School Self Evaluation Report 2015

St Oliver Plunkett’s NS


School Self Evaluation Report

June 2014- June 2015



A school self evaluation of teaching and learning in St Oliver Plunkett’s NS is ongoing since March 2012. In November 2014 the school had a whole school evaluation. During the school self- evaluation teaching and learning in the following curricular areas were evaluated.

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Differentiation

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

  • Analysis of Micra T and Sigma T results  2010/2011, 2012/2013, 2013/2014, 2014/2015
  •  teacher reviews of practice in Literacy and Numeracy using a SCOT analysis template
  • Staff review of the English and Maths Plan  November 2014
  • Pupils work – assessment folders with samples of pupils’ work
  • The Learning Support team observations.
  • Parental Questionnaires  : WSE ,questionnaires from the Department of Education
  • Pupil Questionnaires – third to sixth class. WSE, questionnaires from Department of Education.
  • The School Plan: updated November 2014
  • Reflection on spellings

This is a report on the findings of the evaluation.

The School Context.

Patron:                                Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, diocese of Dublin

Chairperson:     Sheila Macken

Principal:            Mairéad Murphy

Staff:                     12 class teachers,  4 Learning support teachers, 2 GAM teachers as part of a  cluster and 4 SNA’s,

 Pupils:                 341 pupils from Junior Infants to Sixth Class

Awards:               We have 7 Green Flag Awards, 6 Discover Science Awards and 2 Yellow Flag awards.

Sport:                 We provide the opportunity for the pupils to take part in GAA, Cricket, Soccer, 

                             Athletics, Swimming, Rugby and Basketball .

Other initiatives: Debating society, Chess, Art and Crafts, homework club.





The  Findings of the Evaluation


Preparation for Teaching:

Teachers prepare short and long term plans and use their plans to guide teaching and learning. Learning outcomes, activities and resources are identified in the plans. Curriculum objectives and the school plan are used to devise long and short term plans by teachers.  Teachers plan for how they are going to assess the pupils’ learning. This was commended in the WSE report but did have recommendations for our long term and short term planning. Fortnightly planning now includes differentiated objectives. As recommended. Long term planning will include a monthly break down of topics in each subject area starting in September 2015.

Teaching Approaches:

Teachers employ a wide variety of teaching methodologies appropriate to the development of oral language, reading, writing and digital media literacy. Very good use is made of resources including ICT to support pupils in their learning. Teachers differentiate the lessons to cater for the needs and abilities of all pupils.

Guided reading( station teaching) is used in the junior  and senior end of the school with a focus on the split classes. The senior end of the school is using The Building bridges of Understanding programme to work on teaching comprehension strategies.


Management of Pupils:

Collaboration between class teachers and learning Support teachers takes place .In class support is being used to support the development of Literacy. A variety of organisational groupings and settings are used in classrooms to support Literacy. A positive code of behaviour including an anti-bullying policy( updated in line with recommendations March 2014) is implemented in a fair and consistent way. This is an inclusive school which respects all pupils regardless of background or gender. We take part in the Yellow Flag programme . Teachers have high but realistic expectations of pupils behaviour and learning and they communicate these to the pupils.   The WSE noted the exemplary behaviour of our pupils. Mrs Murphy through weekly assemblies talks to the pupils about good behaviour. Children receive award certificates for good conduct, recognition of work, handwriter of the week and for gaeilgeoir na seachtaine. There is a senior and junior award for class of the week. This award is given for good behaviour in their line and for keeping their classroom neat and tidy.


Teachers employ a large selection of assessment tools to assess learning in Literacy – observations, checklists, curriculum objectives, questioning, self-assessment, tests and standardised tests. A screening test  (MIST) is used in Senior Infants to identify children at risk of reading failure. The  Micra T and Sigma T standardised tests are administered to all classes from first to sixth in May each year and results are reported to parents in the end of year report. NRIT tests are undertaken with third class in the November of each year. This year we are running a pilot assessment in 5th and 4th class using the Drumcondra reading test /maths to compare findings with the Micra T. Teachers would like to learn more from standardised tests.

The special education department use a variety assessment tools but have set assessments at set times to ensure consistency and continuity.

