerick (PAUL Partnership) and Primary Professional Development Service (PPDS) and The National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) to enhance classroom management strategies, family involvement, attendance, educational progression, retention and attainment in the school.

 

 

1.     Quality of school management

 

1.1 Characteristic spirit, mission or vision

The schoolís vision is clearly articulated in its mission statement. This vision is communicated effectively to the school community. There is a strong sense of common purpose among the school community. The vision for the school focuses on improving pupilsí learning experiences and outcomes, and its aims underpin and support the quality of the learning experiences provided for children in this school.

 

1.2 Board of management

The roles and responsibilities of the board of management are clearly defined and board members undertake these responsibilities conscientiously. The board of management complies with statutory requirements, departmental guidelines and circulars. The board of management uses available finances in an effective manner in order to meet the needs of the school and the pupils. The boardís financial decisions lead to improvements in learning and teaching and in the school environment. The school has been provided with a wide range of high quality resources particularly in the area of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The boardís decision-making procedures are open, clear, and effective, and always in the best interests of the school community. These decisions reflect the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion.

 

An annual review of the schoolís work is compiled by the principal for the board and it is recommended that the work of the board be shared with the members of the school community through the publication of an annual report. The board is very committed to supporting the work of the school and while the board is aware of its responsibilities, it might be timely that the board devise a strategy that would provide a greater insight into their role and responsibilities. The implementation of such a strategy would support the board in carrying out its functions.

 

A wide range of whole-school plans and policies have been drafted and ratified by the board and a schedule for review has been set out for organisational and curricular policies between 2009 and 2011. The board of management is committed to the whole-school planning process and collaborates with the teaching staff through the principal and the staff representative on the board of management. The board should develop strategies which would involve members of the school community including parents, pupils and other stakeholders in policy development and school improvement where appropriate. The boardís policies, plans and decisions are disseminated effectively to the school community through the schoolís website.

 

In general, most board members would not have an overall awareness of pupilsí performance across curricular areas. It is recommended that the board would be updated on a regular basis in relation to progress made on DEIS targets such as attendance, literacy and numeracy. As a matter of priority the board of management in collaboration with the other education partners in the school community should put in place a Relationships and Sexuality Education policy. This process will provide an opportunity to involve parents in policy development.

 

1.3 In-school management

The principalís work in leading and managing the school is highly effective. The principal inspires and motivates colleagues and has established a high level of personal credibility. The principal exemplifies very good professional standards and sets high expectations for the staff and the pupils in all their daily routines. A clear vision for the school is exemplified by her focus on the raising of standards, putting in place appropriate supports for pupils, the distribution of leadership roles among the staff, the development of very good communication systems and the cultivation of good relations among all members of the school community. In the future the leadership skills of the principal will be called upon to enable the sharing of good practice throughout the school, to continue to set targets for the raising of standards in literacy and numeracy and to ensure that a sustained effort is maintained to achieve attainable targets in these areas.

 

The principal leads and manages the whole-school planning process. Lines of communication and accountability for staff are clear. Priorities for development have been identified and formal action planning is used as a tool for managing change.

 

The in-school management team has a clear and purposeful range of duties, organisational, pastoral and curricular, some of which have been reviewed recently. It will be a continuing challenge for the in-school management team to ensure that the roles and responsibilities of the team reflect the changing priorities of the school as a learning organisation. Members of the in-school management team meet frequently and work collaboratively with the principal. There is a high level of teamwork and collegiality among the in-school management team. Members of the team play a strong role in leading improvement. They regularly evaluate their own contribution to the overall aims of the school.

 

It is recommended that greater focus be given to the monitoring and the implementation of action plans. While data is gathered and analysed, it is recommended that individual post-holders lead the review of curriculum implementation in different areas such as oral language development, reading, mathematics and other relevant areas. They should set targets for improvement for the school as a whole. The in-school management team should lead the action to bring about improvement.

 

1.4 Management of resources

The teachers are deployed effectively and in accordance with Departmental requirements. Teachersí skills and abilities are utilised to maximum effect to meet pupilsí needs and to improve provision. All teachers are provided with opportunities to experience a range of teaching contexts and class levels in order to develop their full understanding of the curriculum.

