School Self Evaluation Report JUNE 2014

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Holy Family School



Co. Kerry.


Roll No.  19536W


Evaluation Period:        February – June  2014

Report issue date:        June 2014



The focus of the evaluation

A school self evaluation of teaching and learning in Holy Family School was undertaken during the 2012/13 school year.  After a period of analysis and consultation, literacy was selected as the curricular area to be focused on for the 2013/14 school year, in accordance with Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life (circular 56/2011). 

School Context

Holy Family School is a Catholic ethos, urban, mixed school established in 1976 under the patronage of the Bishop of Kerry.  The school currently has 11 mainstream classes from Junior Infants to 6th class.  It has two learning support teachers and two resource teachers.  The current enrolment is 263 pupils comprising 71 girls and 192 boys.

The school has approx. 70 children whose first language is not English.  We have 14 children who are members of the travelling community.  The school administers Micra-T standardised test in English and Sigma-T standardised test in Mathematics from 1st to 6th classes. 

Holy Family School has a broad spectrum, parent base which encompasses the full range of family situations encountered in a large urban town.

The Findings

Evaluation approaches and methods used to gather evidence

Data was gathered on the basis of both quantitative and qualitative enquiry.

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


·         Individual teacher views of practice in literacy

·         Pupils’ work - samples, copies, projects, displays

·         Observations of the learning support team

·         WSE observations and recommendations

·         Existing phonics and phonological awareness approaches

·         In-depth analysis of Micra-T standardised test results

·         Comparison of the outcomes of standardised tests with national norms

·         Middle Management discussion on best practice in teaching approaches  to literacy

·         Discussion with Parents Council representatives

·         Informal discussion with pupils regarding approaches to literacy


The following is a summary of our findings:-

Preparation for teaching

Teachers prepare short term and long term plans and use these plans to guide teaching and learning.  Monthly progress reports are completed and stored centrally.   Curriculum objectives are adhered to and the Plean Scoile is used to guide policy.

Teaching Approaches

Teachers utilise a broad range of resources, including information and communications technology (ICT) to good effect support pupils in their learning. Teachers successfully employ a wide variety of teaching methodologies and approaches appropriate to the development of oral language, reading, writing and digital media literacy. A variety of organisational groupings and settings are used in classrooms to support Literacy .  Teachers differentiate lessons effectively to cater for the needs and abilities of all pupils.

Management of Pupils

This is an inclusive school which respects all pupils regardless of background or gender. Teachers have high but realistic expectations of pupil's behaviour and learning and they communicate this to them. A positive code of behaviour, including an anti-bullying policy is implemented in a fair and consistent way. It is reviewed annually. Pupils with SEN are withdrawn from class for learning support in literacy.


A  large selection of assessment tools are used to assess learning in literacy– various diagnostic tests, observations, checklists, curriculum objectives, questioning, self-assessment, tests and standardised tests. The school administers Micra-T standardised test in English and Sigma-T standardised test in Mathematics from 1st to 6th class,.  A screening test (MIST) is used in Junior Infants to identify children at risk of reading failure. The Marino Word Reading Test is used at the end of the Senior Infant year.  On completion of standardized testing, diagnostic tests are administered to pupils at risk in June/September.

Learning Environment

A print rich environment is evident in classrooms, in resource rooms and around the school. The school is decorated with displays of pupils' work. Positive attitudes towards reading are fostered and reading initiatives to encourage reading take place regularly ( i.e. silent reading, paired reading , library reading,visits to the local library).Formal writing is well taught and pupils are facilitated to write in a variety of genres.The importance of oral language development is emphasised.

Progress made on previously identified improvement targets

  • Greater emphasis placed on the school book fair as a means of inviting parents into the school to promote the purchase of appropriate reading material for enjoyment
  • A resource room was developed to store resources centrally   
  • The development of pupil folders to highlight discrete areas of pupils’ classwork which are passed on from class to class.
  • Uniform child friendly signage was developed throughout the school interior                                                                                           

Summary of school self-evaluation findings

The following areas were identified as strengths with regard to literacy:

·         Reading initiatives to encourage reading: Paired reading, shared reading, visits to the library;

·         Print rich environment;

·         Good phonics development in junior classes;

·         Good variety of reading material available in classrooms

·         Sails Literacy Series from Junior Infants to 3rd class

-         Good variety of reading texts used. Lass novels used in middle and senior classes

·         Collaborative planning across streams and learning support;

·         The school has been proactive in helping parents to foster a culture of reading in the home;

·         Teachers observe that the majority of pupils display very positive attitudes to reading.

·         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.

·         Good Resources available

      ·         Variety of Assessment tools used

      ·         Diagnostic and standardised tests administered

      ·         Results of assessments are used to inform teacher planning

      ·         Children engage in Listening comprehension activities

      ·         The process of writing is fostered and developed

      ·         A variety of writing genres are taught

      ·        Questionnaires issued to parents (WSE 2011) indicate high levels of satisfaction with the school

      ·        Questionnaires issued to pupils (WSE 2011) indicate positive disposition towards school

The following areas are prioritised for development with regard to literacy:

·         The development and purchase of Jolly Phonics Programme from Junior Infants to 3rd class.

·         Professional advice to be sought regarding the implementation of Jolly Phonics Programme and staff

           seminar to be arranged

·         Information regarding Jolly Phonics Programme to be disseminated to parents

·         The research of a Lift-Off Literacy programme reflecting the needs of the school

·         The investment in and development of a Lift-Off Literacy programme

·         The staffing of a Lift-Off Literacy programme (Junior Infants to 3rd class)

·         The improvement of literacy skills of children in the various percentile bands as itemised in the

           standardised test results;

·         Increase the variety of reading materials in Junior and Senior classes by genre and ability levels;

·         Communication with parents regarding the commitment to the Lift-Off Literacy programme

·         Station Teaching of literacy skills  (Lift-Off Literacy programme)

·         The organisation of support for pupils in need to include in-class support as well as class withdrawal.

·         The purchase and incorporation into classes of Folens Literacy Boxes to enhance literacy

·         The adoption of a uniform reading scheme throughout the school

Legislative and regulatory requirements

           Holy Family School is currently meeting these requirements

School policy requirements

           The following policies need to be updated:-

·         Anti-bullying policy

·         Fire policy (Health & Safety)

·         Data Protection

·         SEN policy

·         Attendance and participation policy


Contact Us

  • Address: Balloonagh, Tralee, Co. Kerry
  • Tel: +353 (0) 66 71 241 61
  • Email us here

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