An Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta

Department of Education and Science

 

Whole School Evaluation

REPORT

 

Scoil Náisiúnta Chill Lúraigh

Causeway Tralee County Kerry

Uimhir rolla: 18184M

 

Date of inspection: 13 October 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 Scoil Náisiúnta Chill Lúraigh was undertaken in October 2008. This report presents the findings of the evaluation and makes recommendations for improvement. The evaluation focused on the quality of teaching and learning in English, Irish, Mathematics and Drama. The board of management of the school was given an opportunity to comment on the findings and recommendations of the report; the board chose to accept the report without response.

 

 

Introduction – school context and background

 

This is a co-educational, Catholic, primary school situated in a rural area. It caters for pupils from Infants to Sixth class from the surrounding areas. The pupil population in this area has decreased gradually over the last number of years.

 

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

41

Mainstream classes in the school

8

Teachers on the school staff

3

Mainstream class teachers

2

Teachers working in support roles

1

Special needs assistants

0

 

 

1.     Quality of school management

 

1.1 Characteristic spirit, mission or vision

 

This is a co-educational, Catholic, primary school under the patronage of the Catholic Bishop of Kerry.

 

1.2 Board of management

 

The board of management is properly constituted in accordance with Department of Education and Science guidelines. It meets once a term, at minimum and minutes of the meetings are kept.  Issues relating to the administration of the school are discussed in a thorough and sensitive manner. Financial reports are furnished at each meeting and the principal’s report keeps the board informed of day–to-day developments in the school. The board plays an active role in the development of school policy and each element of the school plan is discussed before ratification. It is now recommended that each ratified policy and plan be signed and dated and that a review date be included. The chairperson maintains regular contact with the principal and the staff and his support is greatly appreciated. Some members of the board have received some training in the past however the sourcing and provision of further training for all members would further enhance their contribution. It is also recommended that specific roles be assigned to members of the board to further enhance their contribution. The board is commended for the insightful and proactive manner in which it manages the upkeep of the school building and grounds.

 

1.3 In-school management

The in-school management team consists of the principal, deputy principal and the special duties teacher. The staff has served in the school for a number of years, ensuring stability and continuity. The principal is highly commended for his commitment and capacity in leading and managing the school. He is particularly successful in creating a shared vision for the school community and in setting and achieving curricular, organisational and pastoral priorities. Due to his efforts, the school is characterised by a constructive learning atmosphere, in which positive pupil engagement and open communication with the wider school community are cultivated. He is ably assisted by the deputy principal and the special duties teacher and a positive working relationship is in evidence. Whole-school planning activities are jointly advanced, with the emphasis on learning and on school improvement. The enthusiasm and dedication of the in-school management team is highly commendable

 

 

1.4 Management of relationships and communication with the school community

 

The school endeavours to promote good communication as well as trust and respect between parents and teachers. Home school links are promoted through parent/teacher meetings, school concerts, religious ceremonies, sporting activities and informal meetings between parents and teachers. Parents meet with the teachers on a formal basis on one occasion each year but know that they are welcome to consult with teachers on an individual basis at any time, and they regularly do so, particularly at the behest of teachers who seek their sustained support in addressing particular difficulties being encountered by individual pupils.

As the school does not have a formal parents’ association, the inspector met with the parents’ representatives on the board of management. The parents expressed a high level of satisfaction with the school and are particularly appreciative of the efforts of staff. They expressed satisfaction with the quality and standard of teaching and the educational progress made by their children.

It is recommended that the school consider the establishment of a formal parents’ association to enhance the positive atmosphere of the school relationships.

 

1.5 Management of pupils

 

The management of pupils in this school is exemplary. The board of management and the teaching staff have devised a code of behaviour and anti-bullying policies that are implemented consistently in the school. The pupils are very well behaved and they display pride and interest in their work and co-operate willingly with their teachers during all class activities. They are eager to engage in discussion and participate fully in guided and discovery-based learning situations. This work is to be commended.

 

 

2.     Quality of school planning

 

2.1 Whole-school and classroom planning

 

The quality of whole-school planning is appropriate and an effective school plan has been drawn up in relation to most aspects of the curriculum. It is recommended that an action plan be drawn up to review the school plan systematically over the next number of years. The planning process has involved staff, board of management as well as the school planning support services and there is evidence of its positive impact on the teaching and learning process.

 

 

The quality of classroom planning assists the teaching and learning process throughout the school. Teacher preparation is appropriate and sets out attainable objectives. It is recommended that the school consider the use of a common template for short term planning.

 

2.2 Child protection policy and procedures

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

 

 

3.     Quality of learning and teaching

 

3.1 Language

 

Gaeilge

Cothaítear suim na ndaltaí sa Ghaeilge trí cheachtanna a chur i láthair go bríomhar. spreagúil. Bunítear an t-ábhar teagaisc ar théarmaí a bhfuil suim ag na daltaí iontu agus baintear úsáid as scéim téacsleabhar chun struchtúr a chur ar an obair. Múintear ábhar cinnte idir fhoclóir, fhrásaí agus struchtúir. Cleachtar drámaíocht, cluichí cainte agus baintear úsáid fhiúntach as áiseanna le tacú leis an bhfoghlaim. Tá foclóir breá ar eolas ag cuid mhaith de na daltaí agus éiríonn leo abairtí a chumadh agus ceisteanna a chur agus a fhreagairt bunaithe ar na téamaí atá idir lámha. Aithrisíonn said cnuasach deas rann, dánta agus amhrán go taithneamhach, le tuiscint agus le dea-fhoghraíocht.  Is inmholta an tslí ina gcomhtháithítear  an Ghaeilge le h-ábhair eile agus an úsáid neamhfhoirmiúil a baintear aisti le linn an lae scoile.

