An Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta

 

Department of Education and Science

 

Whole School Evaluation

REPORT

 

 

Scoil Náisiúnta Thír an Fhia

Lettermore, County Galway

Roll number: 17689O

 

Date of inspection: 10 October 2007

                                                                                                                      Date of issue of report:  17 January 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whole-school evaluation

Introduction – school context and background

1.     Quality of school management

2.     Quality of School Planning

3.     Quality of learning and teaching

4.     Quality of support for pupils

5.  Summary of findings and recommendations for further development

 

 


Whole
-school evaluation

 

A whole-school evaluation of Scoil Náisiúnta Tír an Fhia was undertaken in October 2007.  This report presents the findings of the evaluation and makes recommendations for improvement. The evaluation focused on the quality of teaching and learning in English, Irish, Mathematics and Physical Education. Following the evaluation visit, the inspector provided oral feedback on the outcomes of the evaluation to the staff and to the board of management. 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.

 

 

 Introductionschool context and background

 

Scoil Náisiúnta Tír an Fhia is a co-educational school situated in the Islands’ region on the western seaboard of the Gaeltacht, approximately 52 kilometres west of Galway city. This Gaeltacht school is under the patronage of the Bishop of Tuam, and under the management of the Presentation Order. The school was built in 1949 to replace the old school that still stands behind the present building.  This is a four-teacher school, which includes a teaching principal.

This school has recognised status as a school in a disadvantaged area and has, therefore, access to additional resource services, which include the school support programmes Delivering Equality of Opportunities in Schools (DEIS) and the School Completion Programme. The positive impact of these schemes is evident from the significant improvement that has taken place in the attendance figures in recent years. Pupils have very good attendance records at present. The persistent efforts of staff and of the board of management in promoting good attendance patterns are commendable.

 

The majority of pupils live within a four kilometre radius of the school. Although the enrolment figures have decreased since 1999 when the last school report was issued, the numbers enrolled have increased over the past three years. This surge in enrolment is as a consequence of the closure of another small school in the area, and the return of a number of emigrants to the area, particularly from England and America. English is the home language of some of the pupils attending the school. This presents some challenges for the teachers in providing adequately for the learning needs of these pupils, while ensuring at the same time that Irish is the language of communication in the school, particularly during break times. It is hoped that an enrolment figure of 60 will be maintained in the foreseeable future.

 

 

1.     Quality of school management

 

1.1 Characteristic spirit, mission or vision

The aim of the school is to maintain an atmosphere that is Irish and Christian, to attend in particular to each pupil’s social, spiritual and intellectual needs, so that each pupil may derive joy and happiness from his/her school experience. The school community displays a good understanding of, and commitment towards the achievement of these aims. Staff members work together in a respectful, courteous and collegial manner. The staff has fostered a welcoming and distinctively Irish atmosphere, with great emphasis placed on working in partnership with parents and with the local community. The Irish language is acknowledged as an important aspect of the cultural heritage of the area.

 

1.2 Board of management

The composition of the board of management is in accordance with agreed procedures. The board responds attentively to its responsibilities in regard to the efficient management of the school. The chairperson has extensive experience of managing schools and she is in regular contact with the principal and with the teaching staff. Some representatives of the board of management attended a half-day training seminar, which was organised by the diocese. It would be of value to seek the advice of the School Development Support Services with a view to providing a training course for the new board members appointed prior to the end of this school term.

 

A minimum of two board meetings per term are organised to provide for the management of the school and to discuss educational matters. Comprehensive handwritten minutes are kept of these meetings. It was reported during the preliminary meeting with the board of management that there is usually full attendance at board meetings. It was also reported that all board representatives are conscientiously committed to supporting the provision of a broad and balanced education for the pupils in the school. Members of the board have responsibility for various tasks based on their own range of experiences. A financial report is provided at each meeting and account books are used to provide a clear outline of income and expenditure. The board is advised to provide an annual audit of the school accounts.

 

The board participates in the process of whole-school planning and fulfils its obligations in accordance with the Education Act, 1998 regarding the statutory policies that form part of the school plan. The school is compliant with the Department’s regulations regarding the length of the school day and the school year, and in regard to pupil retention. It is noted, however, that there are variations in regard to the maximum number of pupils assigned to certain classrooms. It is recommended that efforts be made to ensure that there is an even distribution of pupils in each of the class groupings and that only a minimum difference in pupil numbers occurs between the largest and the smallest classes.

