School Self Evaluation
Focus of the Evaluation:
School self-evaluation of teaching and learning is part of the ongoing work of Castleknock National School. The focus of school self-evaluation for 2013-14 is literacy. This was identified, in part by tracking outcomes for both literacy and numeracy (Standardised test results) over the past three years. All pupils from first to sixth classes are assessed, including all pupils with special educational needs. A number of strategies have been introduced over recent years to address the gap between attainment levels in literacy and numeracy. During the course of the evaluation process key aspects of teaching approaches and learning outcomes in English were examined with particular reference to the development of skills in Reading and Comprehension.
The following report outlines the findings of the evaluation.
1. School Context.
Castleknock National School is a co-educational primary school under Church of Ireland patronage. It is located in the Dublin suburb of Castleknock. There are 219 pupils on roll from Junior Infants to Sixth Class. Pupils generally come from middle class backgrounds and there is strong parental support for teaching and learning, a factor that is acknowledged as having a positive effect on pupil attainment levels and on pupils’ attitudes to learning.
2. The findings.
Initially the quality of practice in relation to aspects of teaching and learning with reference to the sub-themes below was evaluated:
• Attainment of curriculum objectives.
• Pupils’ engagement in learning.
• Learning to learn.
• Preparation for teaching.
• Teaching approaches.
• Management of pupils.
2.1 Our school has strengths in the following areas:
• Standardised test results collected for literacy indicate that sTen scores for reading are above the national average.
• In the current year, 2013-14, with our literacy initiative in place, 75% of pupils in second to sixth classes scored the same or a higher score than in the previous year.
• Pupils display very positive attitudes to all aspects of literacy.
• A safe, stimulating learning environment is provided for pupils.
• A range of assessment methods – both qualitative and quantitative – are used effectively to assess the students’ progress.
• Individual pupil assessment portfolios are kept from year to year.
• Teachers focus affectively on developing the pupils’ key skills in English.
• Team teaching, Station teaching and in class support are regularly used to assist the development of literacy skills.
2.2 The following areas have been prioritised for improvement:
• We have decided to focus on developing children’s comprehension strategies and to adopt a more structured and whole-school approach to the teaching of reading.
• The development of writing genres will be explored on a more structured and systematic basis in the 2014-15 school year in the context of clearly identified and agreed learning targets and objectives.
• Addressing the dual areas of Comprehension and Writing will necessitate the development and enactment of school-designed plans in the specified fields and the setting of SMART targets with the specific aim of improving learning outcomes. This will take place within the agreed time-frame in the context of Whole School Development Planning.