 

1.5 Management of relationships and communication with the school community

The quality of relationships and communication with the school community is of a high standard. Parent-teacher meetings are organised each year. Annual end-of-year pupil progress reports are communicated to the parents of all pupils. Parents are encouraged to visit the school on an informal basis to discuss the progress of their children. Periodic newsletters and strategically positioned notice boards inform parents of pupil and school successes and upcoming school events. A home-school-community liaison (HSCL) co-ordinator works in the school three days a week and she discharges her duties in a highly effective manner. She promotes active co-operation between home, school and community in the interests of the pupils.

 

Considerable success has been achieved by the school in raising awareness in parents of their own capacities to enhance their childrenís educational progress and in the establishment of bonds of trust between families and the school. Parents are facilitated in playing an active role in a wide range of in-school activities including Maths for Fun, Family reading sessions, Children and Parents Enjoying Reading (CAPER) and drama productions.

 

The HSCL co-ordinator has succeeded in ensuring very good parental uptake in school and home based initiatives and in further education opportunities up to and including Further Education Training Accreditation Certification (FETAC) level seven courses. These good practices are highly commended. This work plays a significant role in the development of positive attitudes towards the school among parents and pupils and in the strengthening of relationships among the school the home and the community. Despite repeated efforts by the board, a parent association has not yet been established and consequently parents do not play an active part in the drafting of whole-school plans and policies. It is recommended now, that the board continues in its efforts to facilitate the establishment of a parentsí association. It is further recommended that the board consider how it might designate and develop a room within the school building which would serve as an area in which parents could meet on a regular basis.

 

1.6 Management of pupils

The management of pupils in this school is of a very high standard. During the evaluation period the pupils presented as very well behaved, co-operative and courteous. Their personal and social skills are developed across all aspects of the curriculum. Almost all pupils are making good progress towards the development of self-esteem, an awareness of personal safety and confidence in their own knowledge and skills. Relationships between the pupils and the teachers are of a very high quality and it is evident that pupils are valued and held in high regard by all members of the school staff.

 

The student council is effective in ensuring that pupilsí voices are heard and acted on appropriately. Together with the Green Schoolsí committee these initiatives provide pupils with an opportunity to work as a team towards a common goal. It is evident that the school is very sensitive to the needs of its pupils. It is highly commended for the provision of a very wide range of supports which have the explicit purpose of ensuring that the pupilsí experiences of school life are positive and that they are facilitated to derive maximum benefit from the education offered to them.

 

An wide range of policies and initiatives are effectively implemented which have the explicit purpose of supporting the pupilsí emotional, social and academic development.  These include The Incredible Years programme, code of behaviour and anti-bullying policies, the whole-school Social Personal and Health Education (SPHE) plan, Art therapy, Green Schoolsí project, Digihub initiatives in Geography and Art, the Dissolving Boundaries initiative, Rainbows Bereavement Programme , after school supports and Mission Transition which aims to ensure successful transfer of pupils to post-primary schools. In order to further enhance the provision made for pupils it is now recommended that, within the classroom context, teachers plan for the differentiation of the curriculum in order to more effectively meet the needs of those pupils who display exceptional abilities.  

 

 

2.     Quality of school planning

 

2.1 Whole-school and classroom planning

The whole-school plan is well presented in three lever arch files and is accessible to all teachers via the school internal web site. It is evident that the staff has expended considerable energy in the formulation of the curriculum plans and policies and they are commended for the manner in which these whole-school documents reflect the context of the school and the needs of its pupils. The majority of the organisational policies are of a good to very good quality and offer clear guidelines to staff for their implementation. The board is commended for the reviewing of these policies on a cyclical basis.

 

Curriculum plans have been devised for each subject area of the curriculum. Many of these are of a high standard and offer clear guidance to individual teachers in the preparation of programmes of work. They ensure that the principles of the primary curriculum are embedded and that teachers are cognisant of the need to present a broad and balanced curriculum to the pupils. Continuity and progression between class levels is also ensured. The whole school planning documents could be further enhanced through the identification of clear criteria against which the success of their implementation could be monitored and evaluated. It is therefore recommended that future reviews of plans and policies would consider the allocation of roles and responsibilities to specified individuals to oversee their implementation and to evaluate their success in raising pupil attainment in the given areas.

 

The school has drafted a wide range of action plans with the view of ensuring that measures will be implemented to enhance pupil attendance, educational progression, retention and attainment. The staff are praised for their high levels of engagement in professional development opportunities offered to them and for the adoption of specific interventions and initiatives aimed at supporting the effective implementation of the DEIS plan. The school is commended for having reviewed the implementation and success of this plan over the last three years. This review outlines itsí successes and identifies challenges and targets for the current school year.

