School Improvement Plan

INTRODUCTION

A school self evaluation of teaching and learning in Saint Brigid’s National School took place in the period of September 2012 – June 2013. During this time teaching and learning in the area of literacy was evaluated. The following report is a summary of the findings and a plan for our school improvements in the area of literacy.

Sources of Evidence:
The following sources of evidence were used to compile the findings of this report

• Analysis of assessment data and information-both qualitative and quantitative (Standardised Tests, teacher generated tests)
• Staff observations and views
• Pupil questionnaire 3rd – 6th
• Examination of students’ work-copies and classroom displays
• Review of school documents and reports i.e. Curriculum Statement for English, individual long-term class level English plans, teachers’ fortnightly plans and monthly progress reports.
• Analysis of the recently issued WSE Report (June 2012)
• Learning Support Team observations
• Parental Questionnaire

Summary of Findings

a) Our school has strengths in the following areas:

• Attainments in both reading and spelling, as exemplified in the DRT and DST (Spring 2012), considerably exceed national norms and reflect the quality of teaching and learning in Saint Brigid’s.
• A safe, stimulating learning environment is provided for students
• A range of assessment methods -both qualitative and quantitative- are used effectively to assess the students’ progress
• Teachers plan collaboratively and regularly at class level meetings and plans are informed by and link clearly to the whole-school curriculum plan-both long and short-term
• Teachers focus effectively on developing the students’ key skills in English
• Team teaching and in class support are regularly used to reinforce and assist the development of literacy skills.
• There is a collaborative approach between class teachers and the learning support /resource teacher and the recording and analysis of literacy assessment data is effectively used as a cornerstone in the planning process for both whole-class and individual programmes of instruction
• There is an agreed whole school approach to the teaching of handwriting in the school
• Reading in St. Brigid’s is promoted positively and is well cultivated through a variety of reading activities and initiatives (peer tutoring/ paired reading) through out the school year. Children have an opportunity to visit the school library weekly.
• The pupil questionnaires with reference to viewpoints on writing demonstrate a largely positive attitude that can provide the basis for worthwhile and meaningful development in this area.

b) Our school wants to prioritise the following areas:

• The area of oral language skills needs to be addressed more formally and systematically in the context of clearly identified and agreed learning targets and objectives
• The areas of genre writing in particular narrative writing and comprehension strategies have been highlighted for attention over the course of the next three years in the context of the Literacy Strategy

SUMMARY OF SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PLAN YEAR  ONE

In year 1 we wish to develop a whole school approach to the teaching of genre writing and oral language:

All levels will be taught recount, narrative and procedural writing. In 1st and 2nd classes we will add report writing. In addition to these four genres, persuasive writing will be taught in 3rd and 4th classes. All seven genres, including poetry and explanation will be covered in 5th and 6th classes.

When teaching narrative writing we will have a particular focus on character and settings. 5th and 6th classes will also focus on plot development.

In Junior Infants to 2nd specific lessons targeting the five components of oral language (Auditory Memory, Vocabulary & Conceptual Knowledge, Variety of Spoken Texts, Speaking & Listening skills and Language Learning Environment) will be the focus of our discrete oral language.

Actions:

General
• A whole school literacy plan will be developed by the literacy team
• A survey of parents’ views on writing will be conducted.
• CPD for staff will be organized in writing and oral language
• Resources for genre writing and oral language will be sourced and shared
Writing:
• A support teacher will initially model and then co-teach genre -writing with the class teachers from 3rd – 6th
• We will develop a culture where good writing is celebrated and children are encouraged to read their writing aloud for class, group, other teachers or parents
• Hardback copies will be used for genre writing in each class
• Writing will be displayed on walls, published in the school magazine and in a “We are Writers” book at the end of the year
• Vocabulary will be developed through word banks and these will be displayed in classrooms
• The language features and frameworks specific to each genre will be taught
• Evidence of improvements will be measured using pre and post genre samples

Oral Language:
• A support teacher will model a varied selection of oral language lessons and then co teach in classes in the junior school
• Discrete oral language lessons will be timetabled each week with a particular focus on developing language skills through the five components
• Children will be given increased opportunities to talk in pairs, groups and whole class settings

 

SUMMARY OF SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PLAN YEAR 2

We will continue to embed genre writing at each level and also introduce free writing through out the school. We will begin to focus on teaching explicit comprehension strategies, which will deepen children’s understanding and enjoyment of reading. In oral language we will concentrate on developing children’s auditory memory skills at every level.

Actions:

Writing
• A support teacher will co-teach a 30-minute writing session each week to consolidate the writing skills developed in year 1. (2nd – 6th)
• All children will engage in free writing to develop their independent writing skills and enhance their enjoyment of writing.
• Each level from Infants to 6th will teach a minimum of 3 writing genres as per our literacy plan.
• Samples of good writing will be celebrated and displayed through the school
• Children will be encouraged to present their writing to an audience, peers, other teachers, parents etc.
• A new literacy programme with a focus on genre writing and comprehension will be adopted from 2nd to 6th.
• Pm Writing scheme will be used in 1st and 2nd.

Comprehension Strategies: (All classes)
We will explicitly teach 2 comprehension strategies (predicting and making connections) at every level.

Guided Reading: (1st)
Guided reading will begin in 1st class. Banded readers will be bought and children will be screened and grouped. Two support teachers will assist the class teacher in delivering 4 forty minute sessions each week. Children will practice reading and comprehension strategies and also engage in writing and spelling activities.

Discrete Oral Language: (All classes)
This year we will focus on teaching Auditory Memory Skills to all levels.
A support teacher who will model, share and guide a variety of auditory memory lessons will lead team teaching in junior classes. These lessons will be linked to the topics selected at each level for Aistear

Maths

• Class level meetings set up to ascertain how teaching & learning in Maths can be improved.
• Questionnaire drafted with a view to gaining insights into the teaching & learning of Maths.
• Standardised test scores will be analysed to help identify strengths and weaknesses.
• Focus group (Multilevel) meetings to identify whole school strategies going forward.

SUMMARY OF SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PLAN YEAR 3

We will continue to embed free writing in every class and we will focus on self and peer assessment in writing. We will add 3 more comprehension strategies to be taught explicitly at each level and our oral language focus will be on developing children’s skills in retelling stories. In the Infant school we will improve their vocabulary and conceptual knowledge of Aistear based topics.

Actions:

Writing
• All children will engage in free writing to develop their independent writing skills and enhance their enjoyment of writing.
• A whole school plan for teaching specific genres of writing at each level will be followed.
• Samples of good writing will be celebrated and displayed through the school
• Children will be encouraged to present their writing to an audience, peers, other teachers, parents etc.
• Pm Writing scheme will be used in 1st and 2nd.
• Children will be taught how to self assess and peer assess their writing.

Comprehension Strategies: (All classes)
• We will explicitly teach a further 3 comprehension strategies (summarising and paraphrasing, creating images and inferring) at every level.

Guided Reading:
• Guided reading will continue in 1st class and extend to Senior Infants this year.
• A library of books will be set up in the Infant Building
• Support teachers will assist in delivering guided reading sessions at both levels.

Discrete Oral Language: (All classes)
• Our whole school focus this year will be on retelling of stories and on vocabulary and conceptual knowledge development.
• In the Junior school this will be linked to the topics selected at each level for Aistear

Maths

Targets will be set in the area chosen for improvement in Maths This will depend on the outcome of our SSE process in maths in year 2.