An Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta

Department of Education and Science

 

Whole School Evaluation

REPORT

 

St. Cronan’s National School

Carron, Ennis, Co. Clare

Uimhir rolla: 18190H

 

Date of inspection:  1 March 2007

  Date of issue of report:  21 June 2007

 

Whole-school evaluation

1.     Introduction – school context and background

2.     Quality of school management

2.1 Board of management

2.2 In-school management

2.3 Management of relationships and communication with the school community

2.4 Management of pupils

3.     Quality of school planning

3.1 Whole-school and classroom planning

4.     Quality of learning and teaching

4.1 Language

Gaeilge

Irish

English

4.2 Mathematics

4.3 History

4.4 Assessment

5.     Quality of support for pupils

5.1 Pupils with special educational needs

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

6.     Conclusion

School Response to the Report

 

 

 


Whole-school evaluation

 

A whole-school evaluation of St. Cronan’s National School was undertaken in February, 2007. The evaluation covered key aspects of the work of the school in the areas of management, teaching and learning and supports for pupils. The evaluation focused on the quality of teaching and learning in English, Irish, Mathematics and History. Parent representatives of the board of management met with the inspector. The inspector interacted with the pupils, examined pupils’ work, reviewed school planning documentation, observed teaching and learning and provided feedback to individual teachers. Following the evaluation visit, the inspector provided oral feedback on the outcomes of the evaluation to the staff and to the board of management. This report presents the findings of the evaluation and makes recommendations for improvement. 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

 

St. Cronan’s National School is a two-teacher co-educational primary school located in an isolated rural setting in the heart of the Burren. It is one of two schools in the parish of Carron/New Quay and is under the patronage of the Catholic Bishop of Galway. The school serves a catchment area of approximately six kilometres in radius from its base in the village of Carron and is situated approximately 11 km from its nearest neighbouring school. The school has an indigenous core of pupils and also caters for a small number of pupils from various European cultures. The following table provides an overview of the current enrolment and staffing in the school:

 

Total number of pupils enrolled

23

Total number of teaching staff

2

Number of teaching staff working in support teaching roles

1 (shared)

Number of mainstream classes

2

Number of special needs assistants

0

 

The school is fortunate to have access to the services of the same experienced substitute teacher to enable the teaching principal to carry out his duties efficiently during his administrative leave days. While enrolments in St. Cronan’s have decreased since the last school inspection was carried out in 1998, it is likely that enrolment figures will be augmented for the foreseeable future, due to the recent proposals for two residential housing schemes in the area.

 

St Cronan’s espouses a Catholic ethos and also gives due recognition for all other creeds. An open, inclusive and friendly atmosphere pervades in line with the school’s philosophy to provide “a happy, positive and supportive environment for all pupils.” Very good efforts are made to embrace the educational aspirations and expectations of parents taking into account pupils’ socio‑economic backgrounds, the cultural values of the home and the unique aptitudes, abilities and potential of each pupil. The school is commended for its success in cultivating a spirit of tolerance, respect and care among pupils. In keeping with the school’s mission statement a strong sense of community is evident. Close links have been established with parents, local experts and local organisations such as the Burren Life Centre to enhance pupils’ educational experiences.

 

Patterns of pupil absences are monitored, attendance records are maintained and good attendance and punctuality are encouraged. Regular contact is made with the educational welfare authorities, when required, in accordance with Section 21 of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000. Attendance patterns for the previous school year were satisfactory for most pupils, but pupil absenteeism is a cause for concern in the case of a small minority of pupils. It is recommended that a greater range of strategies be included in the whole-school attendance policy to encourage improved attendance. On leaving St. Cronan’s pupils mainly transfer to post-primary schools in Gort, Kinvara, Ennistymon or Lisdoonvarna.

 

2.     Quality of school management

 

2.1 Board of management

The board of management is properly constituted in accordance with Department of Education and Science (DES) regulations. The board meets once per term and more frequently if required. Roles are appropriately assigned to members. The present chairperson has been acting as chair on an interim basis since January 2006 and is a regular visitor to the school. Minutes of meetings are maintained and accounts of expenditure are audited on an annual basis. It was reported that board meetings are generally well attended. Structured agenda are circulated in advance of meetings and a financial report is presented at each board meeting. The current priorities of the board relate to the extension and upgrading of the school building. To this end, the board has recently submitted an application to the Planning and Building Unit of the DES. Two new classrooms are being sought together with a principal’s office, staff room, secretary’s office, library room, computer room and a general‑purposes room. Other priorities identified by the board include the review of whole‑school organisational and curricular policies, the appointment of teachers, the organisation of fund-raising events, the development of a homework policy and the introduction of a school uniform. It would be beneficial if minutes of meetings could provide a more detailed account of key decisions made in relation to curriculum policy and implementation and other whole-school priorities and actions.

