Rathnure NS

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WSE Report

An Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna
Department of Education and Skills
Whole School Evaluation
SN Rath an Iubhair
Rath an Iubhair, Inis Córthaidh,
Contae Loch Garman
Uimhir rolla: 17707N
Date of inspection: 19 January 2012
1. Introduction
Scoil Náisiúnta Rath An Iubhair is a seven-teacher, co-educational, vertical primary school, with a
current enrolment of 134 pupils. The school is under the patronage of the Catholic Bishop of
Ferns. Attendance levels in the school are excellent. The board of management was given an
opportunity to comment in writing on the findings and recommendations of the report, and the
response of the board will be found in the appendix of this report.

2. Summary of Findings and Recommendations for Further Development

The following are the main strengths of the work of the school:
· The school is characterised by its positive school climate and co-operative working
relationships are in evidence across the school community.
· Excellent support is provided to the school by the board of management, the parents and
the wider school community.
· Teachers demonstrate high standards of teaching and use a wide variety of approaches
and resources very effectively.
· Overall, teaching, learning and pupil achievement are of a high quality.
· The well maintained school building and grounds provide a stimulating and aesthetically
pleasing environment.
The following main recommendations are made:
· Curriculum plans should be reviewed, to ensure that they provide greater guidance to
teachers, with clear links between individual teacher planning, the school plan and the
primary curriculum.

3. Quality of School Management
· The highly supportive board of management ensures that the school is well resourced
and that the building and grounds are developed and maintained to a high standard. The
board is committed to promoting positive and open communication with staff, parents and
members of the wider community. The joint meeting with the parents’ association, which
devised a three-year action plan, and which is currently being implemented, is lauded.
· The in-school management team comprises of the principal, the deputy principal and one
special-duties teacher. The quality of leadership in the school is commendable and the
team carries out its duties with dedication and commitment. The principal has strong
interpersonal qualities and supports and encourages colleagues, and facilitates their
professional development. He is capably supported by the members of the in-school
management team who fulfil a broad range of duties effectively.
· The beautifully maintained school building and grounds provide a stimulating and
aesthetically pleasing environment. The school is equipped to a very high standard with a
broad range of purposeful resources to enhance teaching and learning.
· The management of pupils is very good. Pupils are valued members of the school
community. Whole-school assemblies are a feature of school life and pupil participation in
decision making is promoted effectively through the work of the Green Schools’
committee. All pupils surveyed report that they feel safe in the playground and in their
· The school is characterised by its open and welcoming atmosphere. The parents’
association, parents generally and the local community provide commendable support to
the school. Parents are involved in a range of school-based activities including Maths for
Fun, Shared Reading, the Green Schools and a variety of sporting activities. In the parent
questionnaires, all parents consider that their children are doing well in school.

4. Quality of School Planning and School Self-evaluation

· Overall the quality of school planning and school self-evaluation is good. In particular, the
school is commended for the quality of its DEIS action plan. The adoption of effective
implementation and review procedures has ensured that the plan has had a very positive
impact on pupils’ learning. A strategic plan, outlining a range of curricular and
organisational priorities has been formulated and all plans and policies are reviewed on a
cyclical basis. As indicated in the parents questionnaires, consideration should be given
to affording the parents greater opportunities to familiarise themselves with pertinent
plans and policies.
· Current curriculum plans are broad and general in nature. It is advised that they are
contextualised to the school, to ensure that they provide greater guidance for individual
teacher planning and clearly outline the spiral approach to the pupils’ learning. Clear links
should be established between individual teacher planning, the school plan and the
primary curriculum.
· Confirmation was provided that the board of management has formally adopted the Child
Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools without modification and
that the school is compliant with the requirements of the Child Protection Procedures for
Primary and Post-Primary Schools.

