St. Brendan’s Community School,
Birr, Co. Offaly
School Self- Evaluation Summary Report for School Community
Overall Evaluation Period: August 2015-May 2018
Summary Evaluation Period: 25th August 2014 – 29th May 2015
Report Issue Date: 29th May 2015
Summary School Self-Evaluation Report
1) Introduction and school context.
St. Brendan’s Community School, Birr, Co. Offaly is a co-educational school committed to the second level education of the students in the area of Birr and its hinterland. The school takes its inspiration and ethos from the traditions and values of its founding Trustees and Staffs- The Presentation Brother’s College, the Sisters of Mercy Convent and Birr Vocational School.
There are 68 teachers and 913 pupils in St. Brendan’s. We offer the traditional state exam curricula at Junior and Leaving Certificate along with a number of programmes including LCA/LCVP/Transition Year/ Special Education Class/ Study Skills Programme/ Small Learning Support Classes/FETAC Programmes Level 2 and 3. The School has an ASD facility.
Our attendance levels are good. Our students’ behavior is excellent.
For more information on how we intend to improve our students’ learning please see our SIP, which is available on the school website.
- The focus of the evaluation.
- We undertook a school evaluation on teaching and learning in the area of numeracy 2014-2015. The focus of this report is an evaluation of the findings compiled by the Staff Numeracy Committee during the school year 2014-2015.
- We carried out student/teacher surveys and questionnaires during 2014-2015.
- We focused on the First Year cohort 2014-2015 for baseline data going forward. The findings of these surveys and questionnaires are attached in Appendix 1 of this report.
- A Maths competency test was also given to this group of students.
Rationale for Evaluation.
- In July 2011, the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy was launched by the Department of Education and Skills. It aims to create a whole school commitment to achieve change and improvement in literacy and numeracy over the nine year period of the strategy. Each subject department and its teachers are responsible for this new strategy in their individual subjects.
- SSE and SIP in Numeracy strives to implement and incorporate the recommendations of previous Subject Inspections and Programme Evaluations by the Inspectorate.
What is Numeracy?
Numeracy is not limited to the ability to use numbers to add, subtract, multiply and divide. It encompasses the ability to use mathematical understanding and skills to solve problems and meet the demands of day to day living and social settings. The strategy aims to ensure that every student leaving school understands Mathematics at a level that enables them to participate fully in the local, national and global community in which they live.
We at St. Brendan’s Community School view numeracy to be a core component of our mission statement:
“Our aim is to create a caring community of learning where each individual is valued as a unique human being.”
We aim to maintain a focus on numeracy within a broad and balanced curriculum.
2) Summary of School Evaluation Findings
We collected information from students and teachers in preparing this report.
- The findings are based on the surveys and questionnaires carried out by first year students 2014-2015.
- 44 teachers surveyed.
- Meeting with Boys Primary School.
- Math’s Competency Test given to students.
- Pupils’ work/ test results.
2.1) We Found that Our School Has Strengths in the Following Areas
- Good collaborative Practice.
- Variety of assessment tools used.
- Good cross curricular links with numeracy.
- Our students have a good disposition towards Maths.
- Strong and supportive learning support and resource teaching.
- One class period devoted to mental arithmetic skills
We know these are our strengths because the standard of teaching and learning in our school is high and our results in State Exams reflect this.
2.2) We Have Decided to Prioritise the Following Areas for Development:
- Encourage students to see and use Maths outside the classroom.
- Develop and cultivate existing cross curricular numeracy links.
- Cultivate a culture in the classroom where students check, correct and assess their own work.
- Explore the merits of including “Key Word Journal/ Maths Dictionary on Student Book List. (to be discussed by whole staff)
We have decided to prioritise these areas because:
- We want to encourage students to associate numeracy with real life experiences
- We want to enable students in all classes to develop their mental arithmetic skills and improve their competency as self directed learners.
Commitment to improve numeracy competency levels in St. Brendan’s Community School continues to be a whole school endeavour and is supported by school management.