 

Drafts of the various curriculum policies are presented for approval to the board of management. The majority of these policies have been approved, signed and dated following the board’s agreement. The specific issues discussed during the last three board meetings related to financial matters, the principal’s report, accommodation, a grant for new computers, matters pertaining to the welfare of children, educational provision for pupils with learning difficulties, sports’ services, staff meetings, and curriculum and administrative policies. It is clear from the minutes that policies are not formally reviewed or drafted at each meeting. It is recommended that a specific time allocation be provided at each meeting for the drafting and reviewing of school policies. The board is advised to review the school’s admission policy to ensure that this policy is compliant with the Department’s regulations regarding the provision of resources and the registration of pupils with special educational needs. It would be helpful, as a means of maintaining good relationships and communication with parents, to provide a summary of the main policies in an information booklet or in an annual report from the board.

 

The board of management indicated its satisfaction with the work and diligence of the staff and with the importance attached to the ongoing professional development of teachers. It would be worthwhile to maintain a record in the school of the additional professional development courses undertaken by teachers with a view to reviewing their effectiveness on an annual basis. It is acknowledged that the board of management, the staff, and the parents are in agreement regarding the central role of the school in supporting the Irish language. Only teachers fluent in the Irish language are appointed to the school. The board of management minutes indicate that the board intends to provide Irish classes for parents who have limited fluency in Irish. It is recommended that these Irish classes be provided as soon as possible. A statement highlighting the school’s efforts in fulfilling the requirements of Section 9 of the Education Act, 1998 by providing these Irish classes should be included in the whole-school Irish policy.

 

The school was recently renovated through the Summer Works’ Scheme funded by the Department of Education and Science. The heating system was upgraded and one of the classrooms was converted to a learning-support room and a principal’s office. The shelter in the yard was demolished with a view to providing additional recreational space. Plans are currently under discussion by the board to improve the surface of the school yard and to develop a car park in order to improve safety for pupils. Discussions are underway between the board and the Presentation Order with a view to acquiring more land in order to complete this work. The board deserves commendation for what has been achieved to date and for the good appearance of the building and the manner in which it is carefully maintained. The caretaker and the part-time secretary make a significant contribution to ensuring that the school is well organised. Currently the board of management’s priority is to provide a hall or a multi-purposes room for the pupils of the school. Additional investment is also required to purchase new computers for each classroom and to provide additional materials for the resource room and the senior pupils’ classroom. 

 

1.3 In-school management

The principal, deputy principal and a teacher with a special duties post comprise the in-school management team. The principal maintains a welcoming and well organised atmosphere in the school and she displays great commitment and diligence in her day to day management of the school. The principal displays management skills that are open and she succeeds in promoting a spirit of co‑operation among the staff and with the board of management in implementing the school’s code of conduct. Conscientious attention is given to punctuality, pastoral care and safety during break times. A staff meeting is held once a term and minutes are kept of these meetings. It would be beneficial at this point if in-school management meetings were organised to further progress the planning process in a more systematic way. The principal is aware of the challenge presented to the school in regard to supporting those pupils whose first language is not Irish.

 

The duties assigned to post-holders are outlined in the school plan. It is clear, however, that the duties documented in the school plan are not in keeping with the recommendations of Circular 07/03 in regard to curricular, administrative and pastoral care responsibilities. The in-school management team is generally very diligent in regard to the sourcing of learning resources, and in the manner in which the rolls and attendance books are maintained and updated. It is recommended at this point that the special duties that have been assigned are reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that pastoral care, administrative and curricular responsibilities form a part of each post of responsibility and that these duties are in keeping with the current needs of the school.

 

1.4 Management of relationships and communication with the school community

It was reported at the preliminary meeting with parents that there is a good relationship between the staff and the parents of the school. The parents’ association is active in the life of the school and its members are interested in organising extra-curricular activities and in collecting money for various projects. The parents’ association holds regular meetings with other parents, and corresponds regularly with parents to inform them of educational matters in the locality. The principal is invited to attend many of the parents’ association meetings. At the preliminary meetings held with representatives of the parents’ association, it was reported that parents were very satisfied with the commitment of the teachers and with the standard of education provided in the school. The standard of reading was, in particular, commented on most favourably as was the emphasis placed on Irish culture, traditional music, Gaelic football and ‘sean-nós’ singing. Parents would be happy if a suitable room could be provided for Physical Education and if the possibility of providing swimming classes could be investigated, so that every child would be able to swim before completing their primary education.

