SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PLANNING (SIP)
Update in 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 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.
Results of the May 2016 parents survey on homework.
Update on the Homework SIP – summer 2016
Focus groups of teachers surfaced a series of concerns over aspects of homework which is such an important feature of a student’s work and life in school. So this became the area of interest for our third SIP. This year 2016/17 was the survey year to gather information for all parties concerned to identify the most pressing concerns. Can I thank thanking the 209 families in Junior Cycle who responded to the survey on homework. The full results of the survey are available on the school website at
Consultations with staff have led to a decision to focus on a few basis aspects of homework in the coming year. Firstly, there will be a focus on the use of the journal to take down homework. Students will also be asked to take down an indication of the time the homework is supposed to take. Through this we hope to focus on the significant variation in time that an individual student takes on homework. We are also trying to strengthen the involvement of parents in monitoring the work done. We ask for your support in this endeavour as the partnership between home and school is essential in providing for success.
The inspectorate of teh 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.
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.