School Self-Evaluation 2014











St Colmcille’s Boys’ National School

Chapel Lane, Swords, Co. Dublin





School Self-Evaluation Report





Evaluation period: September 2013- June 2014



Report issue date: September 2014









School Self-Evaluation Report


1. Introduction


1.1      The focus of the evaluation

A school self-evaluation of teaching and learning in St Colmcille’s BNScommenced in December 2012. During the evaluation, teaching and learning in the following curriculum areas were evaluated:

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy

The focus of the School Self-Improvement initiatives was on an element of Literacy during the school year, 2013-14; Elements of Numeracy were evaluated during 2013-14, and School Self-Improvement initiatives with regard to Literacy and Numeracy will  be put in place during 2014-15

This is a report on the findings of the evaluation.


1.2      School context


St Colmcille’s BNS is a vertical school with a pupil population of 395 boys. During the past number of years, there has been a continuing decline in the enrolment numbers, with the result that in the school year, 2013/14, there was one composite class. The staffing during the period under evaluation was principal, 15 mainstream class teachers, 8 resource teachers, 1 language support teacher and 5.83 Special Needs Assistants. With regard to the pupil population, a significant number of pupils did not have English as their first language. In 2013-14, 37 pupils received language support. There were 36 pupils with low incidence special needs and 7 pupils with high incidence special needs. 18 pupils had access to the Special Needs Assistants.

The following initiatives were undertaken during the course of the school year, 2013-14: 2 portacabins were removed, and a permanent 3 room resource building was erected. The Resource Room at the top of the hall was divided into 2 rooms, and Interactive Whiteboards were installed in each resource classroom. There was a considerable investment in Information Technology, with the commissioning of a new server being the most significant element of this campaign. The school was granted the Digital Schools of Distinction award. The raising of consciousness with regard to the environment was maintained, and a fourth Green Flag was obtained. The school community organised a Multi-cultural evening, the proceeds of which were donated to Éabha Dunne, the daughter of Olivia Clinton, a much-loved colleague, who was killed tragically on 17 January 2014. A major history project, The Riots in Swords in 1913, was undertaken as part of the Decade of Centenaries competition, and a local history book, Images of Swords which was compiled by the pupils, sold out, and a second edition will be published in September 2014.

Among the school policy documents revised during 2013-14 were Anti-Bullying, Cyber-Bullying, Parents as Partners in Education and Relationships and Sexuality Education. At curricular level, a new English language series was introduced, with the long and short-term schemes of work in English being revised as a result.


Summary of school self-evaluation findings – Literacy and Numeracy

2.1 Learning to learn

Pupils are encouraged to use a variety of tools to help their own learning, both in school and at home, as all pupils have their own individual learning style and supports for learning, depending on their individual circumstances. In school, learning through visual and auditory methods is enhanced through use of the interactive whiteboard in the classrooms, and pupils have access to computers to research any topic which they are studying.


2.2 Preparation for teaching

All of our teachers have a wide range of experience at different class levels and update their pedagogical skills on an on-going basis through a range of continuous professional development courses relevant to school and classroom needs. Long-term schemes have been prepared for every cohort and short-term planning is focused on curriculum objectives and adapted as necessary to the needs of pupils in a class. Individual Education Plans are prepared by our resource teachers, in consultation with classroom teachers and parents.

2.3 Teaching approaches

A variety of teaching approaches and styles are adopted, depending on the age and class level, or on learning needs of pupils. During the course of 2012-13, a team-teaching initiative was undertaken with pupils from 3rd to 6th Classes inclusive with specific reference to Mathematics. In-class support and small group work are incorporated into the work of the resource teachers, while small group work is undertaken by the resource teachers. Group or pair work, peer tutoring and whole class teaching are used by classroom teachers during the course of the day, depending on the strand in Mathematics which is being taught and the  and needs of the class or pupils.