 

The school organises a meeting for new parents in the third term and they are informed of matters pertaining to their children commencing school, including literacy skills, school rules and the code of behaviour of the school. Parents are invited to attend a formal parent-teacher meeting in the first term each year so that each child’s progress can be discussed. Written reports of pupils’ achievements in the various curricular areas are not currently issued to parents. It is recommended that a written school report be issued to each parent to inform them of their children’s progress. It would be helpful to retain copies of these reports in a central location in the school to assist in the process of assessment for learning.

 

1.5 Management of pupils

The teaching staff is to be commended for the manner in which pupils are well trained in regard to behaviour, manners and courtesy. A very respectful and pleasant relationship between the staff and the pupils is evident in classrooms and in the general school environment. This good relationship derives from the spirit of co-operation fostered, the development of pupils’ self-confidence, the effective management of classes and pupils’ own interest in learning. Positive behaviour management strategies are applied and the code of behaviour is both fair and reasonable. The pupils have a good understanding of the school rules. Particular emphasis is placed on encouraging pupils to act responsibly and recently the pupils were awarded the Green Flag.

 

2.     Quality of School Planning

 

2.1 Whole school and classroom planning

The school development planning process has progressed well, in particular during the past four years. The national support services have been used to good effect in seeking advice on the effective implementation of active teaching methodologies. The teaching staff and the members of the board of management are those most engaged in the planning process and in the development of administrative policies. At the meeting held with the parents’ association, it was indicated that the parents of the school are not yet very involved in the planning process. Policies are made available to parents, as requested. It is recommended that an action plan be developed in conjunction with the education co-ordinator and the parents’ association to strengthen the role of the parents in the whole-school development planning process.

 

The various policies, including administrative and curriculum policies, are very clearly organised in two folders. Frameworks for policy reviews are recorded as appropriate. An admissions policy, a code of behaviour and a bullying prevention policy are available, as is a safety policy, attendance policy, equal opportunities’ policy and special needs’ policy. In addition other administrative policies developed assist in providing for the good management of the school. The effectiveness of the administrative planning process is evident in the orderly administration of daily events in the school.

 

The practical curricular policies developed in the different curricular areas indicate that a good review has taken place on the various teaching methodologies and schemes in use on a whole-school basis. The policy on Irish was reviewed at the beginning of the current school year under the guidance of a cuiditheoir from the Regional Curriculum Support Service (RCSS). The presentation of this policy is commendable and reference to Article 9, sub-sections (f) and (h) have been included in regard to the school’s efforts in maintaining Irish as the main language in the community. The policy for the implementation of English is clear and helpful. However the policies for Mathematics and Physical Education lack clarity and comprehensiveness. The teachers intend to review the mathematics’ policy this year.  It is recommended that a developmental programme be developed in the school plan to include the specific concepts, skills and content to be taught at each level in the various curriculum areas. It would be helpful to list and identify the resources available for each subject as a reference point for all teachers. It is recommended that this work be delegated so that all teachers are involved  in the self-evaluation process.

 

Comprehensive learning programmes are prepared for those individual pupils who have learning difficulties. The layout and the clarity of the specific learning objectives included in these individual programmes are highly commendable. All teachers provide long-term and short-term plans, as well as monthly progress reports for their teaching and make appropriate reference to the strands of the various curricular areas. In the majority of the plans, commendable attention is given to the content, learning objectives, resources, teaching methods and assessment strategies in use. Whole-school templates are used in these classes. Other plans are guided by the content of textbooks and workbooks, and the preparation in those classes is therefore limited. In addressing the whole-school approach to teacher preparation and planning, it is recommended that the good planning practice that currently exists be identified, agreed, implemented and extended throughout the school on a whole-school basis.

 

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

 

Irish

Irish is the vernacular language of instruction used on a continuous basis in each classroom. Pupils display a very good understanding of the language and the majority of pupils whose first language is not Irish are managing very well to acquire the language. The board of management has, with support from the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, appointed a language assistant. This service provides additional support for pupils who have little Irish when they begin in the school.

