St. Mary’s College, Ballysadare
School Self Evaluation 2014.
1.1 The focus of the evaluation
A School Self Evaluation of teaching and learning in St. Mary’s College was undertaken during the third term in 2014. Literacy in L1 English and how the teaching and learning in all other subjects support the acquisition of literacy skills were reviewed for student in 2nd Year.
1.2 School context
St. Mary’s College is a coeducational faith based school operating within the traditions of the Sisters of Mercy and the trusteeship of CEIST. Currently, there are 258 students enrolled. We have six feeder schools in our catchment area. We had 28.175 resource hours in 2013-14. We secured the appointment of a Special Needs Assistant in May 2014. Five students qualified for resource teaching under Low Incidence criteria.
LCVP and TY are well- established programmes in the school. The Transition Year programme is increasing in popularity in recent years.
Given the mandated The National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy among Children and Young people 2011-2020, a core team of teachers was established in August 2012 to examine literacy and the acquisition of literacy skills in the school. First Year students were identified as the target group. A literacy link teacher was chosen.
The team engaged with PDST and decided to be part of an Action Learning Network that involved two other schools in the region that were also examining literacy.
2. The Findings
The literacy programme that was developed encouraged greater use of the school library. It identified the need to develop the library and to have the space used for library purposes only and not as a dual purpose classroom.
The student survey revealed student enjoyment of the DEAR programme.
The target of increasing the reading ages of the First Year cohort of students by one year was met and in some cases surpassed.
2.1 Teaching approaches
It was agreed at a meeting of all staff that a focus on the acquisition of vocabulary was a natural outcome of the DEAR programme.
It was agreed to adopt a common approach to the acquisition and understanding of key words that are used in State examination questions. A list of words was drawn up, laminated and posted in every classroom.
Based on information gathered at CPD by the literacy link teacher and a discussion of the impact of the DEAR programme by staff, it was decided that in term 3 of year 2, every teacher would teach three words per week to students within their subject areas. The literacy link teacher was tasked to identify the three words. A word bank procured from The Word Up Project (www.flocabulory.com) and Beck & McKeown (1988), Tier Word Lists, www.Startoolkit.org were identified as useful resources for finding suitable words.
An analysis of this practice was undertaken by the core team in May 2014. It was agreed that the manner in which the vocabulary acquisition was being conducted was not bearing the expected rewards as teachers found the process artificial and could not always identify the relevance of the words in their subject areas. It was decided to approach this objective differently in August, 2014 and to ask teachers to identify ten words of relevance to their disciplines. Students would maintain a log of these words in their subject copybooks.
- Progress made on previously identified improvement targets
Not available yet as SIP not yet in place.
4. Summary of School Self Evaluation findings
4.1 Our school has strengths in the following areas with regard to teaching and learning:
Table 1: Summary of STen score for reading for incoming First Year students
|Very low||Low average||Average||High average||Very high|
Based on the figures in the table 1 above, STen scores for reading are above the national norms.
Based on a survey of students engaged in the DEAR programme, 45% liked reading for pleasure.
Based on a survey of teachers conducted in May 2013, 75% are using teaching strategies to improve literacy and 50% are actively building a classroom based subject specific library.
There is a broad curriculum to meet the needs of students. (WSE-MLL report 2013).
Students are enabled to reach their potential in the school by a team of dedicated teachers who collaborate in subject department teams. (WSE-MLL report 2013).
The attainment in the majority of subjects at JC and LC is at or above the national norms.
4.2 The following areas are prioritised for improvement.
Teachers to focus on the development of literacy as well as knowledge and skills by increasing expectations in standards of writing (sentence and paragraph formation).
Increase the number of students taking higher level in certain subjects in the LC examination to replicate the levels in the JC examination.
The development of the library as a resource and reading room.
4.3 The following legislative and regulatory requirements need to be addressed
The completion of the school’s Health and Safety policy.
Appendix to School Self-evaluation Report: Legislative and regulatory checklist 2014.
|Issue||Relevant legislation, rule or circular||Is the school fully meeting the requirements of the relevant legislation, rule or circular?||If no, indicate to be developed|
|Valid enrolment of students||M51/93||Yes|
|Time in school
– Length of school year (minimum of 167 days for all year groups)
– Length of school week (minimum of 28 hours for all year groups)
|Standardisation of school year||Circular 034/2011||Yes|
|Arrangements for parent/teacher and staff meetings||Circular M58/04||Yes|
|Implementation of national literacy strategy||Circular 25/12||Yes|
|Implementation of Croke Park agreement regarding additional time requirement||Circular 025/2011||Yes|
|Development of school plan||Section 21 Education Act 1998||Yes|
|Guidance provision in secondary schools||Circular PPT12/05, Education Act 1998 (section 9(c))||Yes|
|Whole-school guidance plan||Section 21 Education Act 1998||Yes|
|Delivery of CSPE to all junior cycle classes||Circular M12/01 Circular M13/05||Yes|
|Exemption from the study of Irish||Circular M1 0/94||Yes|
|Implementation of revised in-school management structures||Circular M29/02, Circular 21/98, Circular 30/97, Circular 29/97||Yes|
|Limited alleviation on filling posts of responsibility for school year 2011/12||Circular 53/11||Yes|
|Public service (Croke Park) agreement – special needs assistants||Circular 71/11||Yes|
|Parents as partners in education||Circular M27/91||Yes|
|Issue||Relevant legislation, rule or circular||Is the school fully meeting the requirements of the relevant legislation, rule or circular?||If no, indicate aspects to be developed
|Implementation of child protection procedures||Circular 65/11|
|Please provide the following information in relation to child protection||Yes|
|• Number of cases where a report involving a child in the school was submitted by the DLP to the HSE||1|
|• Number of cases where a report involving a child in the school was submitted by the DLP to the HSE and the school board of management informed||1|
|• Number of cases where the DLP sought advice from the HSE and as a result of this advice, no report was made||0|
|• Number of cases where the DLP sought advice from the HSE and as a result of this advice, no report was made and the school board of management informed||0|
|Implementation of complaints procedure as appropriate||Section 28 Education Act 1998||Yes|
|Please provide the following information in relation to complaints made by parents during this school year|
|• Number of formal parental complaints received||0|
|• Number of formal complaints processed||0|
|• Number of formal complaints not fully processed by the end of this school year||0|
|Refusal to enrol||Section 29 Education Act 1998||0|
|Please provide the following information in relation to appeals taken in accordance with Section 29 against the school during this school year||0|
|• Number of section 29 cases taken against the school||0|
|• Number of cases processed at informal stage||0|
|• Number of cases heard||0|
|• Number of appeals upheld||0|
|• Number of appeals dismissed||0|
|Issue||Relevant legislation, rule or circular||Is the school fully meeting the requirements of the relevant legislation, rule or circular?||If no, indicate aspects to be developed|
|Suspension of students||Section 29 Education Act 1998||N/A|
|Please provide the following information in relation to appeals taken in accordance with Section 29 against the school during this school year N/A|
|• Number of section 29 cases taken against the school|
|• Number of cases processed at informal stage|
|• Number of cases heard|
|• Number of appeals upheld|
|• Number of appeals dismissed|
|Expulsion of students||Section 29 Education Act 1998||N/A|
|Please provide the following information in relation to appeals taken in accordance with Section 29 against the school during this school year|
|Number of section 29 cases taken against the school|
|Number of cases processed at informal stage|
|Number of cases heard|
|Number of appeals upheld|
|Number of appeals dismissed|