 

Léann agus pléann na daltaí giotaí oiriúnacha go cumasach  sna hardranganna . Moltar go mór an nós seo agus b’fhéidir go bhféadfaí úrscéalta Gaeilge a úsáid mar chuid den scéim léitheoireachta. B’fhiú na h-úrscéalta úd a iniúchadha mar bhunchloch do chleachtadh an chomhrá agus na scríbhneoireachta cruthaithí. Moltar an caighdeán ard a bhaintear amach sa léitheoireacht sa scoil seo.  Ó thaobh na scríbhneoireachta de, deintear cleachtadh rialta uirthi tríd an scoil ach moltar níos mó éagsúlachta a chur ina leith  Moltar chomh maith leas a bhaint as an nua- theicneolaíocht mar áis teagaisc don Ghaeilge.

 

 

Irish

Lessons in Irish are implemented in a lively and enjoyable manner .Lesson content is based on themes of interest to the pupils, while a language programme is used to structure learning. Specific content is taught, including vocabulary and language structure. Drama and language games are employed while purposeful use is made of a range of resources to support learning. Many pupils possess a fine vocabulary and they succeed in composing sentences, as well as asking and answering questions based on the topics being addressed. They recite a nice selection of rhymes, poems and songs with understanding and good pronunciation .The manner in which Irish is integrated with other subject areas is highly commended as is its informal use throughout the school day.

 

Pupils read and discuss suitable extracts in Irish effectively in the senior classes. This practice is highly commended and the school could now consider introducing Irish novels as part of the reading scheme. Such books could be considered as foundations for extended work in conversational Irish and in creative writing. The high standards achieved in reading in this school are to be praised. Pupils are given opportunities for regular practice in developing their writing skills throughout the school. However there is a need to extend the variety of writing genres in some classes. It is also recommended that Information and Communications Technologies be used as a teaching aid in the teaching of Irish

 

English

 

Most pupils attain very high standards in English. Oral language development is appropriately emphasised. Most of the pupils can speak about themselves, their interests and a variety of other topics articulately and enthusiastically. The work done on the recitation and study of poetry is to be commended. Appropriate emphasis is placed on the development of phonological awareness, as part of the foundation of basic reading skills, in the junior classes. The emphasis placed on developing reading skills and on developing a love of reading in the school generally ensures that a high standard is achieved by most pupils. Class libraries are well stocked and well presented.  The standard of handwriting is very high throughout the school and is to be commended as is the standard of English writing. Examples of pupils’ written work are on display. However the range of writing genres appears limited. It is recommended that this range be extended. Copybooks and workbooks contain highly commendable work in functional and creative writing.

 

3.2 Mathematics

Mathematics is timetabled appropriately for all classes and lessons are conducted with energy and enthusiasm.  The school has an appropriate array of equipment and mathematical aids which are on prominent display along with chart and poster display material. The junior classes memorise number facts with care using number lines and hundred squares to assist understanding. The pupils are grouped for instruction and equipment is used regularly to facilitate particular features of the work. The pupils display good understanding of number and are accurate and precise in mental work. Written work is suitably varied and neatly done.

The older pupils reveal good knowledge and understanding of their work in Mathematics. They enjoy mental questions and the challenge of oral work. The oral work in mathematics is of a high calibre and merits particular praise for its order and clarity. They display accurate and complete knowledge of various facets of their programme and they are enthusiastic in their discussion of problems and solutions. Lessons are practical and good use is made of tangible elements to assist comprehension. It is apparent that the quality of learning and teaching is creditable and that the pupils are well advanced in their studies.

 

3.3 Drama

Many elements of Drama are utilised as strategies to support the planned learning outcomes across the curriculum. Drama was observed during the evaluation and was linked to stories, music and movement. One discrete drama lesson was observed at junior level and one lesson at senior level during the inspection. The lessons were conducted skilfully and they had appropriate structure to support the intended learning outcomes. It is recommended that the school should now consider the drafting of a policy for Drama to facilitate a whole school approach to this subject area.

 

3.4 Assessment

 

Standardised testing in literacy and numeracy using the Micra-T and Sigma-T takes place each year. Diagnostic testing include the Middle Infant Screening Test is administered during the second term to pupils in senior infants. The results of these tests are recorded and stored centrally. Test results indicate a good standard is being achieved in both literacy and numeracy throughout the school. Teacher designed tasks and tests along with teacher observation are used to assess and monitor pupils’ progress in all areas of the curriculum. The results of the assessment tests inform planning for future teaching and learning.

 

 

4.     Quality of support for pupils

 

4.1 Pupils with special educational needs

 

The school has documented policies on the admission, enrolment and participation of pupils with special educational needs in the school plan. A learning support policy is in place; however this policy should be reviewed to take account of the staged approach as per Circular 02/05.

 

Support for pupils with special educational needs is provided primarily in the areas of literacy and numeracy. The learning support teacher is shared with one other school and she attends the school daily for half the school day. Supplementary teaching takes place on a withdrawal and in-class support basis. Early intervention strategies are employed for oral language and phonics in the infant classes while numeracy is addressed in first class. This is to be commended and it is recommended that in-class support be further extended.

Individual profile and learning programmes (IPLPs) have been devised for each pupil attending learning support, in consultation with the pupils’ parents and class teachers. Appropriate short term planning is engaged in by the learning support teacher. Pupils’ progress is regularly recorded and reviewed at suitable intervals during the school year. A stimulating print rich environment is created and a range of resources is effectively employed by the teacher. Lessons observed were structured appropriately and pupils were engaged in appropriate learning activities.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Published, June 2009