 

Considerable success has been achieved in the area of raising parental involvement as partners in schooling, some success has been achieved in the raising of pupilsí achievement levels in literacy and numeracy and limited success has been recorded in the raising of pupilsí attendance. The school should however be more realistic in the targets identified in the plan. It is therefore recommended that consideration be given to limiting the number of priorities to be addressed each term. The targets and tasks outlined should be unambiguous, should give clear direction to teachers and should identify specific criteria against which the success of their implementation might be measured. 

 

In accordance with Rule 126 of the Rules for National Schools all teachers in the school develop long-term plans and short-term schemes of work. At some levels, teachers engage in the worthwhile practice of collaborating and planning as teams. A number of teachers plan effectively by using curriculum objectives as a focus for teaching and learning and accordingly, intended lesson outcomes are clear. A wide range of resources is prepared for teaching and many of these are teacher designed and of a high quality.

 

Most teachers plan carefully in relation to differentiation for pupils who are experiencing difficulty in aspects of the curriculum. In this regard, a good level of detail is included in plans. In order to maximise pupilsí levels of interaction throughout lessons, teachers are advised to plan for a wider range of learning experiences to include group work, paired work and independent pupil work. In addition, it is recommended that teachers plan for a broader range of methodologies, to include in particular, the use of the environment and talk and discussion.  There is a need to direct specific attention to the methodologies used to develop pupilsí oral language skills as outlined in the curriculum.  As part of a cyclical planning process, teachers are advised to select assessment tasks judiciously which will help to evaluate pupilsí learning against the intended lesson outcomes. This practice will help to establish a direct connection between planning, teaching and assessment.

 

Monthly progress records in the form of Cuntais MhŪosķla are maintained consistently by all teachers and stored centrally on the schoolís virtual learning environment (VLE). At this juncture it is advised that teachers develop this aspect of their practice to ensure that these records specify the extent of curriculum provision at each class level. In addition, the potential of this document to be used as a means of determining and monitoring continuity and progression over the course of the year and between different class levels should be explored.

 

2.2 Child protection policy and procedures

Confirmation was provided that, in compliance with Department of Education and Science Primary Circular 0061/2006, the board of management has formally adopted the Child Protection Guidelines for Primary Schools (Department of Education and Science, September 2001). Confirmation was also provided that these child protection procedures have been brought to the attention of management, school staff and parents; that a copy of the procedures has been provided to all staff (including all new staff); and that management has ensured that all staff are familiar with the procedures to be followed. A designated liaison person (DLP) and a deputy DLP have been appointed in line with the requirements of the guidelines.

 

 

3.     Quality of learning and teaching

 

3.1 English

 

Overall, English is well taught in this school. The school has identified the development of oral language as a priority in its DEIS plan and in the whole-school literacy plan. Commendably, there is an understanding amongst the staff of the need to develop oral language as a precursor to reading. A good emphasis is placed on extending pupilsí range of vocabulary in discrete oral language lessons and across the curriculum. In the infant classes, the extent of pupilsí English vocabulary acquisition is ascertained through early screening.

 

It is recommended in the future, that teachers structure discrete oral language lessons to ensure that pupilsí are the dominant contributors during lessons and to generate more frequent opportunities for pupils to communicate in pairs and in groups. It is advised that purposeful listening and speaking activities be employed based on the curriculum objectives as well as on pupilsí communication needs. Use of the contexts for oral language, as outlined in the curriculum will assist in achieving the primary aim of maximising opportunities for all pupils to speak. At all class levels, it is advised that particular emphasis be placed on the strand unit Developing Emotional and Imaginative Life through oral language, through greater provision of enriching language experiences such as the exploration of poetry and story. At infant level, a greater focus on informal reading of large-format books combined with the use of resources such as puppets and story bags would be of benefit. More extensive and frequent recitation of nursery rhymes is also advised. Additionally, the provision of structured-play sessions in well-resourced play corners would allow pupils to experience and develop language in contexts which are appropriate to their stage of development.

