School Self-Evaluation Report

School self-evaluation report Killashee Multi D N S


February 1, 2014

Killashee Multi D N.S.


The focus of the evaluation:

A school self-evaluation of teaching and learning in Killashee Multi D N.S. was undertaken during the school year 2012/2013. In the course of the evaluation, teaching and learning in the area of Literacy was evaluated, including focused reflection on writing. Children’s free writing samples were evaluated by teachers working collaboratively in their class groupings at staff meeting level and further by the ISM team. Three target children were then selected from each class from junior infants to sixth class for more in-depth analysis.

The school also reflected on teaching approaches and learning to learn as presented in the School Self-Evaluation Guidelines. This report presents the results of this evaluation.

School Context:

Killashee Multi D a small vertical, co-educational primary school in Naas, Co Kildare. Enrolment is all-inclusive regardless of background, ability, race or religion. We cherish children with special educational needs and have developed expertise in the broad spectrum of special education. Our school ethos is focused on creating a well-ordered, caring, happy and secure learning environment, where the educational, intellectual, spiritual, physical, moral and cultural needs of our pupils are identified and addressed, and each child is afforded the opportunity “to reach their full potential.” (School philosophy)

Reading Recovery

Reading recovery was introduced in 2010. We now have a trained reading recovery tutor (Ms. Dunney) and the elements of the reading recovery lesson have been introduced into the mainstream classrooms. Reading recovery caters for children from 5 years 9 months to 6 years 6 months. Initial testing takes place on teacher identified children. Children receive individual intervention and progress through the levels of P.M. readers appropriate to their ability. The pupils involved in reading recovery have made significant improvements in reading age, fluency and in comprehension. Mrs. Fleming attended training in First steps to writing in 2012.

The Findings

Results in standardised testing compare more than favourably with children in the majority of percentiles scoring above the national norms.

Sigma T Results 2013

  • In May 2013, 41.4% of pupils were scoring in the 51st to the 84th percentile. 34.4% were scoring at or above the 85th percentile.
  • 5.7% of pupils were scoring between the 3rd and 16th percentile. Most of these children are attending learning support or in-class support is provided.
  • 16.5% of pupils were scoring between the 17th and 50thpercentile. In third class    etc(-out of -pupils) were scoring at this level.
  • In fifth class (current sixth) -% (-out of – pupils) scored between the 3rd and 16th percentile while -% (-pupils) scored between the 17th and 50th percentile.

Pupil Writing Samples

Pupils in all classes engaged in a free writing task. Teachers selected  three tracker children at each class level and evaluated the children’s writing collaboratively under various headings, including, sentence structure; vocabulary; grammar and punctuation; handwriting, and evidence of editing.

  • Overall, the children wrote with relative ease, were able to list events relating to their chosen topic and wrote in the past tense. A   high percentage of children chose recount even though no specific instruction was given to do so .In the main, children  appeared to be aware  of the structure of a recount (Introduction; events in time order; conclusion), Events were generally in sequential order but time connectives ( although, nonetheless ,,since ,because )were limited.
  • A rich and varied descriptive vocabulary was not generally in evidence. Handwriting styles were varied even between children who had attended Killashee since the beginning of their primary school career. Some samples showed evidence of, poor letter formation and irregular letter size and spacing..
  • In most samples, there was evidence of good phonic ability and accurate phonetic spelling attempts. Overall, basic sight words/high frequency words (Tier 1 vocabulary) were good and only a few errors made.
  • In the senior classes, common spelling errors were noted e.g. multi syllabic words, words ending in e not dropped when adding  ing etc.


Teacher Reflection on the Teaching of Writing

All teachers were also asked to reflect on their teaching of writing in the school year 2012/2013.

  • All teachers explicitly teach narrative writing and the majority explicitly teach recount, and procedural writing.
  • Procedural writing was explicitly taught by 40% of teachers and taught informally or occasionally by 60%
  • Explanation and persuasive writing are generally not being taught.
  • All teachers encourage free writing – three teachers regularly engage in free writing and five teachers reported that the children sometimes do free writing.
  • Two teachers usually use a writing framework for each genre and the majority of others use a framework occasionally. They also indicated that children mostly needed a framework/direct teaching to facilitate them in their writing.
  • 1 teacher used/sometimes used before and after samples of children’s writing to assess progress.
  • Teachers generally engage in shared writing with the class when teaching writing. Modelled writing, using a think aloud model is practiced in a number of classrooms.