2.4 Attainment of Curriculum Objectives

Assessment tools indicate that the majority of pupils attain curriculum objectives relative to their class grouping, as set out in the Primary School Curriculum for Numeracy. Those pupils who are having difficulties in numeracy received differentiated support either in class from the class teacher or the resource teachers.

Informal assessment of learning in Mathematics is carried out on an on-going basis by class teachers and resource teachers to monitor attainment of curriculum objectives relevant to the pupil’s class. Formal assessments (Drumcondra Mathematics) are carried out in May for classes from 1st to 6th and parents are notified of the outcome. The DES is notified of summary results for 2nd, 4th and 6th classes in accordance with requirements.

2.5 Assessment

The school uses a range of other assessment tools to monitor pupil progress and to assist in diagnosis of difficulties which may arise in individual cases. Results are also used to assist in teacher planning and to co-ordinate learning supports for pupils. In addition to the standardised tests, the Drumcondra Screening Tests are used with regard to attainments in numeracy in the infant classes. This range of assessments is supplemented by teacher observation, classroom tests and teacher-designed tasks and tests.

2.6 Pupils’ engagement in learning

Pupils’ engagement in learning is monitored by their class teacher and if any areas of concern arise, these are brought to the attention of parents so that any concerns can be addressed and the pupil’s learning improved.


3. Progress made on previously-identified improvement targets

During 2011-2012, concerns were expressed with regard to attainment in Mathematics. It was decided to undertake team-teaching in Mathematics for all pupils from 3rd to 6th Classes inclusive. The results of the Drumcondra tests in Mathematics in 2013 appeared to bear testimony to  the effectiveness of this initiative, and the results in 2014 were analysed to assess if the impact of the team-teaching continued to have beneficial results.



Drumcondra Maths Results 6th 5th 4th 3rd


  51-99 percentile 51-99 percentile 51-99 percentile 51-99 percentile
2012 54% 42% 53% 70%
2013 68% 64% 54% 76%
2014 67% 59% 76% 74%


The results in 2013 and 2014 demonstrate that the numbers on the 51st to 99th Percentiles have been either maintained or bettered.  When the results for the Drumcondra Maths Tests of 2014 are evaluated, it is noticeable that practically 25% of our pupils are in the 91st– 99th percentile range.    


Drumcondra Mathematics Results, 2014


Percentile Range 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th Total %
91-99 11 6 12 16 13 12 70 24.9%
81-90 8 7 9 6 6 9 45 16%
71-80 8 7 7 9 4 5 40 14.2%
61-70 6 2 1 6 3 6 24 8.5%
51-60 2 3 6 2 1 2 16 5.7%
41-50 3 2 1 2 4 4 16 5.7%
31-40 2 7 3 3 1 3 19 6.8%
21-30 2 1 2 4 6 3 18 6.4%
11-20 1 2 3 2 3 4 15 5.3%
1-10 4 2 3 1 5 3 18 6.4%
Totals 47 39 47 51 46 51 281  



It is intended to continue with team teaching in Mathematics for pupils in 3rd to 6th Classes inclusive during the school year 2014-15.


4.1 Strengths

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

  • Teachers’ planning is based on the Mathematics curriculum and on the school Mathematics plan
  • There is not an over-reliance on textbooks for the teaching of Mathematics
  • There is significant co-operation among the class teachers and resource teachers with regard to the teaching of Mathematics
  • The pupils’ attainments in Mathematics compare very favourably with national norms
  • Team-teaching has been very successful in supporting a differentiated approach to teaching and learning
  • Adequate time is allocated to the teaching of each strand of the Mathematics curriculum
  • Talk and discussion are integral aspects of the Mathematics programme
  • Specific time is allocated to Mental Mathematics
  • There is a reasonable supply of resources for the teaching of Mathematics
  • ICT is used effectively to support teaching and learning
  • Assessment policy is very effective
  • The results of assessment are used to inform planning and teaching

