Whole School Evaluation
In 2011 the Department of Education & Skills Science carried out a comprehensive inspection of St. Declan's Special School under the following headings:
- quality of school management
- quality of school planning and school self-evaluation
- quality of teaching, learning and pupil achievement
- quality of supports for pupils
The main strengths and recommendations were:
The following are the main strengths of the work of the school:
- The work and development of the school are supported by a dedicated and very effective board of management.
- The principal and in-school management team lead the school in a highly committed, capable and focussed manner.
- The teachers and special needs assistants (SNAs) demonstrate high levels of skilled collaborative practice in supporting the pupils' engagement across the range of school activities.
- The school provides a welcoming, supportive and structured environment in which the holistic needs of the pupils are addressed.
- The recently implemented individual education planning process contributes beneficially to the learning and support programmes undertaken in the school.
- Regular communication with the parents and guardians of the pupils facilitates their active involvement in the life of the school community.
- A consistent school-wide approach is adopted in meeting the range of learning and care needs of the pupils arising from EBD.
The following main recommendations are made:
- Building on planning undertaken to date, agreed processes, targets and timeframes should be set out for the development and implementation of prioritised areas of the school plan.
- In reviewing the school's assessment policy, a whole-school framework should be developed to further support the monitoring of the pupils' programmes while attending the school.
- In the light of original school policy and taking pupil progress into account, and to support the inclusion of pupils in mainstream settings, school practices on the length of time pupils attend St. Declan's should be reviewed.
In 2014 a Department of Education and Science Follow-Through Inspection Report reviewed progress made on the above recommendations.
It was reported that St. Declan's Special NS had made very good progress in following-up on the recommendations made in the WSE report. Substantial work had been undertaken in the areas of school planning, assessment policy and practice, and in relation to the review of enrolment policy.
The school was commended for the work undertaken and the progress made to date in the implementation of the WSE recommendations.