 

The teachers succeed well in consistently providing a good standard of teaching in Irish and in some classes the standard is excellent. Pupils in some classes enjoy and are able to confidently recite a wide range of rhymes, poems and songs. Pupils in senior classes occasionally have opportunities to hear extracts of poems and stories from Irish culture. Greater emphasis is placed on the direct teaching method in these classes. In the examples of best practice observed, opportunities are provided for pupils to engage actively in the learning process, to work on challenging and interesting tasks, and to develop their communication skills using whole sentences during pair work. Effective use is also made of display charts and the Séideán Sí materials in these classes. The approaches used in these classes greatly assist teachers in achieving their teaching objectives and in consolidating pupils’ learning. It is recommended that this good practice be extended throughout the school to enhance pupils’ retention skills. In order to achieve this aim, there is a need for greater reflection in some classes in relation to the use of active learning methodologies and to place greater emphasis on the systematic planning of content to support the assessment of pupils’ learning outcomes. It would also be helpful to clarify in the school plan the school’s approach to learning poetry and to provide appropriate compilations of poems for each class level.

 

A commendable start is evident in the development of pre-reading skills in the infant classes. Pupils are provided with valuable experiences of regularly reading large-format books and real books in Irish. Irish novels are used as a reading source throughout the school in order to encourage an interest in reading. A good range of library books is available throughout the school and, in most classes reading records are maintained and are signed by the parents. This good practice is commendable and should be extended throughout the school. The teachers create a motivational learning environment by using a wide range of printed materials, tongue-twisters and proverbs, as well as displays and samples of pupils’ writing. Pre-instructional discussion takes place on the content of the text and regular periods of recreational reading are organised. Pupils read fluently and with understanding, in accordance with their abilities, using a good degree of accuracy in their pronunciation.  A good emphasis is placed on developing accuracy in pronunciation. Pupils are skilfully questioned in order to develop higher-order thinking skills.

 

Pupils generally complete satisfactory written work in Irish. This written work is frequently linked to reading material, pupils’ own lives and current affairs. Appropriate opportunities are provided for pupils to engage in functional writing and in creative writing. The stories written by pupils are of a high standard and their understanding of grammar is improved through the exercises completed in copybooks. A good emphasis is placed on personal writing in other areas of the curriculum and a good standard of writing is evident in the copybooks. It would be beneficial if computers were used on a more regular basis during the writing process to facilitate the editing of a wider range of genres from infant classes onwards.

 

Pupils’ achievement in Irish is assessed by means of questioning, teacher observation, spelling tests and other informal strategies. It would be worthwhile, at this point, to review the assessment materials available for Irish and to develop language profiles for each pupil in order to record the progress they are making.

 

English

Oral English is taught from the beginning of the infant classes and the formal teaching of English reading commences from senior infants onwards. The skills of speaking and listening are developed effectively in every class during discrete oral language lessons. Pupils’ higher-order thinking skills are well developed through the use of effective teacher questioning and discussion of the reading content. A wide repertoire of rhymes is recited, poetry is presented in a lively and engaging manner and the discussion that follows is managed skilfully. The Chatterbox scheme and oral language games are used in order to develop pupils’ speaking and listening skills. A wide variety of learning contexts is provided for the youngest pupils and they respond enthusiastically to the stories in the large-format books and to the drama sessions organised. In certain classes the planning would be more effective if more detailed information was recorded and more references made to the expected learning outcomes in order to ensure continuity in learning from one level to the next.

 

An appropriate range of books, particularly novels for different groups and parallel readers, is available in the various classes with a view to encouraging pupils’ interest in reading.  In most classes the teachers apply an appropriate range of methodologies to teach reading and the different ability levels within the classes are catered for appropriately. In most classes there is a good balance given to oral language and listening, and to reading and written tasks. A phonemic and phonological awareness programme is skilfully linked to aspects of early writing. Good attention is given to word recognition in the junior classes. In some classes good attention is also given to analysing the characters in stories and poems. In certain classes it is evident that the pupils derive great pleasure from reading novels in groups. In other classes whole-class teaching is commonly practiced. It is recommended at this point that examples of good practice are identified and extended throughout the school.

 

Most pupils read with understanding and fluency and pupils’ skills are systematically developed as they progress through the school. Results of standardised tests also indicate that many of the pupils are confident readers by the time they reach the higher classes. The school secretary provides a three- hour allocation of additional shared reading each week for various pupils. This service is funded by the Departmental School Completion Programme.

