St. Rynagh’s N.S. is a Catholic School in a rural town with over 280 pupils. As a Catholic School we are inclusive, which leads to us having a broad societal mix of pupils. While a broad societal mix can present difficulties in relation to the diversity of parental attitudes to education the broad societal mix can be the ideal learning environment for pupils as the school is a smaller version of the country we live in. Some pupils come from homes where reading for leisure is an activity, some do not. Some pupils come from homes where reading for information, functional writing and clarifying thought through writing happens, some do not. Some pupils come from homes where oral language is encouraged and the children develop their cognitive abilities, emotional and imaginative life though oral language, some do not.
Our evaluation tools are our W.S.E. Report 2011, our Micra T results, our Mist results, our N.R.I.T results, our own observations as teachers forming a collaborative review and parental feedback through parent-teacher meetings November 2012.
Our W.S.E. Report highlighted some very effective teaching of English. Praise was given to the teaching of phonics, English writing and handwriting. The W.S.E. mentions a need to enhance pupils’ engagement in personal reading. The W.S.E. Report also highlighted the need for discrete oral language lessons that focused on specific curriculum objectives.
A look at our Micra T results reveals that standards of literacy are as expected for our school context. However, when the Micra T results, the N.R.I.T. results and parental feedback are put together more information can be gleaned. The parents of children who do well in the Micra T report their children as reading extensively outside the school environment. Parents of children who do not do well in the Micra T report having great difficulty encouraging their children to read outside the school environment. The N.R.I.T. revealed that those children who did significantly better in the N.R.I.T. compared to their Micra T, according to their parents, are not very keen readers outside the school environment.
Our collaborative review as teachers concluded that the W.S.E. reports’ praise for phonics, English writing, drama and handwriting came as a result of focused efforts by staff in these areas. The teachers identified with the need to enhance pupils’ engagement in personal reading. Staff also highlighted that in the senior classes there was a need for a programme of grammar instruction. In junior classes while the phonic programme was successful the sight words were proving slow to be learned by the weaker readers.
Progress made on previously – identified improvement targets
The teaching of phonics, English writing, handwriting and drama were targeted by the school for reform and improvement. The W.S.E. reported significant strengths in these target area.
Summary of school self-evaluation findings
Our school has strengths in the following areas
- The teaching of different genres of English writing
- The phonics programme is running well
- Handwriting is clear and children do a lot of work in copies which practices handwriting more than workbooks
- Our Micra T levels are good and have improved in the last year
- Our Drama Plan, teaching and learning are good.
The following areas are prioritised for improvement
- Pupils’ engagement in personal reading
- Discrete oral language
- Grammar in senior classes
- Sight words in junior classes
- Micra T targets to be set out