 

The board recognises its statutory obligations and is complying with DES regulations with regard to the retention of pupils, parent/teacher meetings, the organisation of the length of the school year and the school day. In accordance with legislation, the school plan contains policies on behaviour and discipline, enrolment, attendance, child protection and safety. Organisational policies and curriculum plans developed are signed by the chairperson of the board of management to confirm their ratification. The board should consider the possibility of issuing an annual report to the general parent body on the operation and activities of the school in line with section 20 of the Education Act, 1998.

 

The board strives to establish positive relations with staff and the wider community and board members give generously of their time in the best interests of the school. The board expresses its satisfaction with the good educational standards achieved in the school, the good behaviour of pupils, the school’s favourable record in Gaelic sport and in particular the positive links fostered with various community organisations. The board of management is commended for its support to the principal and teaching staff, its commitment to the work of the school and its provision of a wide range of teaching and learning resources, including computer hardware and software. It is the board’s intention to employ a part-time secretary to provide additional administrative support for the school during the current school year. The part-time caretaker and all concerned are complimented for providing a safe, clean and well-maintained learning environment for pupils.

 

 

 

2.2 In-school management

The in-school management team consists of a teaching principal and a special duties teacher, who is currently on leave of absence and whose position was filled by a temporary teacher during the whole-school evaluation. The principal teacher discharges his administrative and teaching duties in a positive, committed and professional manner. Official records are carefully maintained. A congenial working environment is created, tasks are delegated on an informal basis and there is open communication and a positive spirit of collaboration among all staff members. Routines and timetables are established, pupils are properly supervised and there is a good sense of order, routine and organisation in the school. The principal has contributed well to the whole‑school development process and makes very good use of the administrative days provided. Staff meetings are currently organised on an informal basis. It is recommended that formal staff meeting arrangements be established to facilitate the sharing of responsibilities in the ongoing review of whole-school development processes.

 

The duties attached to the special duties posts include deputising for the principal in his absence, the organisation of the school choir and the completion of extra yard supervision duties. Although these duties are willingly fulfilled and contribute well to the efficient management of a small school, it is recommended that the duties of the special duties post should be reviewed to encompass organisational, pastoral and curricular duties taking into account the changing prioritised needs of the school. It is advised, that these duties should be clearly delineated in the whole-school plan and incorporate, at regular intervals, dates for review.

 

2.3 Management of relationships and communication with the school community

In the absence of a parents’ association, positive home-school links are fostered mainly through the parent representatives on the board of management, regular correspondence with parents, daily informal contact with parents of infant classes and the involvement of parents in various fund‑raising events, such as an annual sale-of-work and sponsored walks. While the small school size facilitates dissemination of information to some extent, it is recommended that efforts be made to establish a parents’ association to facilitate a more meaningful involvement of parents in the whole-school planning and development process. It is planned that a school web-site will be developed before the end of the current school year.

 

Parents interviewed praised, in particular, the commitment from the principal and staff, the equal opportunities provided for boys and girls and the very good foundation in learning provided. Parents also articulated their satisfaction with the emphases placed on studying the local environment and the rich heritage of the Burren and the involvement of local speakers, poets, archaeologists and story-tellers to enhance the work of the school. It was also noted that parental concerns are dealt with promptly. The promotion of reading and the challenging activities presented in Science were also highlighted. Parents interviewed expressed an enthusiasm for encouraging more parents to become more meaningfully involved in the work of the school.

 

2.4 Management of pupils

There is a very good emphasis on the promotion of positive behaviour management strategies in the school. The school’s code of discipline is being effectively implemented. Pupils are friendly and pleasant and display respectful, co‑operative and courteous behaviour towards each other and adults. There is a good commitment from staff to build pupils’ levels of self-esteem and confidence. Pupils are encouraged to assume responsibility and to report on any incidences of bullying in the school yard.

