A school self-evaluation of teaching and learning in Newtown School was undertaken during the period from November 2016 to May 2017. This cycle of school self-evaluation process for 2016 -2020 continues to focus on teaching and learning. The four year cycle allows for an investigation year to scope out and develop the improvement plan and preparing for its implementation. Literacy and Numeracy practices are to be embedded, with regular review, 2016-2020.
Review of Literacy and Numeracy (November 2016-May 2017)
Classrooms are organised in a manner that supports learning. Particular emphasis has been placed on creating a print-rich environment. The classroom environments support, encourage and celebrates students’ learning and achievements, particularly through the display of students’ work. Subject-appropriate teaching and learning methodologies are used to develop literacy and numeracy. Appropriate links to other subjects are established to support students’ literacy and numeracy skills. Newtown participated in Waterford’s first Spelling Bee competition which was organised by Waterford’s Promotion of Literacy in Communities and Schools team. All First and Second Form students participated in the school element of the competition. In the weeks preceding the Spelling Bee event, many subject teachers were involved in preparing students for the school competition. Each subject area taught the keywords associated with their subject. This whole school approach reinforced to students that literacy skills apply across all areas of the curriculum. Two teams were chosen to go forward to the Waterford Schools’ Competition. (Both teams made it through to the final and finished in an impressive second and fourth place.)
All students and staff participated in ‘Drop Everything and Read’ highlighting the benefit of reading for pleasure.
All notices about upcoming literacy events, competitions (short story, poetry, handwriting, debating) are posted on the English notice board. Students are encouraged to get involved in literary events, for example, this year they participated in The RTE Guide ‘Puffin Short Story Competition’, the IMMRAMA Travel Writing competition and a variety of national poetry competitions for schools.
A group of Form 5 students produce Newtown Review. Students from all years are invited to submit articles, short stories, poems and interviews throughout the year.
A whole school approach is used to embed Numeracy, all subjects encourage students to calculate percentage grades in tests, for example P.E. – distances, time, scoring systems, Construction Studies/MTW, measurement cutting lists, use of angles, Business Studies—money, pricing, book keeping, Geography –co-ordinates, graphs, History-time spans , graphs, Science solving real life problems using Maths, Music –linking Maths with rhythm, Home Economics—measuring, weighing, ratio, budget calculations.
The Learning Support department worked in close partnership with all teachers to identify students at an early stage who had a significant deficit in Literacy and/or Numeracy proficiency.
Strategies to embed Literacy and Numeracy in 2017/18
- Continue to promote Spelling Bee and further build on this by creating our own word lists across subject areas. The lists could be displayed around the school. Promote oral literacy by supporting students in making presentations to their peer group.
- Additional noticeboard in Penn that will focus on Literacy
- A ‘Reading Collect’
- Encourage students to avail of the Library.
- Continue to encourage students’ participation in Literary events and production of Newtown Review
- Conduct Attainment and diagnostic test with Form 1 students. The tests are analysed and informs Teaching and Learning across the curriculum
- Investigate the implementation of standardised numerical methods to promote consistency across subjects
- Numeracy dedicated notice board in Glynn
- Maths Puzzle of the week
In addition to embedding Numeracy and Literacy, we have identified Assessment as the focus for 2016/2020 cycle of School Self–Evaluation.
In year 1 2016/2017 – Investigation on assessment practices
Evidence was gathered through surveys of parents (Newtown Association), students (student council), teachers and findings arising from the WSE-MLL report. P, DP, and cycle co-ordinators met with Susan Ormond from PDST to discuss findings, and structure of in-service. Whole–staff in-service on Assessment/SSE was provided by the PDST on 28th Feb and 6th March.
The findings highlighted that a wide variety of Formative and Summative Assessment practices were integral part of Teaching and Learning in Newtown.
The following areas were prioritised for further development across the curriculum:
- Sharing of Learning Intentions, success criteria
- Teaching students the skills of self and peer assessment
- Discuss success criteria with students to foster self /peer assessment
- Feedback managed in an effective and timely manner
- Opportunities for sharing professional practice
- Formative feedback
- Working group on Assessment for Learning (AFL)
A working group for AFL was established following the in-service. The group was tasked to design a plan to progress the implementation of AFL in 2017/2018.
The group presented the following plan to staff on 16th May. The proposal was discussed and received support, it was agreed that it would be implemented in the teaching of First Year across the curriculum.
Formative Assessment Plan 2017/2018
The working group will meet in August to discuss the details of implementation of the plan.
A presentation will then be made to Staff at start of school year.
In line with SSE requirements, the review will be carried out in May 2018