A subject inspection of Mathematics at St. Joseph's secondary school has found that the quality of teaching and learning in most lessons is 'good to very good'.
The inspection was carried out on St Joseph's CBS, Summerhill, Nenagh, on April 5 this year. The report was published on September 20. All schools across the State are subject to regular such inspections, to ensure adherence to teaching guidelines.
Saint Joseph’s Christian Brothers’ School (CBS) is an all-boys’ voluntary secondary school. The school operates under the trusteeship of the Edmund Rice Schools Trust (ERST) and has a current enrolment of 535 students. As well as the established Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate programmes, the school offers the Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA), the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP) and an optional Transition Year (TY) programme.
The key findings of the report are: “The quality of teaching ranged from good to very good in the majority of lessons; in one lesson the quality of teaching was fair and in two lessons the quality was satisfactory. The overall quality of learning was good, with very good practices noted in some lessons and scope for improvement in others. Assessment strategies are well developed for Mathematics. Subject provision and whole-school support for Mathematics is very good. Management is supportive of teachers’ engagement with continuing professional development (CPD) and support membership of professional networks. Planning and preparation for Mathematics is good with scope to further develop the short-term schemes of work.”
The main recommendations are that “the good practice observed of students working on clear, purposeful tasks with suitably high expectations should be extended to all lessons. It is recommended that the schemes of work be further developed to link methodologies, resources and modes of assessment to specific learning outcomes for all year groups and levels. To extend the range of good quality assessment modes observed, the subject department should agree and implement formative written feedback practices which should be used in all mathematics lessons.”
Under the heading 'Teaching, Learning and Assessment', the Inspector notes that “in the best lessons, expectations for students’ knowledge and ability were suitably high. Students worked collaboratively on tasks which were prepared or sourced in advance.”
Under the heading 'Subject Provision', the report states that “the system which is in place to rotate teachers between levels and year groups is highly commendable as it builds capacity among department members and ensures all teachers remain fully familiar with the entire mathematics course.”
In its response, the Board of Management stated that it “acknowledges both the findings and the recommendations of the inspector.”
Also, “the school management has met with the Maths teachers individually and as a group to discuss both the findings and the recommendations. Subject planning will focus on the recommendations in the coming month.”