An Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta

 

Department of Education and Science

 

 

Whole School Evaluation

REPORT

 

 Scoil Náisiúnta Dhrom dhá Liag

 

Uimhir rolla: 18296A

 

 

 

Date of inspection: 29 November 2007

  Date of issue of report: 22 May 2008

Whole-school evaluation

Introduction – school context and background

1.     Quality of school management

1.1 Characteristic spirit, mission or vision

1.2 Board of management

1.3 In-school management

1.4 Management of relationships and communication with the school community

1.5 Management of pupils

2.     Quality of school planning

2.1 Whole-school and classroom planning

2.2 Child protection policy and procedures

3.     Quality of learning and teaching

3.1 Language

3.2 Mathematics

3.3 Visual Arts

3.4 Assessment

4.     Quality of support for pupils

4.1 Pupils with special educational needs

5.     Conclusion

 

Whole-school evaluation

 

A whole-school evaluation of Drimoleague Senior 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 Visual Arts. The board of management was given an opportunity to comment in writing on the findings and recommendations of the report; a response was not received from the board.

 

 

 

Introduction – school context and background

 

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

68

Mainstream classes in the school

4

Teachers on the school staff

4

Mainstream class teachers

4

Teachers working in support roles

1

Special needs assistants

1

 

 

1.     Quality of school management

 

1.1   Characteristic spirit, mission or vision

 

This is a co-educational school which caters for pupils from third to sixth class inclusive. It is under the patronage of the Catholic Bishop of Cork and Ross.

 

1.2   Board of management

 

The Board of management is properly constituted and discharges its duties in a highly effective manner. Meetings are convened on a regular basis in accordance with official guidelines. The school’s financial affairs are managed efficiently and financial reports are provided regularly. The Board is highly commended for its supervision of major renovations to the school building in the recent past at a cost of 600,000 euros.

 

In line with best practice the Board takes an active interest in the development of the school plan and has ratified all the curriculum policies. The re-establishment of a Parents’ Association was discussed as part of the evaluation and work in this regard will commence shortly.

 

This Board’s term of office is about to end and members were complemented for their contribution to the effective functioning of the school.   

 

 

 

 

1.3   In-school management

 

The principal merits much credit for his commitment to all aspects of school activity and has clearly promoted a sense of respect and co-operation in the school. To this end he is willingly and ably assisted by a highly motivated staff

1.4   Management of relationships and communication with the school community

 

The management of relationships is carried out effectively and communication with the school community is reported to be equally so. The re-establishment of a Parents’ Association was recommended as an additional resource in this context.

 

1.5 Management of pupils

Pupil management is attended to in a very effective manner throughout the school. Helpful policies on discipline and bullying have been drawn up by the staff and have been ratified by the board. The fruits of these policies were in clear evidence during the evaluation.

 

 

2.     Quality of school planning

 

2.1 Whole-school and classroom planning

 

The quality of whole-school planning is praiseworthy and a commendable plan has been prepared in relation to all the curricular areas. The relevant parties have collaborated in the planning process. This includes staff, board of management as well as the support services. Accordingly it was noted during the evaluation that the teaching and learning process throughout the school has benefited  significantly as a result.  

 

The quality of classroom planning is a very significant factor in relation to overall educational provision in this school. It clearly facilitates the implementation of carefully selected objectives and the choice of useful templates ensures that fruitful emphasis is placed on a range of learning outcomes.

 

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

Is mór is fiú caighdeán Gaeilge na n-oidí sa scoil i gcoitinne maraon leis an ndícheall a chaitheann siad i mbun an teagaisc. Dá thoradh sin bhí roinnt mhaith samplaí de theagasc a bhí ar ard-chaighdeán le feiceáil le linn an mheasúnaithe. Moltar go mór an bhéim a leagtar ar fhorbairt na cumarsáide ag leibhéil ar leith agus is léir go bhfuil dul chun cinn breá á dhéanamh ag na leibhéil seo. Cuireadh comhairle ar fáil maidir le slite ina bhféadfaí cur chuige cumarsáideach a fhorbairt a thuilleadh ar bhonn scoile feasta. Múintear scileanna na léitheoireachta go cumasach ar fud na scoile ach meastar gur gá béim bhreise a chur ar an léitheoireacht mar chaitheamh aimsire anois. Cuireadh comhairle ar fáil ina thaobh seo. Chonacthas samplaí fónta de theagasc na scríbhneoireachta le linn an mheasúnaithe. Pléadh an tabhacht a bhaineann leis an scríbhneoireacht phearsanta chomh maith leis an obair chomhoibritheach sa chomhthéacs seo.

 

Irish

The standard of Irish among the teaching staff is generally high as is their commitment to teaching the language. Accordingly several samples of high quality tuition were noted during the evaluation. The emphasis placed on developing effective communication skills at certain levels is highly commended and ensures that significant progress is made. Advice was provided on means by which a communicative approach to language teaching may be further enhanced on a whole-school basis. The skills of Irish reading are taught fruitfully throughout the school, however it is felt that reading for pleasure should be further emphasised in the short-term. Advice was provided in this regard. Effective approaches to the teaching of writing were also observed during the evaluation. The importance of personal and collaborative writing were discussed in this context.      

 

 

 

English

The four principal language skills in English are carefully nurtured throughout the school. The focus on improving the quality of pupils’ oral language is highly commended in many instances. Similarly efforts to ensure pupil engagement during well-focused discussions is also commended.

 

 Key reading skills are generally taught very purposefully and the results of standardised testing indicate that a significant number of pupils reach a high standard. The specific needs of a small number of pupils were discussed during the evaluation. The promotion of reading for pleasure is also an important feature of the work.  

 

The principal skills of writing are taught fruitfully. In this regard many pupils attain a high standard in the appropriate genres as set out in the curriculum. Standards of presentation and penmanship are commended.

 

3.2 Mathematics

 

The school plan for Mathematics is well thought out and clearly provided a sound basis for the teaching and learning of this key subject area on a whole-school basis. Accordingly a cohesive approach to the language of mathematics, number operations, activity learning as well as  problem-solving strategies were noted during the evaluation.

 

The quality of tuition is frequently of a commendable nature which ensures that careful attention is paid to the internalisation of concepts. Manipulative materials are used very effectively at various levels where pupils are fruitfully guided in activity learning. Important aspects of the programme are imaginatively linked with other relevant areas of the curriculum to highlight some of their practical applications. The results of standardised testing suggest that learning outcomes in this area are praiseworthy.

 

3.3 Visual Arts

 

The importance of the visual arts in the pupils’ holistic development is clearly outlined in the school plan. Attractive programmes of work are followed at all levels throughout the school which ensure that the pupils gain considerable experience in a wide variety of techniques. The lessons are carefully structured and responding to art is promoted effectively.

 

 

3.4 Assessment

 

Both standardised as well as teacher-designed tests are administered in accordance with policies as outlined in the school plan. The standardised tests include Sigma T, Micra T and the Drumcondra Reading Test. The advantages of diagnostic testing were discussed during the evaluation and guidance for their future use was provided.

 

 

4.     Quality of support for pupils

 

4.1 Pupils with special educational needs

 

A caring and committed approach regarding provision for pupils with special educational needs was noted during the evaluation. In addition, high levels of collaboration between the relevant parties is also an important feature of the provision. Some specific advice was offered in relation to sourcing additional guidance on special educational needs.

 

 

 

 

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.