Learning Environment:

 The school provides opportunities for pupils to write for real purposes and audiences. The school is decorated with displays of pupils work in a variety of ways. There is an agreed approach to the teaching of handwriting. In September 2015 the infants will start to learn cursive handwriting and this will be extended to first and second class in September 2016. The Reading culture in the school is well cultivated and maintained by a variety of reading activities/initiatives throughout the year. DEAR time is adapted in each classroom, supplementary reading with reading log is active in each room, a variety of texts are available to the children, comprehension boxes and literacy boxes are available in each classroom. Paired reading happens between infants and fifth / sixth class.

Guided literacy stations take place in the junior end of the school and has begun in the senior end also. The aim is by the end of June 2016 all classes will have a six week block of literacy station teaching.

In class support is provided in jun/sen infants, senior infants , first class and second class as part of our early intervention strategy.





Pupil’s engagement with learning:

Pupils at all class level are actively engaged in their learning and the level of pupil interest and participation is high.  Teachers report that some pupils have poor conversational skills, lacking vocabulary or correct language and give only one word answers. Hence our choice of Oral Language as one of our literacy targets. Teachers would like the children to be more practised in their writing and to be more proficient in their ability to write in different genres. We have chosen writing as our target area for this year. Pupils would benefit from improved reading fluency as stated in WSE. We have started to include this in homework and as part of the literacy station teaching.




Parental Involvement:

Parents are very supportive of school Literacy initiatives. Parents are encouraged to support their child’s reading through listening to reading for homework and paired reading at home. We hold a book fair once a year and we hope this encourages parents to read to their children. Parents are reminded regularly of the importance of listening to their child read. Each child has a reading log which parents sign.


Preparation for Teaching:

  All teachers are familiar with the curriculum for their class through the school Maths plan. Specific issues relating to split class situations are addressed when needed. Mental maths is encouraged across all the strands and is given a specific time slot. Tables and oral maths are taught each day for 5 minutes using a variety of methods including ICT. Teachers have a Maths Resource folder which will be added to on a regular basis.

The language of maths has been discussed this year.  A resource bundle has been made available to all class teachers, maths word of the week.

Teaching Approaches:

Talk and Discussion is an integral part of Mathematics. Opportunities are provided for pupils to explain how they got the answer to a problem. There will be agreed maths language across the school and teachers model the language to be used. There is an agreed and common approach to the teaching of tables and number facts. There are agreed strategies outlined in the school plan for the teaching of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Mathematics games and concrete materials are regularly used in teaching maths. Problem solving lessons are varied and children are encouraged to find multiple approaches to solving problems. We have a large bank of extra Maths equipment available in Mr Caffrey’s room.

Maths station teaching has begun in the senior classes with the support of the learning support teachers. This approach allows for more adult support to the children. Infants classes will commence maths station teaching in September 2015. A more hands on approach will be encouraged.


Management of Pupils

Each class uses a variety of organisational styles – pair work, group work, individual work and whole class work. There is order and structure in the way activities are organised.


A variety of methods are used in all classes to monitor progress. Assessment results are analysed and used for screening, diagnosis of learning difficulties or identifying aspects of maths needing re-teaching. Teachers differentiate their lessons to cater for children with different needs. Class teachers and Learning support teachers collaborate to ensure that supplementary teaching is available for children with learning difficulties and exceptional abilities. 




Learning Environment

The school is a safe stimulating environment and classrooms and the building in general is organised, clean and well maintained. Classrooms are appropriately laid out and well resourced and orderly. Teachers are aware of and follow the school’s Child Protection Guidelines. The school environment is used to provide opportunities for mathematical problem solving and creating an awareness of number – numbers on doors, maths trails, classes labelled in a mathematical way.

Maths trails are available for all classes.

Pupil’s engagement with learning

WSE questionnaire for pupils and parents revealed that pupils are engaged with learning.

Parental Involvement

Parents are very supportive in relation to helping children with their maths homework. Problem of the week is sent home for parents to do with the child.

