Bunscoil McAuley Rice

School Improvement Plan - Literacy


SSE is a collaborative, reflective, inclusive process of internal school review. During SSE, the principal, deputy principal and teachers, under the direction of the board of management and the patron, and in consultation with the parents and pupils, engage in reflective enquiry on the work of the school.

School self-evaluation is primarily about school improvement and development.

School self-evaluation enables schools:

  • To take the initiative in improving the quality of education that they provide for their pupils.
  • To affirm and build on what is working well.
  • To identify areas in need of development and to decide on actions that should be taken to bring about improvements in those areas.
  • To report to the school community about the strengths in the work of the school and its priorities for improvement and development.

Summary of Main Strengths as identified in School Self Evaluation in the area of Literacy, May 2013

  • Early intervention for Learning Support in Literacy.
  • Consistency of planning amongst staff
  • Good Resources available
  • Variety of Assessment tools used
  • Print rich environment – lots of sight vocabulary
  • Excellent Jolly Phonic Programme in use.
  • Good variety of reading texts used
  • 62% of students assessed have a Sten of 6 or greater.
  • Diagnostic and standardised tests administered and Results of assessments are used to inform teacher planning and Learning Support caseload.
  • The process of writing is fostered and children write for real purposes
  • A variety of writing genres are taught and Children are given opportunities to write and display their work.

Summary of main areas requiring further development with regard to Literacy:

  • Oral Language Skills

Improvement in Oral Language confidence and fluency and a development in the expressive capacity of pupils.

  1. Specific Oral Language skills are to be taught and practised.
  2. Offer further opportunities for pupils to develop oral language skills at each class level.
  3. The introduction of a new Oral Language Programme in the school to compliment the work already being done.
  • Reading
  1. Develop the pupils’ reading appreciation, perception of their ability to read,reading fluency and pleasure through the use of a wider diversity of reading material.
    1. Continue and expand shared reading and DEAR
    2. Increased variety and genres of reading materials for  classes
    3. Creation of a ‘Book Club’ for senior classes and develop a new school library.
  2. Develop a range of reading comprehension strategies.
    1. Teachers will explicitly teach and model comprehension strategies as part of Literacy.
    2. The introduction of the ‘Building Bridges’ programme for comprehension.
  • Writing
  1. Review the current writing scheme in the school and the formulation of a more detailed approach to handwriting across all class levels.
  2. Outline clear expectations in terms of presentation and organisation of written work at all class levels.

Examine ways we can support Parents in terms of phonics, handwriting, oral language development, reading and the development of comprehension. Include a list of recommended books for pupils to read.

School Improvement Plan 2013-2016 - Literacy

Click link to View Plan.

Report issue date: 21st March,2013



School Self-Evaluation Report  - Literacy


1. Introduction


1.1 The focus of the evaluation

A school self-evaluation of teaching and learning in Bunscoil McAuley Rice,Callan,Co. Kilkenny was undertaken during the period January,2013 to June,2013. During the evaluation, teaching and learning in the following curriculum area was evaluated:

  • Literacy

This is a report on the findings of the evaluation.


1.2 School context


Bunscoil McAuley Rice is a sixteen-teacher Catholic Primary school, which caters for boys and girls from junior infants to sixth class. The school is an amalgamation of the two original primary schools in Callan. The original boys’ school was called Scoil Iognáid Rís and the original girls’ school was called Scoil Mhuire.These schools amalgamated on 1st June,2007.

Currently, the school operates on split sites situated 1km apart. Junior Infants to Third Class are catered for on the Kikenny Road site and Fourth to Sixth Class are based on the West Street site.

The student population represents a cross section of society. The school is situated in a rural town with a population of 1,300 but also serves a parish population of a further 1,700.

2. The findings-Literacy:


During the School Self Evaluation process, the quality of teaching and learning in the area of Literacy was examined. The school used available assessment data from standardised test scores together with questionnaires from parents, students and teachers to gather relevant information and opinion.

Standardised Test Scores:


The Micra T test scores from May,2012 were analysed and the following information was gathered from the age based Sten scores:


  • 62% of students have a Sten of 6 or more.
  • 5% of students have a Sten of 1-3.
  • 17% of students have a Sten of 8-10.