 

 

3.     Quality of school planning

 

3.1 Whole-school and classroom planning

A comprehensive whole-school plan covering organisational and curricular policies has been developed to guide the smooth running of the school. School context factors and the individual needs of pupils are highlighted as a key priority in each policy. The principal in collaboration with the teaching staff is mainly involved in the drafting of school policies. Parents have been given the opportunity to comment on whole‑school policies in draft format and signed copies are returned to the school. This practice is commendable. Drafts are presented to the board of management for final approval.  All parents are given copies of the school code of behaviour and discipline and the anti-bullying policy and the remaining polices are available in the school for viewing.  It is envisaged that the establishment of a parents’ association will provide parents with a more formal forum to contribute meaningfully to the policy formulation and school development process.

 

Evidence was provided to confirm that the board of management and staff have taken appropriate steps to develop policies in line with the provisions in Children First: National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children (Department of Health and Children, 1999, updated issue May 2004) and Child Protection Guidelines for Primary Schools (Department of Education and Science, April 2001). Evidence was provided to confirm that the board of management has adopted and implemented the policies. A designated liaison person and deputy liaison person have been appointed in line with the requirements of the Departmental guidelines.

 

Detailed plans are in place for all curricular areas in which teachers have received in‑service training. The English, Irish and history plans have been recently revised and updated in collaboration with the Regional Curriculum Support Service (RCSS). It is recommended that a three-year action plan should now be developed to promote school self‑evaluation and to ensure that target dates are set for the commencement, completion and review of specific priority areas each year.  Beneficial use could be made of the prompt documents included in the school plan and developed collaboratively by the DES, the Primary Curriculum Support Programme (PCSP), the School Development Planning Support (SDPS) and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA).

 

Each teacher provides regular long-term and short-term planning notes in accordance with Rule 126 of the Rules for National Schools. While there is considerable variation between classrooms in terms of the layout and focus of detail recorded, planning in each classroom is reflective of the strands and strand units of the curriculum and the school plan.  Commendable emphasis is placed on recording learning outcomes to be achieved and on individualising the content of the curriculum for some classes. A clear outline of intended learning outcomes is carefully detailed in The Primary Planner Handbook for other classes. Detailed monthly records of progress are maintained for each class level. In order to reflect the effective practice observed in classrooms during the evaluation, it is recommended that a whole-school approach to individual teacher planning should be co-ordinated to ensure that content is clearly differentiated and carefully broken down for each class level. Consideration should be given to the use of a school-wide template for individual preparation and recording.

 

4.     Quality of learning and teaching

Overall, the quality of teaching and learning observed in St. Cronan’s is very good. Lessons are presented in a structured and engaging manner, interesting teacher-designed activities are prepared in advance of lessons and suitable visual aids are used to stimulate pupils’ interest levels. Teacher questioning is differentiated and good use is made of whole-class teaching, individualised learning, role‑play, drama, structured play, active learning, circle time and story. The engagement of all pupils in the school in project work and the emphasis placed on learning through the environment are laudable. Good use is made of manipulative materials in all classes. Limited opportunity was provided for pair work and group work and the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) during the evaluation. The planned further development of ICT will greatly enhance the pupils’ engagement with the writing process in all classes. It is recommended that more regular opportunities should be provided for pupils to work in co‑operative learning groups to facilitate pupils in interacting with each other and in talking through their ideas, particularly in their acquisition of Irish as a second language. A positive attitude to learning is encouraged and pupils are motivated in their learning. In general, pupils are progressing well relative to their ages, abilities and class levels. There is, however, scope for development in the consolidation of some pupils’ acquisition and handling of language structures in Irish.

 

4.1 Language

 

Gaeilge

Tá plean soiléir, cuimsitheach praiticiúil forbartha ar bhonn uile-scoile atá ag teacht le haidhmeanna agus le bunphrionsabail an churaclaim Ghaeilge. Tá forleathnú cabhrach déanta ar na feidhmeanna teanga éagsúla, an t-ábhar agus an foclóir neamhfhoirmiúil do gach leibhéal ranga. Cláraítear liosta de na leabhair leabharlainne atá ar fáil freisin.

