St.Patrick's N.S. Curtlestown

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School Self Evaluation report


Due to an embargo on school formally co-operating with the Self Evaluation Process, this is our most recent report February 2016.
At present we are focussing on the introduction of the New Primary Language curriculum for pupils from Junior Infants to 2nd class

St. Patrick's N.S.

School Self-Evaluation Report

Evaluation period: Sept/ 2014 to June/ 2015

Report issue date: June 2015
Updated February 2016

School Self-Evaluation Report

1. Introduction

1.1 The focus of the evaluation
A school self-evaluation of teaching and learning in St. Patrick's N.S was undertaken during the period from Sept 2014 to June 2015. During the evaluation, teaching and learning in the following curriculum areas were evaluated:

" Literacy ; (2014 -2017)
" Numeracy: Understanding and using Mathematics (2012-2015)
" An Ghaeilge (Autumn 2015 -2018)

This is a report on the findings of the evaluation.

1.2 School context
St Patrick's is a 3 teacher multi-grade school with mixed enrolment under the Patronage of The Archbishop of Dublin. The majority of pupils come from the local rural area and there is a strong sense of local community. Parental support for their children's education is strong. Enrolment is steady, with a slight increase in the past 2 years.

2. The findings

After an initial review of standardised testing scores, we chose Numeracy and in particular Problem Solving as our first area to evaluate. Measurement was add as a component from the June 2014 Evaluation (Numeracy Plan updated 2015 attached). We also took part in a pilot study in Fundamental Movement Skills training and the evaluation of teaching and learning in P.E. in our school was part of this process. In the school year 2014-2015, we focussed on evaluating practice in the teaching and learning of Literacy.

" Literacy
We feel that the standard of reading in Literacy is relatively high based on our scores in both the Drumcondra and Micra T tests carried out annually. Due to the small class numbers, caution is exercised drawing conclusion in class groups smaller than 10. See results attached in Appendix 1. Pupils in the Infants follow an individualised reading programme. Power hour has been successfully introduced this year for pupils in 1st and 2nd class. Work focuses on reading for comprehension and fluency, words attack skills and improving instant sight vocabulary. Pupils from 2nd class to 6th class use class novels from a variety of authors.
We decided to look at oral language for our chosen area as we felt standards in this area are fundamental to performance in written work.

Attainment of curriculum objectives
The results of a S.C.O.T. analysis showed that we felt that our pupils had good vocabulary in general and could speak for a sustained time on a given topic when required, but didn't have the opportunity to speak across a range of genres. There was also limited use of connectives. Listening to other pupils speaking was also an issue and we needed to look at creating a richer language environment.
We used an assessment checklist to observe a sample of 6 tracker children in each classroom. (Appendix 2 ) Pupils were observed in their role as speakers and as listeners. We found that spontaneous use of descriptive language was lacking. There was some confusion in the use of tenses and limited use of connectives.

Learning environment
Pupils in the lower classes were given discrete opportunities daily to speak, with timetabled oral work for story, poetry circle time discussions. Oral work was more integrated into other subjects up through the school and new vocabulary linked into that subject matter. Discussion and reporting were the most common forms of oral work engaged in. Opportunities for Pair and Share work were provided. Pupils in the Senior class engaged in debating.

Pupils' engagement in learning
On the whole, the children are confident speakers who enjoy the opportunity to express themselves. Active Listening is a skill that needs attention.

Preparation for teaching
Long term and short term plans are prepared. Expected learning outcomes in relation to oral language need to be stated more specifically at times. There are specific expected learning outcomes for the development of literacy skills across most curriculum areas, particularly S.E.S.E. subjects and S.P.H.E. Written plans clearly indicate the teaching approaches, resources and activities that will facilitate the achievement of the expected learning outcomes. Assessment of the pupils learning is indicated in written plans. More planning for the use of self assessment could be used.

Teaching approaches
Many methodologies are used in the school. Some more so in the younger classes and others up the way. Opportunities for Pair and Share work are provided in talk and discussion. Active and Collaborative learning are employed in debating. The acquisition of Skills through Content can be seen in the preparation of Book Reviews and Personal news recounting. Modelling language, Story, Play/ Games and Improvisational drama are all seen to some extent through out the school.

Teacher observation is the main form of assessment used in Oral literacy at present. As mentioned above more self assessment and peer assessment techniques could be employed. Learning intentions are shared by the teacher at the beginning of lessons and success criteria are regularly displayed in the middle and senior part of the school. Getting the pupils to use these criteria is the next step towards self/ peer assessment.

3. Progress made on previously-identified improvement targets
Our initial focus was on Problem Solving in Numeracy. We were aiming to increase average class scores by 5%.
The average class score for the school has remained the same at 56% in the Spring Drumcondra Testings., However within class groups which track the same groups of children, there have been yearly improvements.
Current 6th class's scores have improved from a 52% average to a 67% average..
Current 5th class scores have improved from an average 55% to 73% average.
Current 4th class scores have improved from an average 42% to 55% average.
Current 3rd class scores have improved from an average 39% to 49% average.
Current 2nd class scores have moved from an average 45% to 42% average.

In Measurement, on which we have been focussing since Sept 2014,
Current 6th class's scores have improved from a 58% average to a 64% average..
Current 5th class scores have improved from an average 60% to 73% average.
Current 4th class scores have improved from an average 37% to 55% average.
Current 3rd class scores have improved from an average 34% to 52% average.
Current 2nd class scores have moved from an average 44% to 46% average

4. Summary of school self-evaluation findings

4.1 Our school has strengths in the following areas:
Standardised testing results indicate scores that compare favourably with national averages in both Maths and English reading. Our pupils are confident speakers with good vocabularies who enjoy the opportunity to speak. Teachers prepare long and short term plans for the learning and teaching in their classrooms.

4.2 The following areas are prioritised for improvement:

1. Pupils need to learn to speak across a wider variety of genres.
2. Active listening skills need to be taught and practised.
3. Use of better descriptive language needs to be encouraged through the creation of a richer language environment.
4. Assessment methods need to be more varied and make more use of self and peer assessment.

More specifically;

Oral genres
For the school year 20015/16, each class will focus on the oral genres, reporting and debating.
Using the PDST language frameworks, each fortnight, one type of report will be covered
" TV/Radio reports; teachers will choose appropriate clips from RTE player, BBC, National Geographic website. Pupils listen to and analyse the specific language structures and features of this text type. Pupils can record key information under the 5W headings
" My News; will be told daily in the infants classroom and weekly in .classes 1st to 6th The5W framework will be used here and pupils will introduce the topic of their news and work on other criteria such as descriptive language, attention, eye contact
" Today's News Report will be created and presented by all classes, based on previously viewed TV/ RADIO reports or an event at school or local level. Recordings will be made occasionally to aid self assessment.
" Project reports will be presented to class groups in oral in addition to written/ visual forms
" Book reports

Speech pyramids will be used to help give a graphic structure to the format of reports, where appropriate.

Using the PDST language frameworks each fortnight, activities to develop Arguments and debating skills will be covered

" Yes/No tables when discussing a topic or story
" Brainstorming ideas for and against a topic as a whole class
" Take a Stand activity, using an imaginary line in the classroom. Children choose where they stand on the issue or topic and after listening to other's point of view, reassess their stance.
" Four Corners' Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree and Strongly Disagree.
" Advertisements
" Formal/informal debates to develop awareness of structures, such as introduction, presenting opinion, outlining reasons to back up the held opinion, concluding. Appropriate language will be introduced such as 'I believe.., 'It is my opinion....', 'I know....', 'One of the many reasons...' etc.
Infant classes; I think/ I don't think , Because, Yes/No, I like/don't like, I agree/ disagree ,My favourite
1st and 2nd class; I think/ I don't think, Because, Yes/No, I like/don't like, I agree/ disagree, I have mixed feelings, I strongly agree/disagree, My favourite
3rd to 6th class; I strongly/firmly, thoroughly believe, In my opinion - I opine, I agree/disagree that, It is believed/widely believed, It has been found/proven/discovered, On one hand/other hand, Consider the following, To begin, Furthermore, In fact, Firstly, secondly, next, For example, However/although, To illustrate my point (further), To reinforce my point The problem with --- is, Similarly, conversely, Unlike/like, Conversely, Finally, Therefore, Because of that, Overall, In conclusion, in summary, Consequently/as a result

Active listening skills
The following approaches will be taken to improve listening skills;
" Give simple instructions and directions during all learning activities
" Ask relevant questions
" Read stories aloud to the children and encourage them to re-tell the story in sequence Encourage note-taking using frameworks
" Use dictation drills
" Play games
" Use taped stories and questions
" Gather information
" Complete cloze type activities or unfinished sentences or stories
" Conduct Interviews
" Base topic work on content of radio programmes
" Sequence sentences, ideas and stories
" Listen to songs, poetry and music
" Use instructional exercises

Creation of a richer language environment.