This information reflected positively on the teaching and learning approaches in the school at present.

Parents’ Questionnaire:


The Parents’ Questionnaire was carried out as an anonymous questionnaire with 10 questions. Parents also had an opportunity to highlight any areas of concern that they might have in the area of Literacy or Homework.

There was a strong response from parents and the following information was gathered:

  • 92% of parents agreed that their children like reading aloud.
  • 93% of parents agreed that their children like learning spellings.
  • 80% of parents agreed that their children like to write stories.
  • 85% of parents agreed that they receive good information from the school in relation to their children’s progress.


Parents made some interesting suggestions in relation to Literacy and Homework in the school. This is a summary of the main comments/suggestions:

  • The school was complimented on the standard of excellence in the area of literacy and early intervention. Particular reference was made to the Jolly Phonics Programme and the annual Jolly Phonics information night.
  • A Book Club for students was suggested as a possible encouragement to students to read outside of school.Parents also suggested compiling a list of suitable books for home reading for each class level.
  • An in school ‘Spelling Bee’ was highlighted as a way of promoting good spelling.
  • Parents recommended the timing of Homework and the signing of Homework Diaries by both teacher and parent.
  • It was also suggested that Homework should be taken down at the end of each subject rather than at the end of the day where possible.

Students’ Questionnaire:


  • 70% of students like reading.
  • 58% of students state that there are good books available in their classroom.
  • 50% of students believe that they are good at reading.
  • 52% of those asked said that they read at home with their parents sometimes.
  • 82% of those asked stated that they find it easy to sound out words.


The  students highlighted areas that they enjoyed:

  • Singing jingles,doing Jolly Phonics,poems , drawing and talking about pictures,reading and listening to stories,D.E.A.R.,free writing,spellings,shared reading,dramatizing stories,word searches,dictionary work,discussions,crosswords and puzzles.

The students also highlighted some areas that they found difficult:


  • Forming letters,writing neatly,answering questions in copies,joined writing,grammar and punctuation.


Teachers’ Questionnaire:


Teachers found that our strengths in the area of Literacy are:

  • good communication, consistency of approach with regard to planning and expectations, continued professional development, the ntroduction of the Jolly Phonics Programme.

Areas of concern were highlighted as follows:

  • Prewriting skills,incorrect formation of letters,gross motor skills,uniformity of presentation of copie

Effectiveness in the teaching of Reading:

Teachers found that we teach reading in a very comprehensive manner. It is well structured and the policy of early intervention from Learning Support and Resource teachers strengthens our reading programme

Suggestions were made in relation to ‘Comprehension Boxes’ for each class level.

Oral Language Skills:

A more structured approach to Oral Language development was suggested by teachers. It was acknowledged that a wide  variety of cross curricular oral language is taking place but there is a need for more formal assessment.

Possible enhancements to literacy programme:

  • Involve parents more.
  • Incorporate a ‘Buddy Reading’ system.
  • Invest in more Shared Readers for every class.
  • Focus on writing skills.
  • Readathon,World  Book Day presentations
  • Reading reports
  • Involve local library.

3. Progress made on previously-identified improvement targets


  • The introduction of the Jolly Phonics Programme to enhance Literacy levels in the school has proven a great success. Feedback from questionnaires and test scores reflect the success of this initiative.



4. Summary of school self-evaluation findings


4.1 Our school has strengths in the following areas:

  • Reading levels
  • Early Intervention for children with learning difficulties.
  • Planning , teaching preparation and methodologies.
  • Assessment

4.2 The following areas are prioritised for improvement:

  • The formulation of a more detailed approach to handwriting across all class levels.
  • Student perception of ability to read and tendency to read at home.Increase parental involvement.Creation of a student ‘Book Club’ and ‘Book Exchange’ model for swapping books from home.
  • Oral Language and Comprehsion will be prioritised.
  • We aim to increase the number of students in the 8-10 Sten bracket by 2%

4.3 The following legislative and regulatory requirements need to be addressed:


  • Distribution of ‘School Assessment Policy’.
  • Distribution of ‘Attendance and Participation Strategy’.