School Improvement Plan. (pdf, 132kb)

Evaluation period: October 2012-June 2016

  1. Introduction


  • The focus of the evaluation


As part of our ongoing work in St Fiachra’s Senior School a school self-evaluation of teaching and learning in St. Fiachra’s Senior School was undertaken during the period October 2011 to June 2012. During the evaluation, teaching and learning in the following curricular areas were evaluated:

  • Literacy – Results of Drumcondra Primary Reading Standardised Tests were evaluated and analysed
  • Numeracy: Understanding and using mathematics, specifically Problem Solving, Number Facts and Computation;


This School Improvement Plan (SIP) sets out the actions that we will undertake over the next three years in St Fiachra’s Senior School.  The main purpose of these actions is to improve our pupils’ learning.


  1. Summary of school self-evaluation findings


2.1 Our school has strengths in the following areas:



  • There is a good attitude towards Mathematics generally and pupils are motivated to learn.
  • There is equal emphasis on all strands, though some require more time than others.
  • Teachers’ planning is based on the Mathematics curriculum and the school Mathematics plan.
  • There is talk and discussion and opportunities for pupils to explain answers for part of Mathematics lessons.
  •  Class teachers are prepared in terms of practical and written planning for the delivery of the Mathematics Curriculum.
  • Plenty of opportunities are provided for independent and collaborative learning in Mathematics.
  • Results of assessments are used to inform teacher planning.
  • Having focused on problem solving across all streams it is evident that the children’s ability to solve problems is increasing. This has been identified through standardised test scores and teacher observations.
  • It is evident that there is an increased awareness of maths vocabulary throughout the school.



  • Reading attainment is inline or above the national norm evidenced by our standardised test results.
  • Various reading initiatives in the school encourage reading i.e. DEAR Time, Fighting Words and mobile classroom library.

Third classes are timetabled to visit Coolock Library and it assists the school in providing sets of novels for classroom use.

  • There is a strong emphasis on a print-rich environment- sight vocabulary and word walls are evident.
  • There is a variety of classroom novels for pupils reading enjoyment.
  • Pupils viewed themselves as confident in punctuation, handwriting and spelling as per writing questionnaire.
  • Throughout the school, pupils generally, have neat legible handwriting.


2.2 The following areas are prioritised for improvement



  • Time and opportunities to support pupils’ problem-solving skills will be continued.
  • Problem-solving skill-development techniques will be practised frequently.
  • There is an identified need to examine strategies to enable pupils to become more fluent in their number facts (Tables) in the four operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
  • Termly testing using the Ballard and Westwood (one minute number facts test) will be introduced.
  • Further development of the pupils understanding of mathematical language.

**Reflective logs will be trialled in third and fifth class streams focusing on problem solving.**

**The strand units of money and time will be prioritised.**




Oral Language Skills

  • Adopt a whole school approach to Oral Language Development.
  • Oral Language to form integral part of all literacy lessons.
  • Specific Oral Language skills to be taught and practised in discrete Oral Language lessons. (30 minutes per week)
  • Oral Language skills will be integrated throughout the curriculum.



  • To maintain a positive attitude towards reading for enjoyment through ten minutes of sustained silent reading daily (DEAR time)
  • Vocabulary building through a variety of strategies e.g vocabulary worksheets, word walls.
  • Whole school approach to the teaching of comprehension strategies using “Building Bridges of Understanding” by Martin Gleeson.



While all writing genres will be taught in each class stream, two specific genres will be explicitly taught to each class level.

  • Provide a classroom environment that encourages writing.
  • Observe the teacher modelling specific writing genres for their class level.
  • Children will be more familiar and competent with the features of the genre specific to their class level.

**A structured approach to editing of pupils’ own work to be agreed.**

**Pupils will evaluate their writing using the strategy two stars and a wish.**


2.3 Our school has set the following targets for improvement which are related to pupils’ achievement and has identified the following actions which will help in achieving those targets over the next three years.



Priority Improvement Targets Required Action Planning Activities Time scale Responsibility Success Criteria
1 Improve pupil performance in problem solving Strategies to support pupils’


skills will be

agreed at whole

school level

·       Create a whole

school strategy:

Read, Underline,

Draw, Estimate

(RUDE) –3rd-6th class


·       Review and

monitor to ensure

teaching approaches are skilfully applied.








