A school self-evaluation audit in literacy was untaken during the 2012/2013 school year. Teaching and learning in literacy was evaluated. This was in direct response to the National Strategy on Literacy & Numeracy 2011-2020. All teaching staff, School Inspector, Parents and Pupils were actively involved in the self evaluation process. The process involved tracking outcomes for literacy over the past 3 years using standardised test results of pupils from 1st-6th classes . Teacher designed tests, teacher observation, focus groups, pupil/parent questionaires and curriculum checklists were also used in the self evaluation process.
The following is a report on the findings of the evaluation.
- Cloonakilla N.S. is a co-educational primary school situated in Monksland, a suburb of Athlone. Monksland is the fastest growing area in the Midlands and consequently our enrolment figures have more than doubled over the past 5 years.
- In September 2013 there will be circa 266 pupils enrolled. We will have 10 Mainstream teachers, an Administrative Principal, 2 Learning Support teachers, 1 Resource teacher and a part-time Resource teacher.
- Traditionally our pupil pfofile was rural based but we now find ourselves with a different profile of pupil from a variety of social backgrounds. 11% of our pupils fall into the EAL category.
- The school administers Micra and Sigma Standardised tests from 1st-6th classes. The MIST Test is also administered in Senior Infants.
- * Peer tutoring, Reading Recovery Programme and the Home Reader Scheme are used to improve literacy levels throughout the school.
- Standardised test results for 2012/2013 show that most pupils are performing at or above the national norm. Very few pupils fall in the low and very low bands in standardised teating for reading. 4% of pupils in Cloonakilla N.S fall into this category as opposed to 9% of the National Norm. Analysis of tests over the last 3 years shows that current literary endeavours have succeeded in moving more children from average to above average and high levels. (See Appendix A)
- Responses from a SSE Questionnaire from parents indicate that parents are very positive about their child’s performance in literacy, especially reading and writing. ( See Appendix B). Parents would like some direction on suitable reading material for their children and some parents raised concerns about the amount of homework children get.
- A pupil survey showed that children have a fairly positive attitude towards reading with only 6% of respondents reporting that they do not like reading at all. They indicated that opportunities to improve fluency and to read enjoyable material would help them to become better readers.
- Teachers in Junior classes felt that children need to develop more elaborate vocabulary and sentence structure.
- Teacher Questionnaires indicated that teachers have concerns about pupils’ comprehension skills and their limited use of vocabulary.
- Teachers expressed concerns about EAL pupils. It was felt that pupils whose parents do not speak English at home are at a significant disadvantage compared to the EAL pupils whose parents have mastered some command of the language.
- While teachers plan effectively for A.O.L. and A.F.L. it was felt that more emphasis could be placed on self-assessment and pair-work. We need to improve our work in relation to co-operative and collaborative learning.Strengths
Our school has strengths in the following areas:
- Pupils scored well above the average in the MICRA T Standardised Tests – 39% of pupils are above the 110 Standard Score as opposed to 25% of the National Norm.
- Pupils are exposed to a wide variety of reading texts and literary endeavours over the past 3 years have proved successful in raising literary standards.
- Teacher plan methodically for learning and a wide variety of teaching approaches and assessment methods are used by all teachers.
- Teachers actively plan for Assessment for learning and Assessment of learning
- Through home-reader schemes and shared reading parents are actively involved in promoting their child’s literacy skills.
- Children have neat handwriting and can express themselves well within a narrow range of genres. Children are given an opportunity to present and display their work.
- Early intervention by the learning support team is proving very beneficial.
- The introduction of the Jolly Phonics Programme, Peer Tutoring and Reading Recovery Programme have enhanced literacy levels in the school.
Engagement in Learning
- Through Home-Reader Schemes parents are actively involved in promoting their child’s literary skills.
- Parents reported that their children like to read but parents would like more direction in sourcing suitable reading material for their children.
- Teachers report that fluency exercises and peer tutoring have benefitted children in becoming more confident readers.
- Teachers use a range of methodologies including: active learning, play, guided learning, teacher modelling and ICT skills.
- Learning Support teachers use running records(Reading Recovery Programme), talk and discussion and in-class support.
- All teachers report that children need more exposure to digital media.
The following areas are prioritised for improvement and will be expanded on in greater detail in our School Improvement Plan. This will be a 3 year plan but will be developed year by year as necessary adjustments will be made at the end of each year.
- Development of oral language skills in Junior classes. Timetabling of discrete oral language lesson in Middle / Senior classes.
- Whole School Approach for teaching comprehension strategies
- Agreed approach to teaching writing genres throughout the school
- Emphasis on improving fluency in reading throughout the school
- Vocabulary extension throughout the school
- Development of self assessment and pair work in senior classes especially in writing
- Additional exposure to digital media in senior classes
The content for our 3 year literacy plan will be based on the above report.
The following legislative and regulatory requirements need to be addressed:
- Review of Anti- Bullying Policy
- Review of Enrolment Policy
- Review of Special Educational Needs Policy
- Formation of Substance Abuse Policy