School Self-Evaluation Report

  1. Introduction


    1. The focus of the evaluation

A school self-evaluation of teaching and learning in Dunsany N.S. was undertaken during the period February 2012 to June 2014. During the evaluation, teaching and learning in the following curriculum areas were evaluated:


  • Literacy (English) (more detail 2014)
  • Numeracy: Understanding and using Mathematics (less detail 2014)
  • Behaviour & Discipline (less detail 2014)

This is a report on the findings of the evaluation.


    1. School context
  • Dunsany NS is a small country school with a warm, welcoming ethos situated in the townland of Dunsany, part of the larger Kilmessan/Dunsany Parish.
  • The school observes a Roman Catholic ethos.
  • The school is managed by a Board of 8 committed members.
  • The school has a valued and hard-working Parents’ Association. It also has a great extended body of parents, who come on board and assist on all important occasions at the school, Sports Day, Religious ceremonies, Art Exhibitions, Open Night, etc…
  • School Enrolment has grown from 57 pupils in September 2010 to 70 for September 2014.
  • The school is staffed by 3 classroom teachers (incl. Principal) and has access to 15 GAM hrs.and 11.475 L.I. hrs (2014/15). (3 pupils share these LI hrs.)
  • The school administers standardised tests (DRTP & DMTP) each Spring in all classes from 1st-6th inclusive. (Results of standardised tests are communicated to parents with summer report in a sealed envelope marked ‘Private & Confidential’. NCCA guidelines on standardised testing, sTEN is included.)
  • The school administers Drumcondra Spelling Test in
  • The school administers MIST (Middle Infants Screening Test) in Senior Infants.
  • NRTI is administered in
  • Teacher observation and teacher-designed tests and tasks are used in Dunsany N.S.
  • Individual Pupil Portfolios were introduced (SAFL) were introduced in November 2011.
  • Strong emphasis is placed on early intervention strategies for pupils with learning difficulties/special needs.
  • Home school links are very important to us at Dunsany N.S. PT meetings held each autumn (usually in November). An additional PT meeting is offered in February. (Introduced Feb. 2013)
  • We have an active school website.
  • We engage in many external activities and programmes, Fitness Programme (in conjunction with Meath Chronicle Spring 2013, awarded Blue Flag Award (June 2013), the writing of a school book ‘The Zoo’ (Spring 2011).
  • The school introduced a lapcabby with 12 laptops for pupils’ use in autumn 2012.
  • We publish a regular newsletter home ‘Ó Scoil go Baile’.


  1. The Findings


In arriving at our findings, we had the following to the forefront:


Learning outcomes
Learning experiences
Teachers’ Practice




~Literacy: Findings


  • Oral Language was monitored and reported back on at regular intervals.
  • Individual Pupil Portfolios were kept by all pupils (containing work samples).
  • Self Assessment Sheets were completed and kept by pupils. (see relevant section in SSE folder for samples)
  • Standardised Test Results show
  • Suggestion Box was introduced in main porch in spring 2012.
  • Supplementary Reading Time timetabled in each classroom in 2011. (DEAR/USSR/BUDDY Reading in Jun. Room)
  • Teachers’ Opinion: Teachers report being very satisfied overall with literacy in the school. We would like to engage non/reluctant readers more in their Literacy learning. We are very satisfied that we provide good opportunities for oral language throughout the school and promote excellence in this area.
  • The use of pupil laptops facilitates the keeping of writing folders by pupils from 1st class upwards.
  • Pupils keep ‘Special Copybook’ (Junior Room), ‘My Writing Challenge Copybook’ (Middle Room), ‘Creative Writing Copybook’ and produce episodes of ‘Ó Scoil go Baile’ Newsletter and end-of-year class magazine ‘Le Chéile’.
  • Parent Surveys were distributed in Spring 2014. Three areas of Literacy were looked at: Oral Language, Reading & Creative Writing. % report that their children (see SSE folder for PowerPoint analysis of results).