Based on Beck, McKeown, & Kucan (2002) three tiers of vocabulary,
" Direct word-meaning teaching will be used to facilitate children's vocabulary development. Words such as those listed in the 3 tiers will be taught by teaching synonyms, antonyms, root words, suffixes etc. using Word Banks and Word Walls
" Teaching word-learning strategies will be used such as words in context, definitions, word maps
" Varied experiences for using words through reading, writing and oral language will be provided, situations such as Aistear will require searching out new vocabulary, investigations and experiments will require specific vocabulary, reviewing and discussing topics of interest and project work in other subject areas will provide wider ranges of vocabulary needs and vocabulary specific to other oral genres being covered as listed above.
" An awareness and love of words will be fostered through use of word games, word of the week boards, exploration of words with multiple meanings, study of homographs and word play such as spoonerisms.
" Games such as the Chain game will be introduced to promote the gradual expansion of sentences
" Other activities to support a richer language environment include reading or reciting poetry daily, reading a variety of text types aloud to the children daily,

Assessment methods will be more varied and make more use of self and peer assessment.

Summary School Self-Evaluation Report

1. Introduction
Our school has its own context. There are 3(4) class teachers, 3 shared Resource/Learning Support teachers and 68 pupils in the school. We had a number of programmes operating in the school this year including the E.U., Blue Flag, The National Children's Choir, Greenschools, and Primary Science and Mathematics. Our attendance levels are good for most of the school year, dipping as the summer holidays approach. Our pupils' behaviour is good. For more information on how we intend to improve our pupils' learning, please see our School Improvement Plan which is available with this report and on our website.

1.1 The focus of the evaluation
We have undertaken a school self-evaluation of teaching and learning during the past 3 years. We have evaluated teaching and learning in Literacy this year. We have chosen to focus on Oral literacy as our next area for improvement.
Content and skills in Mathematics have been evaluated previously. Monitoring and work in this area is ongoing. We chose to focus on learner outcomes in content (Measurement) and processes (Connecting).

This report summarises the strengths that were identified and the areas that have been prioritised for improvement in Literacy.

2. Summary of school self-evaluation findings
Information was collected from pupils and teachers in preparing this report.
" We looked at how well our pupils were doing in Standardised reading tests. 74% of our pupils scored above the national average in reading
" The teachers carried out a S.C.O.T. analysis. This is used to gather a broad range of evidence on subjects or teaching methodology. SCOT stands for: Strengths, Concerns, Opportunities and Threats. Reading scores throughout the school are above average, we have decided to look at oral language for our chosen area. We feel that standards in this area are fundamental to performance in written work. Teachers prepare long and short plans for English. A wider range of spoken genres needs to be covered. A variety of methodologies are employed and success criteria are stated, but not always share with the pupils.
" The children completed a questionnaire about oral Literacy. Their answers indicated that that 62% of our pupils from 3rd to 6th class felt confident delivering a report on a project or book. 76% were happy to ask questions to find more information. 70% approx found it easy to give directions or instructions. News and listening to stories were the favourite oral lessons.
" We looked at data from teacher observations of speaking and listening skills in a sample of pupils from each class whose performance was tracked over 5 months. Pupils have good vocabulary in general, but need to develop greater fluency. Active listening could be improved.

2.1 We found that our school has strengths in the following areas of Literacy:


74% of our pupils scored above the national average in reading.
We felt that our pupils had good vocabulary in general and could speak for a sustained time on a given topic when required.
The majority of the children were confident to deliver reports, give directions and instructions.

2.2 We have decided to prioritise the following areas for development:
Areas for development

" While pupils generally have a good vocabulary, teachers felt they didn't have the opportunity to speak across a range of genres.
" There was also limited use of connectives which impacted on fluency.
" Actively listening skills needed to be developed further.

Previous targets in Numeracy are ongoing;
" Measures
" Connecting as part of overall Problem solving

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