 

Tá na hoidí le moladh as ucht an dearcadh deimhneach atá á chothú acu i leith foghlaim na teanga. Úsáidtear an Ghaeilge go rialta mar theanga bhainisteoireachta ranga agus baineann na daltaí taitneamh as na ranganna cumarsáide sa Ghaeilge. Baintear dea‑fheidhm as an drámaíocht, foghlaim ghníomhach, obair chiorclach, cluichí teanga agus modh na scéalaíochta i ranganna na naíonán agus sna bunranganna chun na feidhmeanna teanga a mhúineadh agus a chleachtadh. Cothaíonn na scéalta seo suim mhaith do na daltaí ar thús na léitheoireachta. Spreagtar rannpháirtíocht ghníomhach na ndaltaí sna meánranganna agus sna hardranganna trí úsáid a bhaint as fístéip, an dramaíocht agus rólghlacadh chun suímh oiriúnacha a chothú do na téamaí Gaeilge a chur i láthair na ndaltaí. Cuirtear béim inmholta ar shaibhreas teanga a fhorbairt sna ceachtanna seo agus tá eolas maith ag na daltaí ar na téamaí atá clúdaithe. Is léir, áfach, go bhfuil deacrachtaí líofachta agus tuisceana ag cuid de na daltaí na briathra agus na réamhfhocail a láimhseáil sa ghnáthchumarsáid. Moltar úsáid bhreise a bhaint as cluichí cumarsáide, obair bheirte agus modh na scéalaíochta chun na briathra agus na feidhmeanna teanga a chleachtadh agus a dhaingniú ar bhonn córasach rialta. Léann formhór na ndaltaí go líofa agus le tuiscint. Ba thairbheach an t‑úsáid a baineadh as luaschártaí sna ceachtanna léitheoireachta le linn na meastóireachta.

 

Tugtar faoi theagasc na scríbhneoireachta go rialta. Cláraíonn na daltaí cleachtaí sa scríbhneoireacht fheidhmiúil sna cóipleabhair ina n‑áirítear cleachtaí tuisceana, scripteanna comhrá, aistí, dánta, cleachtaí gramadaí agus abairtí a chumadh le foclóir nua. B’fhiú anois forbairt a dhéanamh ar an obair seo, feidhm a bhaint as na ríomhairí agus cleachtadh breise a thabhairt do na daltaí scríbhneoireacht phearsanta, nuachtlitreacha, tuairiscí gearra agus dánta simplí a chumadh bunaithe ar a dtimpeallachtaí. Moltar freisin go n-oibreodh foireann na scoile le pobal na scoile chun na féidearthachtaí a fhiosrú maidir le ranganna Gaeilge do thuismitheoirí a chur ar fáil chun stádas na Gaeilge a ardú i measc tuismitheoirí.

 

Irish

A clear, comprehensive and practical whole-school plan has been developed that supports the aims and principles of the curriculum in Irish. The plan provides a useful overview of the different language functions, the content and informal vocabulary for each class level. An inventory of the available library books in Irish is also documented.

 

Teachers are commended for the positive attitude fostered towards the teaching of Irish. Irish is regularly used as a communicative approach in managing classroom activities and pupils enjoy the Irish classes taught. Good use is made of drama, active learning, circle time, language games and story in infant and junior classes to teach and practice the language functions. The use of story stimulates an interest in reading among pupils. Pupils’ active participation is fostered in middle and senior classes through the use of video, drama and role‑play using various settings in the presentation of themes. Praiseworthy emphasis is placed on the development of a rich vocabulary in these lessons. Pupils have attained a good mastery of the themes covered. It is apparent, however, that some pupils experience difficulties in fluency and comprehension in the use of verbs and prepositions in conducting conversations in Irish. It is recommended that greater use be made of language games, pair work and the use of story in order to practice and reinforce the use of verbs and various language functions in a regular and systematic basis. Most pupils read fluently and with understanding. Beneficial  use was made of flashcards in reading lessons during the evaluation.

 

The teaching of writing is undertaken on a regular basis. The functional writing activities recorded by pupils in their copybooks include comprehension exercises, conversational scripts, essays, poetry, grammar and sentence formation incorporating new vocabulary. It would now be of benefit to develop this work through the use of computers to enable pupils gain more practice in personal writing such as newsletters, short reports and simple poetry based on their own environments. It is also recommended that staff and the school community would collaborate to explore the possibilities of providing Irish classes for parents in order to raise the status of the Irish language in the community.

 

English

A comprehensive and clearly-laid out whole-school plan has been developed, which provides a user‑friendly guide to support effective curriculum implementation. Despite the restricted classroom sizes, every available space is used to develop print-rich environments in order to stimulate pupils’ interest levels. Libraries are well stocked and organised and senior pupils are given responsibility to take on the role of librarian. Pupils’ written work is either displayed or retained in individual folders.

