Whole School Evaluation
In September 2017 our school had a whole-school evaluation (W.S.E.). This involved two inspectors from the Department of Education and Skills spending almost a week in our school, evaluating and inspecting teaching and learning, management and leadership, policies and procedures. They met children, staff, parents and the Board of management. They surveyed teachers, parents and children. Following this very thorough inspection they wrote a very positive, affirming report which is published on the Department of Education and Skills website. Every school is required to write a reply to the final report and below is the response of our Board.
The Board accepts the report as the final inspection report for publication and wishes to respond formally to the report as follows:
Part A: The Board of Management of St Gabriel’s National School welcomes the over-whelming positive report issued by the inspectorate following our recent Whole School Evaluation. Our school community is very pleased that the report acknowledges the highly commendable leadership and management of the school, the dedication, diligence and hard work of the school staff, the active engagement of pupils, the stimulating and inclusive environment that has been created and the quality of support and care that exists for pupils’ well-being.
The report notes the very effective management and use of resources including information technology, the highly effective initiatives that are taking place and the valuable support that is given by parents. This is endorsed by the parents’ questionnaire where parents strongly agreed that they feel welcome, that the school is well run and their child is treated fairly and respectfully. From the questionnaire it is also evident that children feel listened to, the views of teachers are valued and parents are very happy with the school.
The Board is pleased that notable practice was observed in teaching and learning, with clear learning intentions consistently shared and that teachers were commended on the effective use of a wide range of assessment strategies. Furthermore, it was most important to the Board to hear that teachers created inclusive, structured learning environments and pupils are motivated to engage in and enjoy their learning. The Board welcomes the inspectors’ findings that highly effective approaches are being used in the teaching and learning of English. The school has been working diligently to embed structured, consistent approaches in literacy and numeracy and it is heartening to find that these have been successful.
Parents play an important part in our school and this was recognised in a number of areas including the work of the home-school teacher and in the inclusion of parents in curricular and non-curricular activities.
The Board is pleased that the work of the SEN teachers has been affirmed through the finding that the provision for pupils with special educational needs is exemplary and that very effective collaborative support practice is evident.
Given the time and dedication that has been show to Drama over the years in St. Gabriel’s school the Board of Management was delighted with the report that the quality of teaching, learning and pupil achievement is of a very high standard, with effective lessons showing deep engagement and highly commendable cooperation.
The Board of Management feels that the commitment to excellence and inclusion in our school has been endorsed and affirmed through the report on our Whole School Evaluation.
Part B Follow-up actions: The board acknowledges both of the recommendations in the Whole School Evaluation and will support the principal and staff in implementing them. While school planning is described as commendable a targeted, time-bound plan of action has been drawn up to address the issues raised in relation to short-term planning and whole-school planning in Irish. Clarity will be brought to the learning targets and the whole school plan will be amended to ensure that skills in Irish are developed incrementally at each level. The help of the PDST will be sought in this area.