Summary of School Self Evaluation Findings

Our school has strengths in the following areas with regard to Literacy:

  • Reading Initiatives to encourage reading – Paired reading, DEAR time, library time, shared reading and supplementary reading scheme in each class, comprehension boxes, literacy boxes, guided reading using PM reading scheme in the junior end of the school. In the senior end of the school the Building Bridges of Understanding is in use.
  •  New English  Curriculum Plan in place
  • Good Resources available
  • Variety of Assessment tools used: assessment portfolio and Micra T, MIST, Drumcondra reading in 5th class, Drumcondra Maths in 4th class, Young spelling test throughout.
  • Print rich environment – lots of sight vocabulary
  • Good spiral phonics in junior classes Jolly Phonics programme  up to 2nd class
  • Good variety of reading texts used
  • Children engage in Listening comprehension activities
  • Good variety of reading material available in all classes
  • Diagnostic and standardised tests administered
  • The process of writing is fostered and children write for real purposes
  • Draft, edit redrafting are at the heart of the writing process
  • A variety of writing genres are taught, genres taught as a whole school approach
  • Good cursive  handwriting is fostered from 3rd class, younger classes take part in a 6 week block of cursive writing in May and June. In September 2015 cursive writing will be taught to the infant classes.
  • There is a variety of methods used in the teaching of spelling with Jolly Grammar in use up to and including 2nd class , My spelling workbook / Spellbound in use in the senior classes.
  • Results of assessments are used to inform teacher planning
  • Debating club : Inter -school Debate
  • Literacy scores: Analyses of overall scores show that we are improving in the number of children who score a sten 7. We set of target of 16% and we reached 18%
  • Inclass support in the junior and senior parts of the school is a strength.
  • The following Areas are prioritized for improvement with regard to Literacy:
  • Oral Language Skills

Improvement in Oral Language confidence and fluency and a development in the expressive capacity of pupils.

  1. Specific Oral Language skills are to be taught and practiced and oral language given as part of homework.
  2. Offer opportunities for pupils to develop oral language skills at each class level.
  3. Whole school plan in relation to themes and vocabulary
  4. Use of Drumcondra profile oral language indicator to track three children in each class.
  • Writing
  • Agree to focus on the development of self- editing skills at whole school level
  • Agree the focus on the development of writing skills through an agreed programme of genres.
  • Agree to focus on cursive writing as a whole school approach.
  • Agreed to ensure our classrooms are a print rich environment
  • Agreed to have a writing corner/ display area for our pupils’ writing.
  • Reading
  1. Develop the pupils’ appreciation, reading fluency and pleasure through the use of a wider diversity of reading material.
    1. Continue and expand shared reading and DEAR
    2. Increased variety and genres of reading materials for middle & senior classes
  1. Support exceptionally able students through differentiation,  ICT and independent research projects . This takes place as an extension group.
  1. Examine ways we can support Parents in terms of phonics, handwriting, oral language development, reading and writing through our questionnaires.



Our school has strengths in the following areas with regard to Numeracy:

  • Mental Maths is encouraged with a strong emphasis on tables and given a specific time slot.
  • There is equal emphasis on all strands though some require more time than others.
  • Teachers’ planning is based on the Maths curriculum and the school Maths plan.
  •  Talk & Discussion and opportunities for pupils to explain answers for part of Maths lessons.
  • There will be an agreed whole school policy on Maths Language and agreed strategies for teaching various Maths topics.
  • There is an agreed approach to numeral formation and presentation of written work.
  • The school has a good supply of Maths resources centrally located.
  • There is a whole school approach to the teaching of problem solving with the focus on teaching the language of problem solving.
  • Results of assessments are used to inform teacher planning.
  • Problem solving: Increase of 6% in overall score in the area of problem solving.


The following Areas are prioritized for improvement with regard to Numeracy:

  • Strategies to support pupils problem solving needs to continue and to be built on.
  • Increasing opportunities for pupils to engage with Maths
    • Increase the use of Maths in the school environment.
    •  Creation of Maths trails within and outside the school building.
    • Increased use of Maths games
  • Examine how we can support parents with regard to the content, methodologies and language of Maths – especially topics of subtraction, long division and fractions.
  • Examine strategies to provide challenges for more able students in Maths.