 

The standards achieved in English are very good in all classes. A broad and balanced range of experiences is provided and pupils’ progress reflects the high scores achieved in the most recent standardised tests completed by pupils from first to sixth classes. The listener/speaker relationship is well-developed and very good emphasis is placed on the development of pupils’ higher-order thinking skills during discrete oral language sessions. A praiseworthy emphasis is placed on the development of pupils’ vocabulary and language on a cross-curricular basis. Pupils, in general, display good competency and confidence in the themes explored and they enjoy the language games presented. Pupils can recite a commendable selection of poetry in infant and junior classes. Poetry is explored for enjoyment purposes in middle and senior classes and individual pupils can confidently recite a number of selected favourite poems. A language-experience approach is promoted in a competent manner in infant and junior classes, while the video is effectively used as a stimulus to foster pupils’ thinking and interest levels in middle and senior classes.

 

An interest in reading is promoted and pupils are encouraged to research topics and to read for pleasure as they progress through the school. Reading records are maintained in each classroom. Pupils’ phonological skills are developed in a structured manner and a broad emergent reading plan is implemented. Very good use is made of the large-format book in junior classes as a springboard for developing pupils’ vocabulary, comprehension and prediction skills. Pupils can read fluently and most pupils display very good comprehension levels as they progress through the school. Pupils respond well to a range of class novels, which are used effectively to complement the use of formal reading schemes.  Commendable practice was observed in the use of reading theatre. Carefully-chosen teacher‑designed tasks provide a valuable stimulus for discussion, exploration and writing.

 

A developmental approach to writing is implemented on a whole-school basis. Pupils engage in a range of pre-writing activities in infant classes and daily writing experiences are being promoted. Pupils in middle and senior classes are given suitable opportunity to engage in a variety of writing genres, which extends across curricular areas, such as Mathematics and SESE. A good balance is achieved between functional and creative writing and ICT is used to support the pupils’ presentation of written work. Brainstorming strategies and the flipchart are used effectively to stimulate pupils’ thinking and to build on pupils’ existing vocabulary. Consideration should now be given to developing a greater range of class booklets and to involving the pupils in initiatives such as the Write-a-Book Project or the compilation of a school newsletter to enable pupils in writing for different audiences. Pupils’ handwriting is neat, well organised and is monitored regularly. Pupils have achieved a good understanding of writing conventions. A cursive handwriting style is introduced at second class and most pupils have developed a fluent and legible personal style of handwriting in senior classes. Spelling strategies are taught and reinforced at each class level and incorporate both phonetic spelling lists and dictation.

 

4.2 Mathematics

The quality of teaching and learning observed during the evaluation in Mathematics was very good and pupils display high levels of attainment. The most recent standardised test scores confirm these positive learning outcomes. The success achieved is attributed to the practical application of problems to the pupils’ own environment and the implementation of agreed approaches in the use of mathematical language and problem-solving processes. A hands-on approach is adopted during lessons and a suitable range of manipulatives, mathematical equipment and visual aids is used to enhance the teaching and learning process. A good balance is achieved in oral work, group work and written work and the use of differentiated questioning in each multi-grade classroom is laudable. Pupils show a very good ability to perform mental computation tasks, use mathematical language accurately and are enthusiastic in their responses. There is a very good emphasis on the development of pupils’ estimation and problem‑solving skills. A review of pupils’ written work indicates that each strand of the curriculum is thoroughly explored, mathematical problems are carefully and neatly recorded and copies are regularly monitored. In-class supplementary support is provided when warranted. There is evidence of the effective use of integration with Visual Arts in particular, to further consolidate pupils’ understanding of mathematical concepts.

 

4.3 History

A broad history programme is effectively implemented on a whole-school basis in line with the detailed and clearly documented whole-school plan. In keeping with the value placed on the local environment and community, praiseworthy emphasis is placed on pupils working as historians in the Burren. The historical mural scene of famous historical legends also contributes well to the pupils’ interest and enthusiasm for History. Pupils have gained a solid understanding of the historical origins of the area in which they live and how, for example, the famous local personality and past-pupil, Michael Cusack, has influenced the locality and the wider environment. The whole-school project completed to mark the 100th year celebration of Cusack takes pride of place in the school.

