Thumbs up for Newport College

Praise for appliance of science

Newport College has been given the thumbs up by the Department of Education for its science teaching.

The Department carried out a subject review on the school in November 2015.

Newport College is a co-educational school, operating under the auspices of the Tipperary Education and Training Board (ETB).

Science is a core subject at junior cycle and classes are of mixed ability. Students can choose Agricultural Science, Biology, and Chemistry from an open choice of science subjects at senior cycle. LCA students also study modules of Science in their programme.

However, Physics is not offered to students due to available teaching resources, and the report urged that management should endeavour to rectify this situation, should the opportunity arise.

Newport College has one well-resourced science laboratory and the science teachers and management have worked collaboratively to ensure that all science lessons take place there.

The review, which has been published by the Department, found that the quality of learning and teaching ranged from good to very good during the evaluation. Teachers had prepared very well for their lessons.

A good range of learning and teaching methodologies was employed during the observed lessons and a good balance between teacher input and student activity was provided.

Classroom management was good overall. Students were affirmed for their contributions and a good student-teacher rapport was evident.

The laboratory was print-rich; charts and

posters were conducive to learning. Students followed good health and safety procedures.

Good differentiation strategies were used in lessons in order to ensure students of varying abilities were suitably challenged.

Questioning was the main form of assessment observed; the standard of questioning was good overall.

Homework is assigned, monitored and corrected regularly.

The review found that whole school support for the sciences was good and students were encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities such as Science Week and the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.

However, the third-year students have five single periods per week currently and the review recommends that management should ensure that all year groups have a double period for practical work

While the department’s planning is good overall, the science teachers should consider appointing a subject co-coordinator with assigned duties to further streamline planning.

The review also recommends that a better balance of the three sciences be taught in first year than is currently the case.