School inspectors praise Irish language primary

School inspectors praise Irish language primary

29 November 2017

PARENTS provided a valuable insight into the success of a Castlewellan primary school following an inspection thwarted by industrial action.

Parents indicated a high level of satisfaction with the school through questionnaires distributed as part of the inspection of Bunscoil Bheanna Boirche, particularly expressing support for the recently appointed principal, Aingeal Nic An tSábhaisigh.

The responses of staff to the questionnaire were also found to be mostly positive and endorsed the range of opportunity for staff development.

The findings of the questionnaires were included in a limited report of an inspection carried out in October, which coincided with the industrial action.

As a result of the industrial action which is in relation to a pay dispute, inspectors said they were unable to fully assure parents and the community of the quality of education being provided to the children and would reflect this in future inspections.

Despite their inability to fully evaluate the school due to a lack of co-operation by staff, inspectors noted several strengths of the Irish language primary, which has enjoyed a steady growth in enrolment over the past four years and now has a register of 105 pupils.

They said they had listened to children from year seven read fluently and expressively in English and Irish and talk confidently about their enjoyment of reading and their favourite authors.

They also noted how well informed governors were about the work and life of the school and their proactive role in the school improvement process.

“They exercise their challenge function as necessary and are developing appropriate processes to ensure that improvement work is monitored systematically,” the report states.

“They have established and continue to encourage effective links within the local community.

“In discussions with inspectors, the children in year six and seven spoke positively about the caring and friendly relationships they have with one another, their enjoyment of learning and the pride they have in their school.

“They reported that they feel safe and are aware of what to do if they have concerns about their safety or welfare.”

School principal, Ms Nic An tSábhaisigh, said she was happy with the outcome of the report and found the experience beneficial despite restrictions posed by industrial action.

“Our teachers do support the industrial action so that limited what the inspectors could say, however we found inspectors respectful and helpful and the experience was beneficial,” she said.

“I do believe they got a good feel for the school and enjoyed meeting pupils and governors and the feedback from parents.

“I think they had a good all round flavour of what school life is like here and they were very positive in their oral feedback. It was a good report given the fact they could not fully inspect us at the time.”