~ Attainment of Curriculum Objectives (Literacy)


  • Teachers report that all strands of the English Curriculum are being adequately addressed at all class levels.


~ Learning Environment (Literacy)


  • Our school is a print-rich environment for our pupils.
  • We put considerable effort into displaying Creative Writing Samples each year and change these displays regularly.
  • We as teachers, model very good oral language.
  • Teachers employ a variety of effective methodologies in their language teaching.
  • We employ a good variety of approaches/methodologies in oral based lessons.
  • We create a giant wall frieze for ‘World Book Day’ each year.


~ Pupils’ Engagement in Learning (Literacy)


  • Pupils engage willingly and effectively with their learning vis-á-vis reading, writing and oral language.
  • Pupils use IT equipment to very good effect in their learning.


~Learning to Learn (Literacy)


  • Pupils are taught strategies to promote independent learning, especially in light of our multi-grade classes.
  • Pupils become independent learners as early as we can enable this.
  • Pupils share IT expertise with each other.
  • Correction of written work is a teacher/pupil partnership style.


~Preparation for Teaching (Literacy)


  • Teachers prepare plans to support their teaching of literacy.
  • Classroom Support Plans for those pupils who need assistance reflect teachers’ approach with these pupils and are target specific.
  • IEP’s are prepared in conjunction with all the partners in education (Parents, class teacher, LST/RT, medical team, psychologist, as necessary, etc…)


~ Teaching Approaches (Literacy)


  • Teaching approaches as per DES Guidelines are effectively adhered to by the teachers.


~ Management of Pupils (Literacy)


  • Variety of management strategies are employed – whole class teaching, paired work, small group partnerships, LS/RT in classroom, withdrawal for LS/RT, independent work, peer teaching/guidance.
  • Differentiation is catered for in all teachers’ planning and lessons.


~ Assessment of Pupils (Literacy)


  • Standardised Testing as listed in ‘Findings’.
  • Teacher-designed tests and tasks.
  • Self Assessment: Record Keeping and filling in surveys on own learning, signed by parents periodically.
  • Differentiation is catered for in all teachers’ planning and lessons.


  1. Progress made on previously-identified improvement targets (Literacy)


  • Each class from 1st class upwards is now covering at least one novel per year.
  • We are improving in the teaching of grammar in a more sequenced and methodical way.
  • We have included a wider range of reading material in class libraries.
  • We offer penmanship programme of approx. 4 lessons for groups when deemed necessary (provided by LST).
  • We have equipped the school with 12 laptops for pupils’ use.
  • We have improved in cohesiveness from class-to-class.
  • We have communicated better with parents re. Literacy.


  1. Summary of school self-evaluation findings (Literacy)


4.1 Our school has strengths in the following areas:


  • Teachers are dedicated to the promotion of and teaching of English. They prepare well for this and this is reflected in the standard of pupils’ work/reading.
  • Pupils are performing very well in standardised tests.
  • We are a very print rich environment and the majority of this is pupils’ own work.
  • Differentiation is catered for in all teachers’ planning and lessons.
  • Pupils are very positively disposed to Literacy – overall attitude to language is very positive within the school.
  • We provide lots of opportunity in the Arts – library visit, school productions, meet an author, World Book Day Extravaganza, visits to theatres.


4.2 The following areas are prioritised for improvement:

  • We had planned to introduce 3 Tracker pupils in autumn 2013 – we have not done this yet. This should help inform our planning and teaching.
  • We need to further tighten our whole-school approach to literacy teaching.
  • We need to further improve Comprehension Strategies amongst our pupils.
  • We need to work more on engaging the non/reluctant reader in reading.


4.3 The following legislative and regulatory requirements need to be addressed:


  • Attendance Policy needs to be drafted & implemented.
  • Enrolment Policy needs to be updated.
  • Data Protection Policy needs to be drafted and implemented.
  • Health & Safety Policy needs to be updated.