School Self Evaluation

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Scoil Eimhín Naofa, Drogheda Street, Monasterevin, Co. Kildare.

School Self-Evaluation Report.

Evaluation Period - September 2014 to June 2015.


Focus of the Evaluation:

A school self-evaluation (SSE) of teaching and learning was undertaken in Scoil Eimhín Naofa during the period September 2014 to June 2015. It was decided to prioritise teaching and learning in the area of problem-solving across all class levels in numeracy as the first component of Numeracy to be addressed in Year 1 in line with Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life (Circular 56/2011). This was identified, in part, by tracking outcomes for Numeracy as identified by Standardised Test Results. All pupils from first to sixth classes are assessed each May, including all pupils with special education needs.

School Context:

Scoil Eimhín Naofa is situated in the town of Monasterevin and serves a mainly urban area. It is a co-educational parish primary school for all infants, and girls to sixth class. At the beginning of first class the boys transfer to the neighbouring St. Peter’s Senior Boys’ National School. We are scheduled to amalgamate with St. Peter’s Senior Boys’ National School, following the construction of a new 24 classroom school which is due to go to construction in 2017. Scoil Eimhín Naofa is under the patronage of the Catholic Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin. Formerly administered by the Mercy order, the religious ethos is well preserved and an atmosphere of friendly co-operation and dedicated service permeates the school community.

Enrolment currently stands at 354 pupils (67 boys and 287 girls) and has been increasing in recent years. There are 3 classes of Junior Infants, 3 classes of Senior Infants, 1½  streams of First and Second classes and 1 stream of each class from Third to Sixth. Further increase is anticipated in the coming years as a result of significant extra housing in the locality. The school community has been a homogeneous one until recent times when a number of pupils from other countries have been enrolled.

At present there are 13 mainstream class teachers, an administrative principal, 3 GAM/EAL teachers, and 1 part-time Resource teacher. One pupil has low incidence special education needs and is allocated resource hours based on these needs.

Each year Sigma-T Mathematics Tests and Micra-T Reading Tests are administered to all classes from First to Sixth. MIST is administered to Senior Infant Classes.

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.


As part of the process of school self-evaluation, evidence has been gathered from a number of sources in order to plan for the Problem-Solving Skill of Numeracy. This has included data of a quantitative and qualitative nature.

Staff has

·         engaged in professional dialogue during formal Staff Meetings and informal meetings regarding the area/s requiring attention based on our school context and on the results of standardised tests i.e. Sigma-T

·         engaged in analysis of and reflection on the teaching of numeracy - PDST SSE Staff Review Document – Best Practice in Problem-Solving.

·         considered the findings of individual teacher’s Informal Assessment

·         been afforded the opportunity to express its views and opinions

In order to further enhance the process of school self-evaluation the following steps were taken:-

o        A Numeracy Committee has been specially convened. This focus group includes teachers from all class levels, our GAM/EAL teachers and principal.

o        Our Deputy Principal is the nominated Literacy LINK teacher and has attended all PDST Seminars.

o        Our Principal has attended PDST Seminars and Drop-In Clinics addressing SSE.

o        Our Principal and Deputy Principal attended a PDST Data Gathering Seminar to assist with Parent/Guardian/Pupil surveys and other data gathering initiatives.

Parents/Guardians were

·         informed by letter and during annual Parent/Teacher meetings of the content of the Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life document

·         surveyed in relation to attitudes, homewok, information provided by school on pupil progress and support of children’s learning in the home. This survey was compiled by the members of the Numeracy Committee and was reviewed, edited and piloted prior to its issue in Term 3, 2014/2015, using Google surveys linked to our school website.

Our pupils were

·         surveyed in relation to attitudes, approaches to problem solving and preferences relating to individual/pair/group work. Two distinct surveys, for Junior and Senior pupils, were compiled by the members of the Numeracy Committee. These were reviewed, edited and piloted prior to their issue in Term 3, 2014/2015, using Google surveys linked to our school website. 

·         due consideration was given to pupil’s responses to the various teaching methodologies and approaches used for literacy


Resulting Findings:

As a result of the above process of self-evaluation, Numeracy/Problem-Solving was chosen as the main focus for Year 1 of our school improvement plan.

Furthermore, Teachers’ Practice was identified as the sub-theme most appropriate to develop Numeracy within Scoil Eimhín Naofa.

Teacher Practices:

All teachers maintain appropriate schemes of work, lesson notes and cuntais mhíosúla.

Where long-term planning is concerned, teachers’ yearly schemes are in line with the Primary Curriculum documents and with the school plan. The schemes outline the strands and strand units of the curriculum to be taught, the teaching methodology and organisation to be used, and the assessment practices to establish children’s learning.

Regarding short-term plans, teachers provide weekly or fortnightly notes. Objectives are outlined and the notes identify the content to be covered in the course of the period. Teachers show the links to be made with other areas of the curriculum and outline the assessment methods to be used to determine how well pupils have mastered the objectives.

