Saturday 23 September 2017

Inspectors reveal poor level of Irish at Gaelscoil

John Walshe Education Editor

AN all-Irish primary school named after Peig Sayers has been criticised for the poor standard of Irish among its pupils.

Gaelscoil Pheig Sayers, on the Mallow Road in Cork, underwent an evaluation by inspectors from the Department of Education and Skills.

The inspectors found that pupils had "little understanding of basic writing skills, spelling patterns or punctuation rules.

"Presentation of written work in copybooks is poor," the report on the 98-pupil school said.

The inspectors said it was necessary to develop basic writing skills, to expose pupils to a wider range of genres and to engage in the ongoing monitoring of children's work.

But it wasn't just in Irish that pupils were having problems. The inspectors also found significant difficulties in spelling and grammar in English in the senior classes.

The report called for a whole-school programme of grammar, spelling and punctuation, as well as greater emphasis on handwriting.

Nor did the pupils have an acceptable level of achievement in mathematical skills. Many experienced difficulty in understanding basic concepts and solving fundamental problems.

Leadership

The report also found that there was no school plan, as required by the department.

"The various curriculum documents on file have not been discussed on a whole-school basis and the teaching programme has not been agreed by staff," it said.

"The planning process has not been developed appropriately. This weakness impacts significantly on curriculum implementation and on the standards of education."

The report also found that the school "lacks leadership" and it noted that the current staff had all been appointed in the past three years.

It said the school had had to appoint substitute teachers for considerable periods of time.

The report said the acting principal had succeeded in creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere and that she worked conscientiously to fulfil her duties.

However, it also urged that an in-school management structure should be established.

It said poor organisational structures had prevented teachers from optimising resources, such as computers and library books, that had been provided recently.

Written progress reports were not provided to parents and no child-protection policy was available at the time of the inspection. School records were not being maintained as required by the department.

Although some teachers were conscientious in preparing their work, inspectors found that there were significant weaknesses in the planning for many other classes. Plans did not always specify appropriate learning targets for lessons.

The report also noted that the school is located in a business park, where there are considerable difficulties in ensuring the safety of pupils because of traffic.

Irish Independent

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