 

Overall, reading is well taught and most pupils read with fluency and accuracy. Pre-reading skills are emphasised and pupils have a good awareness of letter-sound relationships, the conventions of print and the structure and syntax of language. Pupilsí phonological awareness is developed systematically and they have good word-attack skills. Skimming and scanning texts and the use of contextual clues are amongst the strategies used by pupils when reading. Senior pupils read and explore class novels. Teachers are commended for their expressiveness when modelling the reading process. Valuable initiatives are in place to encourage reading in the home environment. The schoolís HSCL teacher organises family reading sessions and pupils and parents also engage in shared-reading. The facilities at the Watch House Cross Community Library are used regularly and the school hosts an annual book fair.

 

It is now advised that in the early years, the emphasis placed on the functional elements of reading be lessened and that reading for pleasure be undertaken more extensively. Pupilsí desire to read would be greatly enhanced by the establishment of attractive, dedicated literacy areas with soft furnishings and a wider range of reading materials. In order to broaden the reading experience, it is suggested that pupils be given opportunities to engage more deeply with characters encountered in texts and to explore their dilemmas. It was noted in some instances, that reading material is not sufficiently challenging for pupils. To cater for varying ability levels, greater differentiation of materials is advised.  In addition to the use of a graded reading scheme, the school might usefully consider utilising its large stock of differentiated materials in class. This will allow pupils to use texts which are more suitably matched to their ability level. To facilitate additional one-to-one teacher-pupil and pupil-pupil interactions, it is recommended that team teaching be considered.

 

The presentation of written work in copy books is of a very good standard. Early writing skills are appropriately developed. Pupilsí use of punctuation and grammar is good and their handwriting for the most part, is very good. The writing process is emphasised in many classes and during the evaluation, well-structured lessons which focussed on writing in a particular genre were observed. Throughout the school environment and in classes there are some very good displays of pupilsí work. It is now advised that there is scope for the extension of this practice to ensure more wide-spread and varied displays of work. Pupils write book reports and engage in some writing projects, such as collections of stories to which each contributes individually. This work is published and available for viewing on the schoolís website and virtual learning environment. Encouraging pupils to engage in collaborative writing using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) would greatly augment practice as it would generate opportunities for pupils to engage in self-assessment and peer review.

 

3.2 Mathematics

The quality of teaching and learning in Mathematics is, in general, of a good standard. Lessons observed were well structured and paced, knowledge and mathematical concepts were incrementally developed and good emphasis was placed on familiarising the pupils with associated mathematical language. The pupils displayed a positive attitude towards mathematics and they engaged enthusiastically in the organised activities. At each class level, good use was made of concrete materials to support pupil learning and oral mathematical activities were a regular feature of lessons. These good practices are commended. There is evidence also to suggest that focused mathematics initiatives such as Maths Recovery and targets outlined in the DEIS action plan are having a positive impact on pupil learning outcomes. 

 

Pupilsí written work is well presented and is regularly monitored and evaluated. Consideration should however be given to increasing the use of diagrams, graphs and illustrations to record mathematical processes in pupilsí written work. It is noted that the long term plans of many of the teachers make provision for the delivery of a broad and balanced mathematics curriculum ensuring that each of the five strands is given equal treatment on a termly basis. This good practice should be extended to all teachers. Similarly the good practice of selecting specific curriculum objectives from the Primary Curriculum in the short-term planning of many teachers should be a feature of all teachersí planning. 

 

Teachers were observed to utilise a range of methodologies in the teaching of mathematics, teacher led discussion, whole-class teaching and the questioning of individual pupils were the predominant methodologies employed. It is therefore recommended that increased focus be placed on the utilisation of active methodologies to include the use of the immediate school environment, maths trails, guided-discovery methods and increased opportunities for paired and group work. The teaching of mathematical processes such as understanding and recall, the purposeful development of mathematical skills and the development of opportunities to enable pupils to construct and apply their mathematical understanding and skills in contexts drawn from their own experiences and environments should also be undertaken in a systematic manner.

 

In all classrooms the teachers have designated a Mathematics area. However, in general, the mathematics environments in the majority of classrooms are in need of development. It is therefore recommended that the classroom and school environments be enriched through the prominent display of illustrative and concrete materials which are supportive of current learning and through the display of pupilsí work in mathematics. It is further recommended that, given the diversity of pupil attainment levels within individual classes, increased emphasis be placed on the differentiation of curriculum objectives and to group teaching to cater for the varied ability, attainment and learning styles of the pupils.

 

3.3 History

The quality of teaching and learning in History is good. While the school plan informs classroom practice, it would be appropriate, when a review is being carried out, to identify when and in what class local topics or local sites will be explored. This will ensure that these topics are explored in a systematic way.