Pupil Writing Questionnaire

In light of the teacher’s reflection on the teaching of writing and the examination of pupil writing samples at each class level, Questionnaires were given to all children to establish the pupil’s attitude to and experience of the writing process, in order to provide a comprehensive overview of writing across the school The results will be analysed and will further inform the targets and actions detailed in the school improvement plan.

Parent Questionnaires

Parent questionnaires were administered via google forms.46% of respondents felt that they did not get feedback regarding how their children were doing in writing.

Teaching Approaches

Teachers employ a wide variety of teaching methodologies appropriate to developing oral language, reading, writing and digital literacy, including teacher and pupil questioning, play, guided activity and discovery, talk and discussion and a focus on higher order thinking. Lessons are guided by expected learning outcomes that are linked to the curriculum objectives and shared with the pupils. Teachers differentiate lessons effectively to cater for the needs and abilities of all pupils.

A greater focus on pair work and collaborative group work would further enhance pupil learning in the classroom.

Learning to Learn

Teachers foster a wide variety of skills that promote independent pupil learning, including, communication skills, pair and group work, research, use of ICT to present and illustrate their work and to organise and produce information. Pupils are encouraged to reflect on their learning and to present their work to others and answer questions on their work. Further work on self-assessment and pupil monitoring of their own progress in learning and use of ICT to present and illustrate their work and to extend their learning would be beneficial to pupil learning and development.


Summary of School Self-Evaluation Findings:

Our school strengths in relation to teaching and learning in Literacy:

  • Enthusiasm and dedication of teachers and willingness to be involved in training and CPD.
  • Teachers note that pupils have a very positive attitude towards reading and really enjoy free writing where this is implemented.
  • Reading attainment is above national norms as evidenced by analysis of the Standardised test results.
  • Reading recovery has resulted in significant gains in reading for pupils in first classes as evidenced by the progress of children .
  • Various reading initiatives encourage reading, including, buddy reading, DEAR time, shared reading, the Scholastic book fair and  book week. Each classroom has a well-stocked library with a variety of reading genres.
  • There is a strong emphasis on a print rich environment – lots of sight vocabulary and word walls.
  • Phonics is well developed throughout the school and the school uses  Jolly Phonics
  • A wide variety of writing genres are taught across the school.
  • Children’s knowledge of basic sight words/high frequency words is very good.

The following areas are prioritised for improvement:

  • Throughout  all  classes  students  display a good grasp of grammar, write in a small range of genres and have neat legible handwriting, however they their writing shows a limited use of vocabulary and needs more oral and written preliminary work to ensure the writing has a logical flow.
  • Although test results are above the national norm ,it was decide d to focus on shared reading right up to sixth provide additional support for those scoring in the 16th to 50th percentile on the Drumcondra test of reading .
  • A whole-school approach to teaching writing. Pupils need to be able to write confidently in a range of genres. Accordingly, the key writing genres need to be explicitly taught at each class level. Pupils need to be taught the structure/key headings appropriate to each genre. A specific genre  from an agreed list is the focus for each month
  • Vocabulary development to enhance reading, writing and oral communication, a specific area of focus each month.
  • Provide additional support for pupils scoring between the 16th and 50 percentile on the Drumcondra Reading test.
  • Collaborative learning – pair work and co-operative group work.
  • Common spelling errors were identified through all class levels, in school management agreed to look at possible solutions i.e. formulating school spelling list to address this problem school spelling books were printed for all class levels with a guided system for teaching and learning spellings.
  • Feedback to parents

Evidence used to formulate the school self-evaluation report are included here–

  • Standardised test results for 2011, 2012 and 2013
  • An example of the following:

o  The analysis of student’s writing samples

o  Teacher reflection on the teaching of writing

o  Student questionnaires

o  Parent questionnaires