School Evaluation

'High levels of satisfaction' with St. Joseph's

'High levels of satisfaction' with St. Joseph's

Parents have expressed high levels of satisfaction with one of North Tipperary's most prestigious schools, according to a new report.

An Inspector carried out a Whole School Evaluation (WSE) of St. Joseph's Borrisoleigh, on May 10th this year. The results were published on Tuesday (October 11th).

Saint Joseph’s College Borrisoleigh is a privately-owned, co-educational, Catholic voluntary secondary school, founded by the current owner in 1978 following the closure of the Convent of Mercy secondary school in the town.

The Inspector noted that the the school has been through a “difficult period, characterised by a number of changes in principalship since 2009, declining enrolment since 1999, and the related redeployment of staff in 2011. Enrolment at the time of the evaluation stood at 210 students. The current management structures are achieving positive outcomes by way of very supportive student, parental, and community involvement in the school and strategic planning to secure the future development of the school.”

The main findings of the report are: “Over the past year, significant improvements have taken place in promoting a positive profile of school strengths, in harnessing communication channels with stakeholders to develop shared priorities for school improvement, and in the development of school facilities. The board of management functions effectively, is strategically focused on putting governance requirements in place, and is committed to working with parents and students in genuine partnership.

“Through survey returns completed as part of this evaluation, parents expressed overwhelmingly high levels of satisfaction with how the school is run and with how their children are progressing. A key strength of the school is its committed and hardworking staff, including the acting principal and deputy principal. The holistic development of students is supported by a very broad curriculum, very good informal and some formal student care structures and by co-curricular and extra-curricular activities voluntarily provided by teachers. There is scope to improve some of the school’s formal student supports and to utilise the resources provided for students with special educational needs (SENs) more effectively.The quality of teaching and learning in the lessons observed ranged from good to very good. Almost all management-related recommendations from previous inspection reports have been implemented. Partial progress has been made in relation to the subject planning, teaching and learning recommendations made in previous reports.”

The main recommendations are: “The school should examine, in light of the resources available to it, the sustainability of the range of curricular options it is offering to students and makeadjustments accordingly.

“The school should develop a formal care team and it should revise its whole-school guidance plan to ensure that the resources available to the school are used in the best possible way to provide appropriate guidance for students. Improvements are needed in the planning and organisation of allocated supports for students with special educational needs. Strategies for differentiation and assessment for learning need to be more widely and more consistently implemented to support learning across the range of abilities. Priority needs to be assigned to the ongoing, systematic review of school policies and to the development of a broader scheme of work model by subject departments.” Full report at