 

Lessons are well-structured and pupils enjoy and benefit from examining and comparing photographs from the past and present. Content is suitably differentiated as pupils progress through the school. Methodologies used include debate, song, group work, discussion papers and historical games. All opportunities are exploited to link and integrate themes and topics with Geography, Science, Visual Arts, Irish, English and Music. There is good integration with Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) in infant and junior classes in the exploration of personal and family history, local legends and folklore. The use of project work in middle and senior classes is commendable. Cloze procedure activities and teacher observation are the main assessment strategies used. Timelines are used effectively in all classes and there is very good progression between classes on the development of the pupils’ sense of time and chronology. It is evident that pupils’ learning is greatly enhanced through the pupils’ participation in fieldtrips, fieldwork, the examination of historical artefacts and school visits from local community experts, such as Burren Beo. The slides presented during the evaluation depicting the pupils’ artwork demonstrate a high level of engagement and motivation from the pupils. Pupils in middle and senior classes can confidently talk about the origins and purposes of dolmens, ring forts, turloughs, cairns, famine roads, turf tiles, wedge tombs and ring forts. Pupils’ responses and understanding of the topics and themes completed are impressive.

 

4.4 Assessment

The importance of assessment to guide effective teaching and learning is highlighted in the school’s whole-school assessment policy. A good variety of both formal and informal assessment strategies is used. Pupils’ progress is monitored on a continuing basis in classrooms and teachers are very aware of pupils’ levels of attainment. Teacher-designed tasks and activities are carefully differentiated. Other assessment approaches used include teacher-devised tests, project work, diagnostic tests and norm-referenced standardised tests including the Micra-T, Sigma-T and the Drumcondra Primary Reading Tests. The information gleaned from these tests is monitored and appropriately used to identify pupils with learning difficulties requiring supplementary teaching support. Pupil profiles are beneficially used in infant and junior classes to guide the teaching and learning process. This effective practice should be further developed on a school-wide basis. Parents are informed of pupils’ progress and achievement at the annual parent‑teacher meeting and are also welcome to discuss pupils’ progress on an informal basis. Parents expressed their appreciation for the advice provided by the teaching staff in supporting pupils at home. It is recommended that individual attainment progress reports be completed for each individual pupil and issued to parents/guardians on an annual basis. Copies of these progress reports should be maintained centrally in a secure location.

 

 

5.     Quality of support for pupils

 

5.1 Pupils with special educational needs

A detailed learning-support policy incorporating clearly delineated roles and responsibilities has been developed to guide practice. Audits of available learning-support materials are included in the whole-school plan. The shared learning-support service is based in Corofin National School. Under the general allocation system, St. Cronan’s N.S. avails of seven hours learning-support per week. There are no pupils with special educational needs currently enrolled in the school.  The learning-support teacher works in close collaboration with class teachers and has completed a range of professional development courses. There is a good emphasis placed on consultation with parents. Five pupils currently receive learning-support in literacy, two of whom receive support in both literacy and numeracy for two or three class periods a week. It is recommended that the current caseload of pupils receiving learning-support be reviewed to ensure that the service is targeted to provide intensive early intervention for pupils with the greatest priority learning needs, in accordance with the whole‑school policy and the Learning-Support Guidelines (2000). A combination of in-class support and a withdrawal model of supplementary teaching is provided.

 

The learning-support room is characterised by a happy learning environment and positive levels of pupil engagement. Teaching is well‑structured and focuses on the needs of pupils. Good use is made of interactive phonics games in order to maintain pupils’ interest and motivation levels. Pupils’ project work and writing samples are displayed in booklet and project format and pupils’ progress is continually monitored. Attendance at support sessions is diligently recorded and monitored. Teacher preparation is regular. The comprehensive individual learning programmes developed for each pupil are appropriately informed by the results of standardised and diagnostic tests and the observations of class teachers and parents. It is recommended that the priority learning targets set should be broken down into specific and measurable learning targets.  

 

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

The school has a long tradition of welcoming pupils from international backgrounds, some of whom only spend short periods of time in the locality. There are currently five international pupils in attendance, all of whom are integrated well into the multi-grade classes and are showing good progress. The celebration of difference and diversity is a positive feature of the school. Pupils from other traditions are encouraged to share information about their culture and traditions. The pastoral care and custody/separation policies developed clearly outline the school’s commitment in using all available human and physical resources within the school to cater for vulnerable pupils or pupils at risk in a sensitive fashion. All pupils irrespective of gender, race or culture are given equal opportunity to participate in all aspects of school life.

 

6.     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:

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

1.                   As a follow-up action to this report, St Cronan’s NS, Carron will issue individual progress reports for each pupil and maintain copies of same in the school, starting in June 2007.

2.                   A grant of €275,000 has been approved towards the upgrading and extension of the school building as part of the Department’s Small Schools Scheme.