Introduction: The focus of the Evaluation: A school self-evaluation of teaching and learning in Four Masters national School was continued during the period October 2013 – September 2014. During the evaluation, teaching and learning in English in particular was examined. Focus was also given to the schools’ revised Anti-Bulling Policy which was sanctioned by the Board of Management for use in the school from Easter 2014. This is a report on the findings of the evaluation, especially in relation to Literacy.
School context: The school was established in 1847, although it has only been in the present building since 1985. The school has a Catholic ethos but we welcome pupils from all or no religious backgrounds. Our school logos are “Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí” and “Ní neart go cur le chéile”. We believe that the best results come from parents and teachers working together. The school has grown rapidly in recent years. It has almost doubled in size i.e. pupil numbers and actual physical size since 1999. Enrolment in that year was one hundred and forty seven; today it is two hundred and sixty eight. The school has a staff of ten mainstream teachers, three full time Special Education Needs teachers, one part time Special Education Needs teacher and three fulltime Special Needs Assistants. We also have a full time secretary and a part-time caretaker and a part-time cleaner. The findings: (a) Findings from Pupil Questionnaires distributed to and completed by two hundred and fifty five of our two hundred and sixty eight pupils. • 88% of pupils said they liked reading. • 75.2% said they felt they were good at reading. • 89% said the interactive whiteboard was used sometimes in their classroom during English lessons. • 63% said there were good books to read in their classrooms. • 80% said they find spellings easy to learn. • 75% said they find written work easy. • 72% said they get to read magazines and or internet articles in English class. (b) It is clear from pupil answers that they view reading in a very positive light but it is also clear that they need more reading material for their class libraries, especially in senior classrooms. (c) Findings from Parent Questionnaires )these were distributed to the parents of Junior infants, First Class, Third Class and Fifth Class) 132 were distributed and 101 returned i.e. 76.5% • 94% of parents said their child liked reading. • 92% said their child was doing well at reading. • 85% said they often listen to their child read. • 86% said their child enjoys learning spellings. • 92% said their child likes to write/tell stories It is clear from Parent Questionnaires that parents are very happy with the overall standard of their childrens’ reading and that they listen to their children reading which is a big help to the school. (d) Findings from Teacher Questionnaires (13 distributed; 10 returned) 100% enjoy teaching Literacy 100% said they use ICT for teaching and learning of Literacy 60% said they had enough resources to teach Literacy 75% said they base their teaching of Literacy on Curriculum rather than on text books 90% are happy that they differentiate effectively when teaching Literacy It is clear from teachers responses that teachers are enthusiastic and largely confident in their teaching of Literacy. However they need more resources especially in area of oral language development and comprehension. (e) Specific findings from Infant Pupil Survey: 85% said they liked Jolly Phonics 90% said they were good at it 99% said they like class playtime i.e. Aistear and free play 78% said they like to tell stories 69% said they felt they were good at telling stories. (f) Findings from analysis of Drumcondra Reading Tests over past four school years i.e. 2010/2011; 2011/2012; 2012/2013. 2010/2011 Sten 1-3 Sten 4 Sten 5 Stem 6 Stem 7 Stem 8-10 12% 13% 13% 15% 11% 36%
Sixth Class Date of Test: 29.05.2014 Test Administered: Drumcondra Primary Reading Test Level 6 Number of Pupils: 27 Stem 10 Stem 9 Stem 8 Stem 7 Stem 6 Stem 5 Stem 4 Stem 3 Stem 2 Stem 1 3 2 6 4 6 3 2 1
Summary of School Self-Evaluation findings: Our school has strengths in the following areas: • Pupils, parents and staff have very positive attitudes towards teaching and learning in English. • The sten attainments in English of our pupils on standardised tests over the past four years are well above the national average. • Staff use modern methodologies i.e. interactive whiteboard more and more in their teaching of literacy. The following areas are prioritised for improvement: • Oral language skills of the pupils throughout the school. • Comprehension skills throughout the school. • Libraries in senior section of school. Progress will be reviewed by staff on a regular basis during the 2014/15 school year during our Haddington Road hours.