 

During the evaluation period very good use of ICT was noted in most classes. A wide range of approaches and strategies were utilised to enhance pupilsí learning including, story, questionnaires and interviews. The school has a repository of artefacts which were used very effectively during some lessons. Most classrooms had timelines, many of which were based on events in the childrenís lives. All classrooms had dedicated areas where illustrative materials and artefacts were displayed. Photographs were also used to very good effect. In general, teachers focused their attention on History-specific language when introducing new topics. A good range of methodologies was observed during the teaching and learning, including role-play, drama and some paired work. Some evidence of project work was also in evidence in some classrooms. In most classrooms chronology was developed effectively primarily through the use of story. History was integrated well with Social Personal and Health Education, literacy and the Visual Arts. Some teachers had utilised the expertise of ex-staff members to act as guides when visiting sites in the locality.

 

Some teachers used digital photographs which were taken when exploring local history trails to support discussion and deeper enquiry of topics and historical contexts. Good breath and balance was observed during the teaching and learning in History. The lessons observed were well structured and paced and this ensured that pupils were engaged with their learning during History lessons.

 

It is recommended that further emphasis be put on the development of collaborative work and that pupils be provided with opportunities for deeper enquiry. Teachersí have high levels of skills in the use of ICT and will be able facilitate the development of research skills and the guided exploration of the extensive historical resources available on the internet. ICT could also provide more opportunity for synthesis and communication, opportunities to integrate topics with prior knowledge and the consolidation of learning. Where possible the teaching of History should begin from the local context and link to national and international events.

 

The school plan outlines a wide range of assessment and record keeping strategies. While some evidence of these strategies was noted in a few classes, it is recommended that a systematic policy be devised in respect of the assessment of History throughout the school.

 

3.4 Assessment

A very wide range of standardised tests and screening instruments are in use throughout the school. A wide range of assessment strategies are identified in the curriculum plans. The data generated is used effectively to target pupils for support provision and also to evaluate pupilsí attainment on an individual and whole-school basis. Good formative assessment is taking place on a regular basis including the provision of feedback to pupils in respect of written assignments, projects, and tests. No specific policy on assessment has been generated to date and it is recommended that the school would utilise the Guidelines on Assessment published by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. Greater emphasis on assessment for learning is recommended.

 

The analysis of standardised tests could be used to inform teachers when differentiating learning for groups of pupils particularly in literacy and numeracy. This would enable groupwork to be organised for pupils at all class levels and the systematic focus on the improvement of literacy and numeracy skills.

 

 

4.     Quality of support for pupilS

 

4.1 Pupils with special educational needs

A new school policy has been developed following a review of the special education needs policy which has been in effect in the school for a number of years. The new policy as outlined gives clear direction in relation to the schoolís provision for pupils with additional educational learning needs. The policy gives direction on the identification of pupils, the organisation of supports, consultation and collaboration, planning of programmes, monitoring, assessment and review. It is the schoolís policy that support will be provided on a withdrawal or in-class basis in response to the needs of the pupils. The new policy has yet to be ratified by the board of management.

 

Provision is planned and co-ordinated making the best use of staff expertise and material resources, and ensuring that pupils are grouped for support purposes taking common, shared needs into account. The new policy prioritises the provision of supplementary teaching for the lowest achieving pupils and those in junior classes for defined periods. Two of the learning support teachers are implementing the Reading Recovery Programme in the school. Both teachers have undergone professional development under the guidance of the PPDS. A third teacher is implementing a Maths Recovery Programme for pupils presenting with difficulties in Mathematics in senior infants. These initiatives have greatly enhanced the schoolís capacity to target pupils with learning difficulties in reading and numeracy at a very early age. The success rates in this area are commendable.

 

The staged approach to the identification of pupils who require support teaching is consistent with the Departmentís guidelines and circulars. Well-maintained records detail the initial concerns identified and the screening measures administered. Where progress following learning support intervention is not satisfactory, pupils are referred to outside relevant professionals and agencies in an efficient manner.

 

A wide range of resources appropriate to the needs, abilities and learning styles of the pupils is available and stimulating teaching environments have been created. Commercially produced materials are judiciously selected, adapted for particular pupilsí needs, and used along with teacher-designed materials to support individual, group and whole-class teaching. Concrete, visual support and ICT materials are easily accessible to teachers and pupils.