4.2      Areas identified for Improvement and Development

  • Devise an agreed approach for the teaching of number facts
  • Draw up an agreed list of mathematical language and terms
  • Re-visit advice on methods of teaching addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, addition and subtraction of fractions and time
  • Place a greater emphasis on pupils being able to discuss the manner in which they arrived at answers
  • Increase the amount of concrete materials and other resources which are available for Mathematics
  • Provide an inventory of the resources which are available for the teaching of Mathematics
  • Give more opportunities for children to learn from each other
  • Increase emphasis on application of Mathematics to everyday life
  • Provide an agreed strategy for problem-solving
  • Make greater use of the school environment in the teaching of Mathematics
  • Design mathematical trails
  • Make increased use of ICT
  • Increase the opportunities for children to display their mathematical work in classrooms, on corridors and on website
  • Provide more opportunities for children of exceptional ability in Mathematics
  • Prepare information booklet for parents with regard to methodologies in Mathematics
  • Provide information for parents with regard to advice which is available from NCCA, PDST etc



Literacy: Oral Language

Results for 2013-14

The review procedures were as follows:

  • The Drumcondra  Profile Oral Language Indicators were used by all teachers to rate the level of attainment of our pupils
  • 10-15 pupils were selected for evaluation in each class – roughly 50% of each class
  • A variety of methodologies was used to evaluate attainment, and these are specified in the reports of the individual teachers

Junior Infants

Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
5 pupils 2 2 6 3 2 4 0 0 7


Total evaluated: 30

Senior Infants


Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
2 pupils 2 11   1 1 3 1 0 1


Total evaluated: 22


First Class


Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
0 7 0 4 6 0 3 0 5 0


Total evaluated: 25 pupils

Second Class


Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
6 4     4 1   3    


Total evaluated: 18 pupils

Third Class

Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
  5 5 1 4 1 4      


Total evaluated: 20 pupils


Fourth Class

Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
6 3 5 11            


Total evaluated: 25 pupils

Fifth Class

Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10


Total evaluated: 20 pupils


Strengths in Oral Language as demonstrated throughout evaluation

  • Confident in speaking in front of class
  • Effective listeners
  • Effective answering of questions from peers
  • Confident in varying tone of voice
  • Able to sequence events
  • Able to recall information accurately with regard to characters in stories
  • Able to speak audibly and distinctly

Priorities for Improvement

  • Overuse of words such as “and, after, then went”.
  • Disorganised sentence structure
  • Limited range of vocabulary
  • Incorrect use of tenses
  • Inability to elaborate on a point

Objectives for Oral Language for 2014-15


  • Practise oral reporting
  • Retell stories and relate to life experiences
  • Create more opportunities for small group work
  • Practise questioning and interviewing
  • Set up formal debates in senior classes
  • Continue school assemblies
  • Focus on giving accurate instructions/directions
  • Respond to stories and poems
  • Describe objects, events and people
  • Discuss feelings of empathy
  • Discuss characters’ motives
  • Discuss a range of solutions to problems encountered in stories



 Appendix to School Self-Evaluation Report:

legislative and regulatory checklist





Relevant legislation, rule or circular


Is the school fully meeting the requirements of the relevant legislation, rule or circular?



If no, indicate aspects to be developed

Time in school

– Length of school year – minimum of 183 days

– Length of school day

4 hours 40 minutes (infants);

5 hour 40 minutes (1st-6th classes)


Circular 11/95 PYes  No






PYes  No

Arrangements for parent/ teacher and staff meetings


Circular 14/04 PYes  No  
Implementation of Croke Park agreement regarding additional time requirement