 

Handwriting is developed in a systematic and structured way from third class to sixth class and pupils have reached a commendable standard in this aspect of the work. Functional writing activities are also well catered for with these activities derived in the main from workbooks. It was apparent during the evaluation that satisfactory progress is being made throughout the school in the various genres of creative writing. Pupils also have regular opportunities to engage in writing activities in other curricular areas.

 

3.2 Mathematics

Many pupils have achieved a very good standard in Mathematics and differentiated learning is emphasised. Standardised test results and the responses of pupils during the evaluation indicate that pupils have gained a good understanding of the various concepts. The teachers use a wide range of oral activities and mathematical games in order to progress mental arithmetic. Aspects of the mathematics programme are very effectively linked to, and integrated with, other curricular areas. Pupils throughout the school are encouraged to use their reflective skills to solve problems on a daily basis. Careful attention is given to teaching mathematical terms in a structured way and worthwhile debate is encouraged in all classes in order to consolidate the pupils’ understanding. Good practice is evident in those classes where mathematical games, active learning methods and other relevant activities are used, to consolidate the mathematical concepts. In the senior classes the textbooks are mainly adhered to and only the blackboard is used to explain the mathematical concepts. It would be worthwhile extending the good practice by adopting a whole-school approach to the use of relevant materials and of technology in order to consolidate and facilitate learning. It is recommended that mathematical trails be developed and used in a systematic way throughout the school in order to base problems and problem-solving on aspects of the immediate school environment. It is recommended that the school plan now be updated with a view to clarifying the content and concepts for each class level.

 

3.3 Physical Education

Each of the strands of the physical education curriculum, with the exception of the Aquatics strand, receives a balanced input. Boys and girls are given equal opportunities in the various activities that are organised. The school has invested in the provision of a wide range of resources. The lessons evaluated were well managed in an effective and orderly manner, and breadth and variety pertained to the content of the lessons.

 

The school makes good use of the facilities in the local environment. The teachers receive support from external tutors in the teaching of athletics and gymnastics for a period of ten weeks, through the support of the scheme Seirbhísí Spóirt Chonamara. These classes are organised, under the supervision of the teachers, in the Sports’ Centre at Máimín Park. The school has to provide a bus for these events to ensure the safety of the children on the road. Another tutor provides football training for pupils as part of the pilot scheme Scéim Oiliúna Peile agus Iománaíochta Gaeltachta na Gaillimhe. The school participates in football leagues and a Sports’ Day is organised annually.

 

Limited provision is currently made for aquatics education because the nearest swimming pool to the school is located in Galway city. The school has recently looked at the possibility of seeking the support of the School Completion Programme in order to provide swimming lessons in the third term.  It is recommended that attention be given to this area of the curriculum with the support of the parents’ association to ensure that all pupils can swim before they leave primary school. It is also recommended that the school plan be developed to include a more detailed and systematic outline of the various activities for each class level in accordance with each of the strands of the curriculum.

 

3.4 Assessment

The assessment methods in use include teacher observation, table tests, dictation and spelling tests in English and in Irish, standardised tests, teacher-designed tests and tests from the textbooks. Pupils’ written work is carefully and regularly monitored and a very good emphasis is placed on orderly and neat presentation in copybooks.

 

In some classes checklists are maintained of pupils’ ongoing progress. Such good practice is commendable and it would be worth extending such practice on a whole-school basis. The standardised Micra-T and Sigma-T tests are used from first class onwards to assess pupils’ achievements in Mathematics and in English. Careful records are maintained of the results of these tests. These results are analysed from year to year to ensure that each pupil achieves his/her potential in school. The Belfield Infant Assessment Profile (BIAP) is administered in junior infants and the Middle Infants Screening Test (MIST) is administered in senior infants with a view to selecting pupils for the Forward Together Programme. The outcomes of the Non-Reading Intelligence Test and other diagnostic tests used provide additional specific information to assist in giving direction to teaching and learning. A commendable emphasis is placed on differentiation within the learning tasks, and on adapting them to suit the varying needs of pupils throughout the school. As a result, pupils are motivated to learn and the various tasks presented to them are quite challenging. It is recommended that curriculum profiles now be initiated in order to record the progress of individual pupils, and that a whole-school plan for assessment be developed so that all parties are aware of the work  that is taking place in the school.

