RMDS Self-Evaluation Report and Action Plan

Theme: Literacy

Evaluation period: 2013/14
Action Plan period: 2014/17
Report issue date: June 2014

1. Introduction

A school self-evaluation of teaching and learning in literacy in RMDS was undertaken during the school year 2013/14. This is a report on the findings of the evaluation.

1.2 School context

RMDS is a multi-denominational NS with 234 (comprising 112 girls and 122 boys) pupils in eight mainstream classes from Junior Infants to 6th class. Attendance is excellent, with a very small number of exceptions. There are fourteen teachers, including four resource teachers and an administrative principal. The school administers standardised tests annually in English reading and mathematics to all pupils from first class to sixth class.

2. The findings are summarized as follows:

Standardised test results in English reading in May 2014 showed that 73% of pupils in first to sixth class were performing in the Above Average to Well Above Average range on standard tests in English reading. 61% of the pupils tested were performing in the Well Above Average range.
An online survey of parents was carried out during April 2014. Over 150 families responded to the survey. The findings indicated:

  • 85% of parents said their child/ren liked reading
  • 88% of parents felt their child/ren was doing well in reading
  • 55% of parents read to their child/ren every day or most days
  • 67% of parents felt the reading their child/ren brought home was well matched to the child’s ability
  • 70% of parents said their child/ren liked creative writing
  • 60% of parents felt they got good information from the school about their child’s progress in English

All children from rang 1 upwards completed a paper survey during April 2014. The findings suggested:

  • The children felt the class libraries were not meeting their reading needs, particularly from rang 3 upwards
  • Most children described themselves as good readers and said they enjoyed both reading and writing
  • Most of the children are happy with their handwriting

The teachers felt that attitudes to reading and overall attainment in reading in RMDS were significant strengths:

  • Reading remains at a high standard across all classes and the literacy attainment of the pupils’ compares favourably with national norms on standardised tests
  • Pupils are attaining well in accordance with their ability and making very good progress from prior levels of ability
  • Pupils enjoy reading and are confident in using their reading skills across the curriculum
  • Pupils mostly display positive attitudes to listening and speaking

Writing skills tended to fall in the category strengths outweigh weaknesses, including:

  • Overall attainment with regard to writing
  • The pupils’ ability to communicate clearly and confidently in writing using an appropriate standard of spelling, grammar, syntax and punctuation
  • The ability to write fluently in a variety of genres. Poetry was noted here as an area for development
  • Handwriting

3. Progress made on previously identified improvement targets

The numeracy plan is progressing line with the targets set.

4. Summary of school self-evaluation findings

4.1 Our school has strengths in the following areas:

  • In general the children are highly motivated towards literacy
  • Pupils are scoring above national norms on standard tests of English reading, a consistent pattern throughout the classes and over the years
  • The language skills of most of the pupils enhance their understanding of the whole curriculum
  • Excellent resources and equipment are available in the school
  • Teachers are very well disposed to collaborative approaches and towards trying out new methodologies

4.2 The following areas are prioritised for improvement:

  • More emphasis on poetry
  • Opportunities for all pupils to experience higher order thinking skills in their learning
  • More effective ways to communicate progress in literacy to parents
  • Class libraries

4.3 There are no legislative and regulatory requirements which need to be addressed.

5. Action Plan

The following targets were agreed:

  • We will aim to maintain standard test scores at the current high levels over the course of the plan
  • We will aim to ensure that the pupils in all classes report that that they can find reading material they enjoy and want to read in the school libraries
  • The children from rang 3 to rang 6 will write a minimum of three poems per year and learn by heart three poems a year
  • We will aim to ensure that by the end of the plan, the number of parents who report that the school communicates well with them about their children’s progress will have increased

6. Strategies to implement the targets:

  • The Aistear approach to play based learning will be formally introduced in junior infants
  • The staff will discuss ways to help ensure that children are enabled to monitor their own learning through the use of higher order thinking strategies
  • The staff will devote one staff meeting to brainstorming ideas to improve the school libraries
  • A list of strategies to support parents in helping their child’s progress in literacy will be drawn up
  • A review of class novels will take place

7. Monitoring and Review

The following steps will ensure that the plan is properly monitored and reviewed:

  • All assessment scores will be monitored regularly
  • Regular assessment of attainment will continue to be completed in all classes

8. Success criteria / Evaluation:

The following criteria will be used to evaluate the success of the plan:

  • Teacher planning and practice will reflect the agreed actions in a consistent way
  • Standard test scores will reflect the targets set out by the end of the plan
  • A survey of pupils and parents will reflect improved parental satisfaction with information about their child’s progress in literacy
  • A survey of pupils will reflect satisfaction with the school and class libraries

RMDS Board of Management (16th June 2014)

Ranelagh Multi-Denominational School,
Ranelagh Road,
Dublin 6.
T: +353 1 496 1722