Self Evaluation and Improvement Plan 18/19

St. Columba’s Comprehensive School

Our Self-Evaluation Report and Improvement Plan

1. Introduction

This document records the outcomes of our last improvement plan, the findings of this self-evaluation, and our current improvement plan, including targets and the actions we will implement to meet the targets.


1.1 Outcomes of our last improvement plan from September to December 2017

In our last improvement plan we looked at assessment practices. The outcomes are as follows:

* Detailed discussions took place at staff meetings regarding assessment practices at junior and senior level.

* Following requests from senior students, fifth year house exams now only have two exams scheduled per day. This was recognised as a success by teachers at the end of year staff meeting on 01/06/2018.

* English, Science and Business are trialling different approaches to balancing CBA’s and house exams. These approaches will continue in 2018/19.

* There has been a change and an improvement in reporting practices. All areas of learning are now reported on and the language of reporting has improved to a more formative approach.

* The school’s MIS has been updated to include the grading system for the new junior cycle subjects.

* Information leaflets have been prepared for, and disseminated to, parents of students in junior cycle explaining the dual grading system currently in place as the revised junior cycle is rolled out.

* More forms of assessment are being utilised, including self-reflection, peer and self-assessment. This was recognised in the school’s WSE in March 2018.

* The assessment policy is not yet drafted – results of trials awaited.


1.2 The focus of this evaluation

We undertook self-evaluation of teaching and learning during the period March to May 2018. We evaluated the following aspect(s) of teaching and learning:


* All aspects were evaluated in a WSE – MLL inspection.

2. Findings


2.1 This is effective / very effective practice in our school

The quality of teaching and learning was good overall; very good in a number of lessons and satisfactory in a few.

In all lessons there was a good atmosphere for learning and interactions between students and teachers were mutually respectful and positive. Students demonstrated high levels of interest.


Effective Very effective

1 Subject departments are well-established and collaborative plans are in place. In very good plans consideration has been given to the integration of whole-school initiatives such as literacy and numeracy approaches.

2 In all lessons observed teachers were well-prepared.

3 Motivation to learn was supported by the use of clear learning intentions which linked prior knowledge to the new knowledge, skills and content to be developed. In a small number of lessons learning intentions were co-constructed with students and success criteria for planned tasks were shared.

4 In the majority of lessons, students engaged in a meaningful way with learning through practical In highly effective lessons, a discovery approach to learning was adopted. The emphasis was on

tasks, problem solving or presentations that challenged them to process, apply and discuss their knowledge. students discovering the best approach to use, collaborating with others in their group to predict the outcome of their approach and evaluating their decisions. These types of approaches facilitated student ownership of learning.

5 ICT was employed effectively as a teaching tool to communicate lesson content using electronic presentations. Video clips and the use of visualisers were also optimised in a few lessons. The use of ICT was most effective when accompanied by pre-identified questions to maximise student engagement.

6 Some creative and engaging worksheets were used in a small number of lessons. In the best examples, these worksheets provided a series of well-structured tasks to scaffold student learning. In one lesson, a well-designed worksheet with an extension task was used to challenge more-able students.

7 In most lessons, a variety of literacy strategies was used effectively to develop students’ understanding of subject-specific terminology. In some very effective language lessons, students were fully immersed in the target language. Students readily used the target language to ask questions of each other and their teacher.

8 Students’ progress was assessed in the majority of lessons through teacher observation and questioning. This approach was effective when sufficient ‘wait-time’ was given and where there was a good balance of directed and higher-order questions to challenge students. In a few lessons, some very good use was made of ‘show-me’ boards, and peer and self-assessment strategies as alternative formative assessment approaches.

9 It is good practice that subject departments are analysing results of certificate examinations.




2.2. This is how we know

* The inspectors’ evaluation of lessons observed during the WSE-MLL.

* Student questionnaires during the WSE process.

* Parent/Guardian questionnaires during the WSE process.

* A questionnaire from a class group of third year students regarding the introduction of junior cycle changes in teaching and learning approaches.



2.3 This is what we are going to focus on to improve our practice further

* Differentiation for the better-able students.

* Use of SEN hours as per C/L 14/2017

* Improvements in target setting, monitoring and evaluating progress.


3. Our improvement plan

On the next page we have recorded:

* The targets for improvement we have set

* The actions we will implement to achieve these

* Who is responsible for implementing, monitoring and reviewing our improvement plan

* How we will measure progress and check outcomes (criteria for success)

As we implement our improvement plan we will record:

* The progress made, and adjustments made, and when

* Achievement of targets (original and modified), and when


Our Improvement Plan

Timeframe of this improvement plan is from 01/09/2018 to 31/05/2019


Targets Actions Persons / groups responsible Criteria for success Progress and adjustments Targets achieved

Differentiation for the

better-able students.












Bring the allocation of

SEN hours fully into

compliance with C/L

14/2017. Source and avail of training for the whole staff for differentiation SMT to source and receive training. Principal to organise Board of Management and SMT CPD will take place for all teachers. Questioning skills will improve – using Bloom’s taxonomy and the NCCA booklet on questioning. A Bloom’s taxonomy poster will be displayed in every classroom. The allocation of SEN hours will be fully in line with the Circular letter and the recommendations of the WSE-MLL report. Focus group to be set up to develop training further and to roll out to colleagues. The timetabling of SEN hours was done through the lens of the training. The Principal attended NCSE training on 25th October 2018. An SEN team was set up to respond to the necessary changes. The school SEN-CO will attend the NCSE training in January 2019. Planning will then begin for 2019/20. Training from NEPS 24th September 2018 Teaching and Learning core group set up in October 2018. Poster displayed. May 2018 June – September 2018 There was a significant improvement in the allocation of hours in line with the C/L. November 2018 Work has begun on

Put a focus on teaching and learning at Board and staff meetings. Teaching and Learning is to be an item on the agenda at every Board of Management meeting. Teaching and Learning is to be an item on the agenda at every staff meeting Principal (as recording secretary) and Board of Management Principal in drawing up the agenda. Teachers to participate as appropriate, depending on the relevant items. Discussion on teaching and learning in the school will progress beyond an analysis of state examination results only. Every staff meeting will have a focus on teaching and learning beyond the analysis of state examination results. A culture of shared practice