5. Quality of Teaching, Learning and Pupil Achievement
· Teaching, learning and pupil achievement are of a high quality. Teachers exhibit welldeveloped
classroom management skills and have prepared productive learning
environments. They use a range of teaching approaches and resources skilfully and
explain concepts clearly. Classroom atmospheres are positive and interactions between
teachers and pupils are encouraging and supportive. Teachers engage in continuous
professional development to enhance their classroom skills. Parental questionnaire
responses indicate that almost all parents consider that teaching is good in the school.
· The pupils’ work is monitored closely and constructive feedback is provided. An
appropriate range of screening, standardised and diagnostic tests is administered. The
school is to be commended for introducing standardised testing in Irish. Standardised test
results are analysed on a whole-school basis to provide a detailed picture of pupil
· Sroichtear caighdeán maith i múineadh agus i bhfoghlaim na Gaeilge. Baineann na
múinteoirí úsáid éifeachtach as réimse leathan straitéisí agus áiseanna chun suim na
ndaltaí a mhúscailt. Aithrisíonn agus canann na daltaí réimse leathan rainn agus
amhráin. Léiríonn formhór na ndaltaí tuiscint mhaith agus déanann said iarracht úsáid a
bhaint as an stórfhocal breá atá ar eolas acu. Chun cur le sin ba chóir deiseanna sa
bhreis a sholáthar do na daltaí an teanga a chleachtadh agus a dhaingniú i rith thréimshe
chumarsáide an cheachta. Léann na daltaí na téacsleabhair ranga le cruinneas agus is
féidir leo ceisteanna a fhreagairt. Tugtar deiseanna rialta do dhaltaí scríbhneoireacht
fheidhmiúil agus chruthaitheach sa Ghaeilge a chleachtadh.
The standard of teaching and learning in Irish is good. The teachers make effective use
of a wide range of strategies and resources to stimulate the pupils’ interest. The pupils
can recite and sing a wide repertoire of songs and poems. A majority of pupils
demonstrate good understanding and make suitable efforts to use their vocabulary. To
build on this it is recommended that extended opportunities be provided for pupils to
practise and consolidate their learning during the communication phase of lessons. The
pupils read class textbooks with accuracy and are able to answer questions. They are
provided with some opportunities to write independently and this good practice should be
extended. Pupils are given regular opportunities to practise functional and creative writing
in Irish.
· The quality of teaching and learning in English is good. There is evidence that pupils can
express their views with suitable confidence and competence. The school employs a
range of strategies to develop pupils’ reading skills and the pupils display proficient
reading standards. In their questionnaire responses, most pupils reported that they are
doing well at reading. The pupils are enabled to produce writing in a wide variety of
genres and some laudable examples of the pupils writing are in evidence. ICT is used
very effectively to assist in the publication of their work.
· The quality of teaching and learning in Mathematics is very good. Due emphasis is
placed on mental Mathematics, on language development and on estimation. Concepts
are clearly explained, good use is made of concrete resources and pupils’ skills are
developed through appropriate learning activities. Beneficial use is made of games to
support learning.
· The teaching of Science in the school is of a high standard. Pupils frequently engage in
paired and group work, in designing and making activities and in simple experiments, all
of which facilitate the application of scientific knowledge and skills. The teachers are
commended for the promotion of Science through praiseworthy participation in initiatives
such as Science Week and the Green Schools. The school was recently awarded its first
green flag and it is currently working towards achieving its second flag.

6. Quality of Support for Pupils
· Support for pupils with special educational needs (SEN) is of a high quality. The SEN
model incorporates both in-class support and withdrawal. The SEN team employs a
suitable range of diagnostic tests, in addition to feedback from parents and teachers, to
inform individualised programmes. It is advised that the school policy be reviewed to
ensure that it makes provision for early intervention.
· Through the implementation of well-designed lessons, the pupils demonstrate continuing
progress in the achievement of their learning goals. Teacher-pupil interactions are highly
affirmative and succeed in fostering the pupils’ self-belief. Praiseworthy levels of
communication between SEN personnel, class teachers and parents are evident.
Published May 2012.

School response to the report
Submitted by the Board of Management
Area 1: Observations on the content of the inspection report
The B.O.M. of Rathnure N.S. wish to thank the D.E.S. Inspector for her courtesy and diligence as
she carried out the evaluation. We were impressed with the manner in which she engaged with
the pupils of the school.
The Board wishes to take this opportunity to congratulate the staff, parents and especially
children on their high standard of achievement in all areas of education.
We are extremely proud of our school and all the people who are connected to it. We are very
pleased to see mentioned that our school is a happy place to work for the pupils and staff and
that our school enjoys the regard and support of the Rathnure Community.
The report gives great encouragement to all involved.
Area 2: Follow-up actions planned or undertaken since the completion of the inspection
activity to implement the findings and recommendations of the inspection
The B.O.M. and staff will examine and implement the recommendation of the report as part of the
school’s on-going process of self evaluation and planning.

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