January 2015





Mainstream teachers and LS teachers -Improved performance in Drumcondra Maths Tests
2 Increase time allocated to the attainment  of number facts


-Increase use of mathematical games and

tables practice

-Begin learning

tables in Term 1

of each new

school year

·       Tables Champion was introduced.


·       Monitor and review

September 2012



March 2014

Mainstream teachers and LS teachers -Improved performance on

The Ballard/Westwood

Tables Test

-Improved fluency

in reciting tables

3 Further the acquisition of mathematical language Maths vocabulary prioritised when introducing each new concept ·       Mathematical language reinforced through the methodology of talk and discussion and also group work 2014 Mainstream teachers and LS teachers -Children’s ability to pose problems in group work activity
4 Increase opportunities for pupils to engage with Mathematical


-Creation of


trails within and outside the school building

– Maths week activities

·       Maths week activities on an annual basis throughout the school 2013 Mainstream teachers and LS teachers -Increased

opportunities for

pupils to engage

with Maths


There will be an increased emphasis on the strand units of money and time







·               To increase the children’s understanding of time and money in real life contexts

·       A daily challenge based on money and time.

·       Hands on activities based on both strand units e.g timetables, classroom  shop, Argos and Smyths catalogues.



January 2016


Class teachers/ learning support


An improvement in money and time questions on the standardised tests.


A more positive attitude towards money and time word problems.

**6 Reflective learning logs for maths problem solving ·               Increase children’s awareness of children’s problems solving abilities


·         The use of PDST reflective learning log (trialling 3rd and 5th streams ) January 2016 Mainstream teacher/ learning support teachers Increased ability in self – assessment.








Improvement Targets Required Action Time Scale Responsibility Success Criteria
1 To increase comprehension scores on the Drumcondra Primary Reading Tests


·       Watch DVDs (Building Bridges) on the teaching of comprehension strategies.


·       Presentation to the staff  by Ms. Mc Intyre and Ms. Burke


·       Purchased books for teaching strategies to each class level based on Building Bridges.


·       Whole school approach to the teaching of the comprehension strategies with the use of Building Bridges of Understanding by Martin Gleeson. (These strategies were the basis for the selection of the new English Reading Scheme Wonderland within the school).



·       Strategies to be introduced as follows:

3rd– Prediction, Visualisation, Making Connections, Declunking

4th– Declunking, questioning, seeking clarification

5th– Determining importance, inference, synthesis

6th– All strategies



·       Overall school plan eliciting the specific strategies to be taught at each class level


 September 2014  – December 2014











February 2015










February 2015

All teachers



Ms. Mc Intyre

Ms. Burke



Ms. Mc Intyre










Class teachers


L/S teachers

Results of comprehension section in the DPRT


Implementation of the programme by the teachers


Engagement of the pupils in the programme

2 Develop whole school approach to the writing genres at each of the class levels













·       In-service – Whole School Seminar – Writing Genres (c/o PDST facilitator)


·       Each teacher to have access to PDST booklet Writing Genre according to the specific genre being taught in their stream.


·       Draw up and implement a plan to highlight which writing genres to be taught in each stream.

May 2014 (for booklists 2014/ 2015)




November 2014






June 2015

English Book Review Committee




PDST Facilitator






Ms. Smith

Selection of a suitable book


Teachers participation + Teachers modelling in the classroom








Plan in place

3 Implement a whole school approach to writing genres ·       While the children will be exposed to all genres throughout the year, two genres will be explicitly taught in each stream following the PDST teaching framework. The PDST booklets are available to each teacher on the school’s shared drive.

3rd class: Recount, Report**

4th class: Narrative, Descriptive**

5th class: Procedural, Narrative**

6th class: Exposition, Discussion**


·       The specific genres for each class stream are evident in classroom displays. This includes relevant vocabulary necessary to teach each genre, samples of writing, children’s work, and the features of the genre.


**Children will evaluate their own work using the self-assessment strategy of two stars and a wish. **


**Implement a whole school approach to the writing process: pre – write, write, revise, edit, publish**


September 2015





















January 2016




January 2016

4 Oral Language to form integral part of literacy lessons by offering opportunities for pupils to develop oral language skills at each class level.


·       Discrete oral language will be assessed and following the analysis of the results, a discrete oral language programme will be implemented for thirty minutes per week.


·       The possible introduction of a literacy team

December 2015







January 2016

Class Teacher






Analysis- Literacy Team

Oral Language Programme in place.