The following report and Irish literacy targets are part of School Self Evaluation (SSE), an element of the wider National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy. The following findings in St Aiden’s NS are based on a combination of pupil, teacher and parental surveys as well as standardised testing scores in Irish.
1.1 Learning outcomes Irish Standardised testing
· Pupil standardised scores for literacy indicate that standard scores for Irish reading, vocabulary and understanding, are significantly above national norms in the higher end (Standard score 110-130) and below in the lower end (Standard Score 79 and below). The number of pupils with a standard score of 90 or above is 99.9%. The number of pupils with a standardised score of 79 or below is 0%.
· Pupils standardised scores for literacy indicate that standard scores for Irish listening comprehension are marginally below national norms at the highest end and marginally above in the lower end (0.7 % below). In 2018, the percentage of pupils with a standard score of 90 or above is 91.9%. The number of pupils with a standard score of below 90 is 8.1%.
· 81.5% of those tested in 2018 in 2nd-6th classes were performing at or above their ability in Irish. Of those under-performing (18.5%), 42.3% are identified as having additional learning needs.
1.2 Learning outcomes: Pupil survey
· 86.7% of pupils reported they are able to write in Irish
· 26.7% of pupils indicated that they believe they are good at speaking Irish, with 13.3% believing they are not. 60% did not know.
· 53.3% of pupils reported they are good at reading Irish; 10% not while 36.7% did not know
· 20.6% of pupils surveyed indicated speaking to be the biggest difficulty in Irish. Only 13.7% of pupils indicated difficulty with new vocabulary, understanding and remembering for both speaking and writing
1.3 Parental questionnaires
· 62.5% of parents reported that their children were doing well in Irish and 12.5% are not, with 25% unknown.
· 12.5% of parents reported always listening to their child read Irish aloud, with 37.5% sometimes and 50% never listening to their child read aloud in Irish.
· 50% reported their child likes to write Irish stories with the same percentage not.
· 50 % of parents reported their child always spends time during homework learning Irish spellings, 25% often and 25% never.
· 50% reported their child often uses a strategy to learn Irish spellings, 12.5% sometimes and 37.5% never
· 100% of parents reported receiving information about how their child is doing from the school.
· 75% reported their child sometimes uses Irish words and phrases and 25% reported often
· 25% of parents reported their child often needs help with Irish homework with 37.5% sometimes needing help and 37.5% never.
· Valuable suggestions were made regarding the use of homework strategies (similar to those used in English) to make Irish more interactive for parents.
1.4 Learner experience
· 53.3% of pupils like Irish
· 69.4% try to speak Irish every day
· 53.3% reported there are good Irish books to read in their classrooms
· 76.7% of pupils reported using technology to write stories in Irish
· 40% like writing in Irish; 30% do not.
· Pupils reported difficulty with speaking Irish
· Pupils reported positive attitudes towards the following: drama in Irish, playing word games, reading, speaking to older people in Irish and using technology in Irish
1.5 Teacher practices
· 100% of teachers indicated instilling and maintaining motivation to learn Irish as a priority at this time which is in keeping with the pupil responses
· Teachers reported that most pupils listen attentively and with understanding
· All teachers reported pupils display positive attitudes towards listening and speaking and are particularly well motivated by the Bua na Cainte scheme and interactive approach.
· Teachers from 2nd-6th classes reported pupils weakness to be using foclóir outside of the Irish class
· 5th and 6th class teacher reported grammar as a weakness
· Teachers of 2nd-6th classes indicated pupil strengths in reading and writing
· Teachers indicated ICT, drámaíocht, ceol and cómhra beirte to be the most successful teaching strategies
· The Principal indicated that all teachers’ preparation for teaching of the Primary language curriculum is at a high standard with expected learning outcomes clearly identified and differentiated as necessary to cater for the needs of pupils, indicating teaching approaches, resources and activities that will facilitate the achievement of the learning outcomes. A whole school approach to planning for Irish and language learning is of benefit to all
· Long term and short term plans are prepared and available.
· Assessment is carried out according to Curriculum and NCCA guidelines; however it is predominantly teacher-centred assessment.
2. Summary of school self-evaluation findings
· Attainment levels in Irish reading, understanding and listening are currently above national norms.
· Pupils maintain a relatively positive attitude towards Irish
· Drama and word games were found to help introduce important vocabulary.
· Bua na Cainte is used successfully throughout the school
· Pupils use digital media to a very high standard across the curriculum
· Pupils are given many opportunities to present work in Irish e.g. for the website, creating podcasts and digital stories. This instils confidence , motivation and develops pupils’ skills in Irish
2.2 Areas for improvement (as for SIP targets)
· The teaching of Irish will continue to be developed at whole school level
· Continuation of whole-school approach to oral language development is deemed important with the continuing implementation of the Primary language Curriculum
· A CLIL language integration approach to Gaeilge across the classes will be explored in the areas of Art and PE
· A skills based approach, similar to English initiatives such as CAPER and literacy stations will be implemented to improve motivation, key vocabulary and reading fluency and to encourage parental involvement
· A thematic approach to English and Irish Literacy is also to be explored with planned shared learning outcomes for both literacy areas
Reported to the Board of Management St Aiden’s NS on December 10th, 2019
Fr. Joseph Gavigan, Chairperson Anne Moriarty, Principal