Progress is recorded in the cuntas míosúil for which a template has been drawn up to ensure consistency. Each teacher identifies the strands and strand units covered in the course of the month and outlines the content taught in every area of the curriculum. Individual Educational Plans (IEPs) are maintained on pupils in receipt of special tuition.

Teaching Approaches:

A comprehensive school plan for Mathematics ensures appropriate attention to all strands of the Mathematics programme throughout the school. Detailed individual teachers’ planning, both long-term and short-term, along with the use of a wealth of concrete and illustrative materials ensure that a wide and appropriate programme is taught in every classroom. Practical work is accompanied by wide discussion in the mathematics lessons and the importance of oral development at every stage of the work is understood. Tasks are well chosen, the resources are used effectively in the teaching and the children enjoy the wide programme.

At the infant level children’s curiosity and interest are stimulated by hands-on discovery learning; practical activities such as counting, matching, ordering, sequencing and partitioning are well developed at an appropriate pace. Children’s understanding of number work and awareness of shape and measure are incrementally developed through the remaining classes. Tables and algorithms are revised regularly and skills of oral computation and problem solving are well developed amongst the middle and senior pupils. Children’s written Mathematics is presented neatly and the work is monitored carefully at every level of the school. The value of mental questions to cultivate speed and accuracy in calculation is clearly understood.


Management of pupils:

Pupils are generally well-behaved and show respect for their school. They relate respectfully, but confidently, to visitors. The school’s welcoming atmosphere and its ethos reflect a firm commitment to the development and extension of pupils’ skills in this area. The school has a clearly-defined and fair Code of Behaviour based on well thought-out rules. The Code of Discipline is carefully calibrated and allows for measured sanctions for transgressions of discipline.

Assessment and Achievement:

At the most formal level, Sigma-T standardised reading tests are administered annually to secure accurate measures of pupils reading. Diagnostic tests are used to pinpoint special difficulties. Records are stored carefully and are available to teachers and parents concerned. The results of tests are considered and used to inform the selection of textbooks, teaching methodologies and resources.

Progress made on previously identified improvement targets:                                                           

N/A as this is the first year of the process for Numeracy – Problem Solving.

Summary of school self-evaluation findings

Following consultation with all partners (staff, parents and children) these areas were identified as strengths with regard to Numeracy:

The quality, commitment and dedication of teaching staff and the good practice evident in classrooms;
A dedicated, diligent and supportive Board of Management;
A comprehensive school plan for Mathematics – to be reviewed in light of SSE.
Teacher planning, the use of varied teaching methodologies/approaches, classroom management, pupil assessment and achievement;
Teacher willingness to adopt new strategies and practices which will enhance the quality of teaching and learning;
Collaborative planning across streams and learning support;

    Concrete and illustrative materials used effectively in teaching.

   Practical work is accompanied by wide discussion.

    Tables and algorithms are revised regularly.

   Children’s written Mathematics is presented neatly.

The children enjoy the wide programme.               

  Positive, affirmative feedback from Parent and Pupil Survey

   Pupils’ overall results in Standardised Tests for Numeracy indicate that STen scores are above the national norms;

Parent Survey responses have indicated 85.7% satisfaction regarding school reporting on pupil progress, that 85.7% of parents play maths games at home with their children and that  88.7% of parents surveyed engage in informal maths activities at home.
Over 84% of all pupils surveyed expressed their confidence in explaining to others how they solved a maths problem.
80% of Senior pupils surveyed indicated that they like mathematics.
Over 71% of all pupils display positive attitudes to mathematics.

The following areas are prioritised for improvement following consultation with all parties:


·         Knowledge: Improve by 5%, from 42 to 47, the overall percentage of pupils solving word problems correctly. Quantitative data based on results of Sigma-T.

·         Skills: Renewed emphasis on Applying & Problem-Solving and Communicating & Expressing. Use of Tracker Pupils*.

·         Attitude: Increase by 5%, from 75% to 80%, the number of pupils indicating that they like maths.


 Plan for and develop problem-solving sessions at all class levels.

 Teachers to teach the following basic steps, Read Understand Choose Solve Answer Check, in problem-solving through explicit teacher modelling of this RUCSAC strategy across all class levels. This problem-solving strategy will be applied to each strand & strand unit of the Maths Curriculum.

Teachers will contribute to the development of a whole-school plan for teaching problem solving.

 Review of whole school plan regarding the explicit teaching of mathematical language across all strands and strand units.

Attitude and Motivation: pupils’ willingness and eagerness to eengage in problem-solving;
Communication with parents regarding RUCSAC and problem-solving strategies;

The following legislative and regulatory requirements need to be addressed

·         Health and Safety Statement will need revision due to ongoing site investigations and future building of new school on existing site of Scoil Eimhín Naofa - Section 20 Health and Safety Act 2005

·         Enrolment Policy may need to be reviewed due to increase in enrolment applications and future amalgamation of Scoil Eimhín Naofa and St. Peter’s Boys’ N.S.

·         Gaeilge agus Béarla in the context of  proposed New Primary Language Curriculum