Circular 0008/2011 PYes  No  
Standardisation of school year


Circular 034/2011 PYes  No  



Valid enrolment of pupils Section 9(1), 15(2) and 23 Education Act 1998

Sections 20 and 21, Education (Welfare) Act 2000

Rules 55, 64, 108 and 123, Rules for National Schools

Circular P24/02

Staffing Schedule for current school year



PYes  No  
Retention of pupils Rule 64 Rules for National Schools

Circular 11/01

Circular 32/03


P  Yes  No  
Development of school plan


Section 21, Education Act 1998 P  Yes  No  


Appointments to posts of responsibility


Circular 07/03

Circular 053/2011

P Yes  


Time for literacy and numeracy – assessing and reporting literacy and numeracy achievement Circular 0056/11 Initial Steps in the Implementation of the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy P Yes  



Exemption from Irish Circular 12/96 P Yes





Implementation of child protection procedures Circular 0065/2011


Please ensure the following in relation to child protection



PYes  No

▪ Number of cases where a report involving a child in the school was submitted by the DLP to the HSE


▪ Number of cases where a report involving a child in the school was submitted by the DLP to the HSE and the school board of management informed


▪ Number of cases where the DLP sought advice from the HSE and as a result of this advice, no report was made


▪ Number of cases where the DLP sought advice from the HSE and as a result of this advice, no report was made and the school board of management informed

















Implementation of complaints procedure as appropriate Complaints Procedures, Section 28 Education Act

Primary Boards of Management Information Manual November 2007


Please consider the following in relation to complaints


PYes  No  
▪ Number of formal parental complaints received


▪ Number of formal complaints processed


▪ Number of formal complaints not fully processed by the end of this school year









Refusal to enrol Section 29 Education Act 1998


Please provide the following information in relation to appeals taken in accordance with Section 29 against the school during this school year





Number of section 29 cases taken against the school


Number of cases processed at informal stage


Number of cases heard


Number of appeals upheld


Number of appeals dismissed











Suspension of students Section 29 Education Act 1998


Please provide the following information in relation to appeals taken in accordance with Section 29 against the school during this school year


Number of section 29 cases taken against the school


Number of cases processed at informal stage


Number of cases heard


Number of appeals upheld


Number of appeals dismissed

















Expulsion of students Section 29 Education Act 1998


Please provide the following information in relation to appeals taken in accordance with Section 29 against the school during this school year

Number of section 29 cases taken against the school


Number of cases processed at informal stage


Number of cases heard



Number of appeals upheld


Number of appeals dismissed
























Has policy been approved by the board of management?



If no, indicate aspects to be


Enrolment policy Section (15)(2)(d) Education Act 1998


P Yes  No  
Code of behaviour[1] including anti-bullying policy Circular 20/90

DES Guidelines on Countering Bullying Behaviour 1993

NEWB Guidelines

Section 23, Education Welfare Act 2000


P Yes  No  
Attendance and participation strategy[2]


Section 22 Education Welfare Act 2000

Equal Status Acts 2000-2011

P Yes  No  
Health and safety statement


Section 20 Health and Safety Act 2005 P Yes  No  
Data protection Data Protection Act 1988

Data Protection (Amendment Act) 2003


P Yes  No  
Special education needs policy[3] Education Act 1998

Equal Status Acts 2000- 2011

Education (Welfare) Act 2000

Education for Persons with Special Education Needs Act (EPSEN)[4] 2004

Disability Act 2005


P Yes  No  
Relationships and sexuality education (RSE) policy


Relationships and Sexuality Education: Policy Guidelines (1997)


Child protection policy Circular 0065/2011


P Yes  No  
Parents as partners Circular 24/91 √ Yes  No





Public service (Croke Park) agreement – special needs assistants Circular 71/11 P Yes  No













[1]Under the provisions of the Education (Welfare) Act (2000) (section 23) the school’s code of behaviour should conform to the specifications stated.

[2]Under the provisions of the Education (Welfare) Act (2000) (section 22), the school’s attendance strategy should conform with the provisions stipulated.

[3]Section 9 of the Education Act (1998) requires a school to “use its available resources” to identify and provide for the educational needs of those “with a disability or other special educational needs.”

[4] The EPSEN Act requires that schools be inclusive of and provide an appropriate education for pupils with special educational needs.