Loreto High School, Beaufort engages in school “self-evaluation” each year. Throughout the school year 2013/2014, work was done to try and continuously improve the teaching and learning in the classroom and thereby improve the outcome for students. This evaluation took the form of reviewing results obtained by students, looking at levels taken by students, assessing how effective the timetable is in helping achieve the school’s mission statement, looking at pastoral care within the school, reviewing teaching methodologies used in the classroom and student engagement in learning. This self-evaluation was done through analysis of statistics and current school data, teacher questionnaires and student questionnaires.
As part of school self-evaluation surveys were undertaken through questionnaires given to students and teachers in May. To ensure there was a sample representative of the whole school body, 1 class group from each of 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th year were randomly chosen. This resulted in 95 students being surveyed which was 16% of the student population. 3rd and 6th years were not chosen as they were an exam year. All teaching staff were surveyed. An analysis of results in state exams was carried out. These were then compared to the national average.
The following are the main findings coming from the evaluation:
- Academic achievement is very high in Loreto High School, Beaufort with students generally achieving point totals considerably above the national average.
- Levels of attainment in both Literacy and Numeracy are high as evidenced by state exam results.
- Pastoral care is an integral part of education in Beaufort. All class groups are assigned a form teacher who meets them for 10 minutes each day to help deal with any issues they may have. The school also provides a school chaplain and a part time guidance counsellor to supplement a department paid guidance counsellor. This means each senior cycle student gets at least, an individual 40 minute session with a guidance counsellor each year with 6th years getting at least 2 sessions.
- Continuity is structured in to the timetable each year in so far as is possible to ensure there is no change of teacher for students moving from 5th in to 6th year and 2nd in to 3rd year. There is also continuity from 1st in to 2nd year for the vast majority of classes although not all.
- In general, students are very motivated and engaged in learning. Teaching approaches in the school vary with staff members employing a wide range of methodologies in their teaching. There has been a marked increase in the use of AFL strategies in the classroom and in the use of ICT in teaching and learning.
Detailed School Improvement Plans for 2014/2015 were drawn up, agreed by the board and distributed to all staff members at the beginning of the year.
Areas for improvement included:
- Increase the use of AFL teaching strategies in the classroom
- Increase the use of different marking strategies such as comment only marking
- Incorporate literacy and numeracy in to the planning and delivery of lessons throughout the school
- Increase the use of ICT both in teaching and learning in the classroom and in communications between staff and students