This page carries a series of reports on the School Improvement process in Mercy Mounthawk and updates on School Improvement Plans.
REPORT TO THE SCHOOL COMMUNITY ON SCHOOL PLANNING 2016/17
REPORTS ON SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PLANS – PLEASE CLICK ON THE TABS BELOW
Update on Literacy SIP – summer 2016
This year we have conducted an interim evaluation of the first of the Sips – the School Improvement Plan in literacy which began in 2014. One focus of the plan In May 2014 was the level of uptake of Higher level English in Junior and Leaving Certificate. While the level at the time was high at around 73%, we had thought to increase this. However the level of uptake has remained around the same over the past two years and on review, we note that there were only 2 As achieved in ordinary level Junior Cert papers last year which would indicate that the threshold for students doing honours is probable set correctly.
The main focus of the Literacy Sip was to engage a greater number of students in reading for pleasure since it is well documented that reading has a very positive impact on literacy, both orally and in written form. In this context, it was disappointing to see that, both in practice and through the survey, that student do not really wish to use the library in the school during lunch break – for a considerable variety of reasons. For this reason, we are extending the class based book lending scheme to third year to all students in junior cycle will have the opportunity to borrow a series of books throughout each year. Next year we will also be participating in the ‘Wellread’ National Award scheme in the school. This scheme focuses on the whole school approach to the promotion of reading and we will be forming a committee of students, teacher and parents in September to steer our efforts in the competition. Finally, next year, in order to consolidate the use of work lists by teachers and students – a strategy introduced in the past two years in classes to improve the learning of new words, we are introducing a Literacy Journal for incoming 1st year students where they will keep new vocabulary over their three years of junior cycle.
Update on Literacy SIP – summer 2017
New ‘Word Journals’ were introduced into 1st year this year as planned and the feedback from teachers is that they are a better structure for maintaining vocab lists and word banks. The ‘Word Journals’ are to be extended into 2nd year next year.
This year also saw the expansion of the lending programme for novels into 3rd year so that all of Junior Cycle is now covered. This means that through class management of the programme by the English teachers, all students have access to sets of novels to address the curriculum requirement in Junior Cycle English. Our plan is to consider a ‘book in the bag’ initiative next year as an alternative to the ‘Drop and Read’ initiative which did not take off well this year. We will also move on to look at the possibilities of setting up a structure in TY to borrow novels using the stock in our own library.
There was a significant development of Literacy Week this year with an initiative involving teachers and students in naming and describing their favourite novel. The engagement of teachers across all subject areas ensured the success of this initiative. Further to this, Lunchtime Debates are drawing more spectators and standards have risen over the year – a great support in the development of oral literacy in Junior Cycle.
Update on the Numeracy SIP – summer 2016
Our SIP in numeracy began last year and our initial focus was on increasing the uptake of honour maths among girls at senior cycle. While the numbers of girls and boys taking the honours course is largely equal in Junior cycle, echoing a national trend, fewer girls take the subject to Leaving certificate. This year we have focused on encouraging a greater uptake among girls through work in Transition Year participating in national initiatives such as the Hooper Medal competition for statistics and a number of STEM events for girls run in UCC and UCD. This work will continue in 2016/17.
A further focus last year was the provision of in-service to all teachers across different subject areas to ensure that the same methodology was being used in all subjects to execute mathematical calculations – as there can a numbers of different methods available for use and the use of different methods is often confusing or students. Further work will take plce on this agenda in 2016/17 focusing on the calculation of fractions.
Update on the Numeracy SIP – summer 2017
One of our main goals in Numeracy was addressing the gender imbalance in Mathematics uptake at Leaving Cert. higher level. There has been significant progress made. In 2015 around 30% of girls took higher level Maths at Mounthawk compared to 41% of boys. While the percentage of boys remains higher, the initiatives undertaken have seen an increase each year so that this year 38% of girls are expected to take higher level in the Leaving Cert (2017). This is a significant outcome to the SIP and these figures compare more than favourably with the national data with about 13% only taking higher level in 2016.
There was also a significant development of Maths Week with TY students creating an activities programme in Centenary Hall for 1st and 2nd years to promote interest in maths. The activities encouraged problem solving in a fun environment and benefited both the TY students who created the puzzles and the younger students who participated.
- An information talk on the introduction of ‘Wellbeing’ was provided for parents in the school in February 2017. Please see the PowerPoint below for a sense of the content of this talk.
A major focus this year in school planning has been on the review of Senior Management structures. In September 2016, the inspectorate of the Department of Education issues a series of important new documents providing a framework for school self-evaluation. We have uploaded these onto the school website for your perusal: http://www.mercymounthawk.ie/new-curriculum-developments/
Based on the domains outlined in these documents, we conducted a review of school management with the Board the Snr. Management team and with the staff in this current year. This was a timely review as we have had the opportunity to add a new member to the senior management team. Mr Shane Kissane has been appointed as a new Deputy Principal on the team (giving us three Deputy Principals) and will take up his role in August. As the team has expanded, we have had the opportunity, in the light of the review, to realign the responsibilities of each of the positions in the team in order to better deliver on the expectations.
Mr Kissane will have responsibility for student care and management in Senior Cycle. Mrs Quane will continue to have responsibility for student care in Junior Cycle. Mr Fleming will have responsibility for Curriculum Management, co-ordinating planning in teaching and learning, CPD for teachers and tracking and supporting student academic progress.
Through out 2016/17 we developed our attendance strategy in accordance with the guidelines published by TUSLA.
Following consultation with parents, students, staff and management, the Attendnace Strategy has been finalised. There is a strategy statement which has been sent to TUSLA and a policy document that governs the process and strategies used in the school to promote and support good attendance which is viatl to the educational success of students.
SCHOOL PLANNING DOCUMENTS
The Inspectorate of the Department of Education has issued two very important documents which will guide school self-evaluation for the next number of years. the documents are here for your to read.