 

Overall progress is in keeping with ability and the teaching targets set. There is clear development of pupilsí competencies relative to their baseline data in IPLPs/IEPs (Individual Pupil Learning Profiles/Individual Education Plans). In general, most pupils demonstrate very good progress in literacy and numeracy. The range and quality of activities undertaken illustrate significant progression and development.

 

Pupils grow in social confidence through co-operative activities and through presentation of their work to others in innovative ways in some cases through the use of laptops. They participate actively in, and benefit from all areas of the curriculum.

 

In general, the pupils display appropriate levels of commitment and involvement in their own learning and are becoming increasingly competent in applying independent learning strategies. They have positive attitudes to school, attend school regularly and are developing high levels of self-esteem.

 

Comprehensive written records of progress are maintained. There is a clear focus on communication and language skills, mathematicsí skills and social and personal skills as well as development in affective areas such as attitude to learning, self-esteem and self-confidence. Test results for literacy and mathematics are maintained systematically. Progress records are shared effectively with parents and relevant teachers. The monitoring of progress and the interpretation of results feeds clearly into planning at pupil, class and school levels. Parents have a central role in the development of individual learning programmes for pupils who require supplementary teaching. Parentsí views and perspectives are valued by staff

 

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

The recently allocated English as an Additional Language teacher (EAL) provides support for newcomer pupils requiring support in the acquisition of the English language for six hours per week. All pupils are afforded equality of access to all areas of school life and the school is highly commended for the way in which these pupils are integrated. It is now timely to devise a policy in respect of provision of support to EAL pupils.

 

 

5.     Conclusion

 

The school has strengths in the following areas:

 

         The school has a very caring attitude towards meeting the needs of all its pupils.

         The school is an integral part of the local community and is viewed positively by the pupils and parents.

         The Board and the education partners work collaboratively in the best interests of the pupils.

         The Board maintains the building and environs to a very high standard.

         The principal provides very effective leadership to the school and its community.

         The in-school management team works collaboratively in supporting the principal and the board.

         The whole-school plan is of a good standard and reflects the needs of the school.

         The quality of teaching and learning in the school is of a good standard.

         Overall the quality of provision for pupils with special educational needs is of a very high standard.

 

 

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

 

         Having identified the pivotal role of oral language development in raising attainment levels in literacy, the school should now plan a targeted and focussed whole-school oral language intervention programme which is reflective of the primary school curriculum.

         The school should formulate a policy on whole-school assessment in line with the NCCA guidelines.

         A greater emphasis should be placed on the utilisation of activity-based learning whereby pupil contributions are maximised.

         The potential for the classroom and school environs should be further developed to stimulate and support pupilsí learning.

         Given the diversity of pupilsí ability levels in literacy and numeracy, there is a need for teachersí short-term planning to outline specific differentiation strategies to meet the learning needs of all pupils.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Published, June 2010

 

 

 

 

Appendix

 

School Response to the Report

 

Submitted by the Board of Management

 

 

 Area 1   Observations on the content of the inspection report     

 

The Board welcomes the findings of the WSE Report and believes it affirms many of the good practices in place in this school. In particular, we welcome the observations on the very high standard of the management of pupils and the caring attitude by all staff members towards meeting their needs. We also welcome the recognition of the high standard of relationships and communication within the school community. We are pleased that the quality of provision for pupils with special educational needs is acknowledged as being of a very high standard and that English is seen as being well taught in the school.

We are also happy to see mention of the wide range of policies and initiatives, effectively implemented to support the pupilsí emotional, social and academic development.

The Board is very supportive of the work of the teachers in the school and is pleased that their dedication and good work is acknowledged in this report.

The Board welcomes the recommendations made by the report as useful for the continued development of good practice and would like to comment that the whole experience was found to be very worthwhile.

 

 

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

    

Since the WSE took place we have attended to some matters raised in the Report. The board has devised a strategy to become more aware of its roles and responsibilities and a section of the CPSMA Handbook has been studied by all members before each meeting and subsequently discussed at the meeting. The number of DEIS targets has been revised by Staff as recommended. This was done through prioritising the targets for attention. The S.E.N. Policy has also been ratified by the board. (This was pending during WSE)

The Board will now work towards addressing the other recommendation of the Report. An RSE Police and an Assessment Policy will be devised at our earliest convenience and we hope to discuss and deal with any other recommendations in the coming months.