The Department of Education has praised Kilbeacanty National School’s board of management in a recent whole school evaluation report.
The school was inspected on September 21, 2011, with the subsequent report published on the department’s website this week.
The inspector listed the “active, vibrant board of management” as one of the main strengths of the school and that it “is keenly interested in engaging in a planned programme of whole-school improvement”.
The report on the inspection also credited parents and the broader community for its support “of the work of the school and a strong community spirit enhances life in the school”.
It also found the school has a “very committed and dedicated team of teachers who are open to exploring new practices to enhance teaching and learning. A positive, caring and orderly atmosphere pertains in the school and pupils present as very co-operative and friendly. High standards are achieved in most of the curricular areas evaluated”.
The report also made a number of recommendations.
It said, “the board should develop a long-term action plan incorporating the issuing of an annual report on the work of the school.”
Even though, at the time of the inspection, the school did not have a parents’ association, the inspector praised the “considerable contribution to school life through fundraising, maintaining and developing the school premises and supporting pupils’ participation in a range of activities.”
It also stated, “the board should encourage the formation of a parents’ association as a means of providing a voice to parents and of strengthening their involvement in the work of the school.”
The board of management at the school, responding to the report, outlined that a parents’ association was set up within two months of the inspection.
The inspector noted that teachers in the school had both long and short-term plans but suggested, “there is a need in some instances to align classroom planning more closely with the curriculum rather than with the content of textbooks”.
“The quality of overall teaching, learning and pupil achievement is good. There is a need to lessen the reliance on textbooks and, where textbooks are used, to ensure that they are suitably matched to the abilities of the pupils.
“There is also a need, in some instances, for more carefully structured group work in order to ensure that each class level works on activities that are suitably challenging,” it went on.
The report also advised, “there is scope to develop planning and classroom practice in order to implement suitably differentiated programmes of work and to ensure appropriate progression of pupils from class to class.”
Pupils in the school were found to achieve a “fair standard” in Irish and high standards in English.
Drama teaching in the school was singled out for particular praise.
“The teachers are to be commended for the manner in which drama is taught. There is a consistent approach to the creation of a safe environment in which ideas, feelings and experiences can be expressed.
“Variety, good organisation, appropriate progression, careful structuring and pacing of activities and a high level of engagement in post-drama reflection and discussion are features of the practice.
“The pupils enter physically, emotionally and intellectually into the drama with ease and confidence,” the report found.
In the school board’s response to the report, it said, “all recommendations will be incorporated into further planning, especially in the areas of literacy numeracy and school self-evaluation”.