 

 

4.     Quality of support for pupils

 

4.1 Pupils with special educational needs

In accordance with Circular 02/05, the staff has developed a comprehensive special needs policy during the current school year. This policy provides clear direction for the whole-school procedures being implemented regarding pupils with learning difficulties and special educational needs. No pupil with special needs is attending the school during the current school year. The eight pupils who have been identified as having learning difficulties in English and/or in Mathematics are well supported. Class teachers make every effort to adapt the learning content to suit their particular ability levels. Additional support is provided in small groups, mainly outside the classroom. Relevant materials, word banks and good questioning are used during the teaching process. It is recommended that an inclusive approach be adopted through the provision of some of the additional teaching support within the mainstream classrooms. 

 

Appropriate individual intervention programmes have been developed by the support teacher in collaboration with the class teacher. It was reported that parents also participate in the formulation of these individual learning programmes. In addition to the standardised tests administered, a range of diagnostic tests are also used to identify the specific learning objectives and to confirm the achievement of pupils. These tests include the QUEST, Jackson’s Phonics and the Diagnostic Reading Analysis. The learning objectives are linked to specific time-frames. The teaching strategies and resources required to achieve these objectives are appropriately identified. It was indicated that communication takes place on a regular basis with parents/guardians to assist them in providing additional support for their children at home.

 

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

The school’s policy on equal opportunities indicates that pupils from all backgrounds are welcome to the school and that emphasis is placed on providing equal opportunities for each member of the school community. The members of the parents’ association were very forthcoming in their praise for the staff in providing equal opportunities for girls and boys. Attention is given to providing an inclusive environment, although the school has only one international pupil attending at present. Healthy eating habits are encouraged in the school by providing fruit, and a school book rental scheme also exists. The school receives a grant as part of the School Completion Programme to provide homework classes after school on two afternoons each week.

 

Objectives and action plans have been set out in the school’s three-year DEIS plans in order to focus additional attention on improving pupils’ literacy and numeracy skills and to strengthen parental involvement. It would be helpful to record specific dates in this plan and to take further account of the school context, so that progress from one term to the next can be closely monitored. The DEIS education co-ordinator spends one day each week in the school and provides additional support to pupils in English, Mathematics and functional writing. Home visits are regularly arranged and parents are invited to attend information evenings and evening classes. It is intended to provide Irish classes during the current school term and to issue newsletters on a regular basis to parents in order to disseminate information about school activities.

 

5.  Summary of findings and recommendations for further development

 

The following are the main strengths identified in the evaluation:

·         A distinctive Irish atmosphere that is welcoming, committed, and collegial is evident in the school.

·         Good relationships have been fostered among all parties in the school and the board of management is to be commended for the ongoing conscientious support it provides to the staff of the school.

·         Good progress is being made in the planning process and in the development of administrative and curricular policies.

·         The good behaviour, courtesy, listening skills and efforts of the pupils are commendable.

·         The standard of teaching is commendable in those classes where active teaching methodologies are used, tasks are designed by the teacher, and concrete materials are used during lessons.

·         A good standard has been achieved in Mathematics and in Irish and English reading.

·         Good practices in the teaching of handwriting have been observed throughout the school.

·         Pupils’ co-ordination and fitness skills are well developed in Physical Education.

·         A very strong emphasis is placed on differentiated learning in the different class levels whereby cognisance is given to the specific learning needs of pupils.

 

As a means of building on these strengths and to address areas for development, the following key recommendations are made:

·         The school is advised to ensure that a fair distribution of pupils is assigned to each of the mainstream classes and that only a minimum difference exists between the largest and the smallest class grouping, as outlined in Circular 0020/2007.

·         It is recommended that the responsibilities assigned to each post-holder are regularly reviewed to include organisational, pastoral care, administrative and curriculum duties, with a view to supporting the work of the whole-school development planning process. (Circular 17/2000

·         It is recommended that ongoing regular review be undertaken in relation to:

- teachers’ planning methods for teaching and that good practice be extended throughout

  the school

- recording more specific information in the plan to indicate what development will take

  place at each class level in the different strands of the curriculum.

- the use of Information and Communication Technologies as a support to teaching

- the use of mathematics’ trails based on the school environment in order to assess pupils’

  understanding and progress in a more integrated way.

·         It is recommended that parents have a more active role in the school planning process.

·         It is recommended that a school report be issued each year to parents to inform them of the progress of their children.

 

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