Borrisokane Community College has received a “well done” report card following a whole school evaluation by the Department of Education. The school, which is under Tipperary Education and Training Board, has 557 students. It is a stand-alone, co-educational facility serving a large rural catchment.
Among the key findings and recommendations were that parents surveyed felt welcome in the school and were very happy with how the school is run and that the students were proud of their school and get on well with each other.
The evalauation found that the school development was supported by a well-informed, effective board of management and a very active parents’ association. However, the student council was an underdeveloped partner in school life.
It also found that senior and middle management work well together and there was significant capacity and enthusiasm among the staff at all levels to use reflective practices and to engage in continuing professional development (CPD) to achieve ongoing school improvement.
However, while a key strength of the school was its broad curriculum, the distribution across the weekly timetable of class periods to some subjects in certain year groups needed to be reviewed.
Good to very good teaching was observed in all lessons, with very good teaching predominant. In a very small number of lessons, there was scope for improvement in the quality of student learning. Among the inspector’s recommendations were that certain aspects of the school timetabling process and of the school timetable needed to be improved, and that student and teacher feedback should be used in this process.
Topic-specific, digital learning resources should be researched by subject departments and uploaded for student use, to support differentiation for the more able students and revision support for all.
Student learning should be further enhanced by the development of choice, criteria for assessment, and exemplar elements in teachers’ setting of homework assignments.
The evaluation found that the board of management had appropriate communication mechanisms with its trustee, Tipperary ETB and was well-informed by principal reports.
The report stated that the principal was a very successful leader of school improvement, planning, and student support and worked well with the deputy principal.
The board of management of Borrisokane Community College, on behalf of the staff, parents and the entire school community acknowledged receipt of the report, which they described as “positive”.