The following Legislative and regulatory requirements need to be reviewed:

  1. Review of learning support policy           4. Review of health and safety policy
  2. Review of Data protection policy              5. Review of yard supervision policy
  3. Review of critical incident policy

The following policies have been reviewed

  1. Review of Enrolment policy June 2014
  2. In- school Management policy 2014
  1. Attendance Policy/Strategies 2014
  2. Review of Child Protection policy March 2014, policy reviewed in June 2015
  3. Anti- bullying policy rewritten in line with new guidelines March 2014, policy reviewed in June 2015
  4. Code of behaviour
  5. Review of  the policy on job share


The following plans have been reviewed:

  1. Gaeilge 2014
  2. English Plan 2014
  3. Drama 2014
  4. Plean scoile 2014


The following  Curriculum Plans and Policies need to be reviewed over the next 3 years:

Last reviewed in the dates listed

  1. History 2013
  2. SPHE 2012                            
  3. English Plan 2014                            
  4. Maths 2012                                       
  5. Science 2012                                                                                    
  6. Policy for more able students 2011
  7. Swimming policy 2012

Taking children on holiday during term time


Dear parents/guardians,

This letter is to clarify request re children going on holidays within school time. The school is open for 183 days a year as required by the Department of Education. If a family decides to go on holiday within school time a letter must be given to the class teacher and it is put on file in the office. It is not recommended that you take children on holiday within school time.

The class teacher is under no obligation to supply work for your child to complete when on holiday.

I hope this clarifies the issue but please do not hesitate to contact the office if you wish.

Thank you for your support in this matter.


Ms M Murphy

Voluntary Contribution

Voluntary Contribution :  money contributed in March 2014 for academic year 2013/2014

How it was spent so far this year:

Sports equipment :            €700

Extra resources for guided reading:        €300

Resources for literacy in 3rd, 5th and 6th. €150

Resources for Infants: €120      ( aistear) Infants learning through play.

Contribution towards the storyteller Brendan Nolan €100

Contribution to trip to Imaginosity     €106

Prizes for Bio- Diversity:      €100

Payment for Bio- Diversity workshops €350

Textaparent     €440 so far this year

23/2/2015   total €2366

This will be updated regulary.


School Uniform

School uniform


Tracksuit can be purchased in McFaddens. ( This one has a stripe and that’s fine)

You may purchase plain, navy sweatshirt, plain, light blue polo shirt and plain, navy tracksuit bottom in any department store.

Logos, brand names, stripes, hoodies and tops with zips are not allowed and I would ask for your full support in this matter.   (Remember it is plain navy)

School crests will be available in McFaddens.

Navy skirts, trousers and jumpers are optional

If your child does not have the correct uniform please be advised that a letter will be sent home to you. It is very important that logos, brand names, hoodies etc do not become part of our uniform.

Ms M Murphy

School Uniform September 2014

Dear parents/guardians,

The following is the uniform for this September following our parental survey on school uniforms as requested by Ruairi Quinn, minister for education.


As of from September 2014 the tracksuit can be purchased from McFaddens or from any department store.

The only tracksuit that is allowed is a navy sweatshirt ( no hoodies or zips), a navy bottom ( no stripes, no logos, no designer labels) and a light blue polo shirt.

The school crest will be available in McFaddens and this can be attached.

Navy trousers, navy skirts, navy jumpers are optional.

Please be advised that strict compliance to above will be expected and I hope you will purchase accordingly.

I appreciate your support in this matter.

Mrs Murphy


Principal's page



Dear parents/guardians,

The following letter seeks to clarify our position re supervision outside of school hours. I would like to highlight the fact that there is no change to our current situation. Children do arrive at school before the official opening time and that choice still rests with you the parents/guardians.


Advice has been taken from our insurance company and it is recommended that at the start of each school year a letter is sent to all the parents to state the hours in which your child is supervised. Following a Board of management meeting it was agreed that this letter should be sent to each family.


Please note that the children are supervised from 9.20 am to 3 pm each school day. While of course the school grounds are open to the pupils the school cannot accept responsibility for children arriving before the official opening of the school or remaining in the school grounds after school.

If your child is attending Irish dancing, Modern Dance Class or Tae Kwando after school your child is supervised by the adult in charge of the class. Likewise your child is supervised if they decide to be involved in cross country on a Tuesday and Thursday morning ( weather permitting) as again an adult will be supervising them as they run.

School timetable:

The school will be open to receive pupils from 9.20 am.

Classes will end each day at 3 pm.

Thank you for your support in this matter.

Class Blog

Check out what Ms. Andrews' class are up to by following their class blog: