Arklow CBS

School Self Evaluation

School Self Evaluation


Task Groups Review


What did your group focus on this year?

  • This year the ‘Wellbeing’ task group completed a survey on wellbeing attitudes within the school community. All staff, students and parents completed the wellbeing survey. The survey was successful in helping the wellbeing group identify areas of concern and areas that are working well. One thing that was identified from the student survey was students want comment only feedback from teachers on a more regular basis.
  • Booklet for incoming staff and students – The wellbeing group is working on two booklets one for staff and one for students (who come into the school mid-year or into a year group that is not first year).
  • Celebrated neurodiversity day – for the first time the school celebrated neurodiversity day this year to promote awareness of different educational needs and breaking barriers and stereotypes. The school received positive feedback about the day through social media sites.

What will this group focus on next year?

  • Next year the wellbeing group will focus on ‘Mental Health/Positivity Week’. The school community will take part in various events throughout the week to promote positive mental health. All events will be finalised in September.
  • Work towards the ‘Amber Flag’. We will follow all guidelines to work towards the ‘Amber flag’ with input from the student council and a whole school fundraiser will be organised. Details will be finalised in September.
  • Develop and implement a healthy eating pledge and promote it through SPHE class. A guest speaker will speak to each year group on the importance of healthy eating. We will speak to the canteen staff about having more healthy eating choices available in the school canteen.
  • Two stars and a wish – teachers give feedback in the form of two stars and a wish at least once each term to all students. There will be a template given to all staff about the initiative and why it is important for students to receive feedback in this format. The wellbeing group will develop a template and one member of the wellbeing group will present the initiative to all staff at the beginning of the academic year.

Assessment for Learning

What did your group focus on this year? How do you know it worked well?

  • Self-directed learning for fifth year students.
  • Study skills workshop.
  • Awareness of learning styles.
  • End of year presentation to all fifth-year students.
  • Progress Review letters for 5th, 2nd and 1st years.
  • We hope to see an improvement in grades and more ownership from students in self-directed learning.

What will this group focus on next year?

  • Exam results will be monitored.
  • State exams will now be in place for fifth year so this will be incorporated into this.
  • The review process is open to all staff members who were part of this task group and the initiatives rolled out will benefit all future senior cycle students.

Digital Learning Group

What did your group focus on this year?

  • Team members provided one to one support on a wide variety of issues. Staff Members’ questions and needs met.
  • Bluetooth Speakers were suggested, purchased, and provided to all language teachers. Staff Members’ questions and needs met.
  • 2 shared Bluetooth Speakers were suggested, purchased, and provided to all other teachers. Kept on charge at the IT Help Desk. Staff Members’ questions and needs met.
  • All unnecessary desktops and speakers removed from all classrooms. Staff Members’ questions and needs met.
  • Shared external DVD drive now available at IT Help Desk. Staff Members’ questions and needs met.
  • A second Laptop trolley was purchased and stocked with 26 new laptops.

How do you know it worked well?

Booking of Laptop trolleys is not working well, as booking procedures not followed:

    • Trolleys not being booked on Vsware
    • Removal & replacement of laptops in trolley not being supervised
    • If procedures followed correctly then no need to lock trolleys
    • Trolleys regularly taken when booked by someone else
    • Laptops not replaced correctly, hence not being charged & chargers being damaged
    • If procedures followed correctly then no need to lock trolleys


Team agreed that at this stage there is no need for the Team to continue as the skill level of the staff is at a level that does not require a dedicated support team, but we are available to reform as necessary for dedicated tasks

School Self Evaluation 2019-21

Over the past two academic years at Arklow CBS we have continued to implement national initiatives and to identify and work on aspects or our teaching and learning practices that required development and improvement. The four areas of focus in our self-evaluation have been: Wellbeing, assessment for learning, policy review and digital learning.


Wellbeing Assessment for Learning

As a result of self-evaluation of teaching and learning during the period September 2019-May 2021 we introduced some strategies that have been extremely effective. Daily tutor time was introduced each morning for eight minutes. Where possible the teacher assigned as class tutor would move with the class group through the school years. According to our review with staff, students and parents this has improved attitudes towards learning, encouraged good study habits and general well-being of students. Furthermore, we have increased school wide involvement in positivity week. Each year group now takes part in several activities during the week to promote positive mental health, hence creating a powerful and positive atmosphere in the school. Unfortunately, our plans were curtailed a little last year because of Covid-19 but next year positivity week will be back better than before! Everything that we have done and continue do for wellbeing is to benefit all members of our school community and in doing so maintaining our Health Promotion School Flag.


Assessment is vital to the education process and is a bridge between teaching and learning that should motivate pupils, enabling and encouraging them to achieve their best. The aim of the past two years was to promote formative assessment to meet the lifelong learning goals of all students here in Arklow CBS. We have done that by distributing both traffic lights and show me boards to each teacher in the school. The traffic-light system has been used to revise topics and to illustrate to students’ what topics need more attention. This student-centred approach allows the student to reflect on their learning in an enjoyable way. Similarly, show me boards have also been introduced to our classrooms. They have been effective in helping students to learn collaboratively and to illustrate to the teacher what areas students are finding challenging in an active manner. These fun assessment tools allow for more engaged students.

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Digital Learning

Policy Review

The learning experience of students in Arklow CBS has been transformed as a result of our progress with digital learning in recent years. Although, school closures catapulted us into online learning, thankfully we already had many resources in place. Firstly, thirty-two new laptops and a charging/transport trolly were purchased which greatly improved the availability of computer facilities to all. In parallel to this, all existing laptops were checked, repaired and upgraded. Moreover, our transition year group of 2019/2020 became the first year group to be equipped with their own laptop and this in an initiative that has continued since. For the rest of the student population a second computer room was created. With regards to training and upskilling, staff have received training in office 365, Share Point, Outlook and One Drive. Weekly workshops have been organised to help with specific topics or problems as they arise. All this with additional training for students has been and will continue to be vital for students’ learning, in particular Junior Cycle students completing their CBAs.

Policies are entwined throughout school life to establish rules and procedures and to create standards of quality and safety in the school environment. They are essential to meet the educational needs of our students. The aim of the Policy Review task group was to review the code of behaviour and our mission statement. As well as these we managed to update our admissions policy, child safe-guarding statement, acceptable user policy, Guidance policy, School Tour policy and Administration of Medication Policy. All policies can be viewed on our website

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School Self-Evaluation Report 2017-18

School Self-Evaluation is a key tool in effective school improvement. It empowers a school community to identify and affirm good practice, and to identify and take action on areas that merit improvement. School self-evaluation is primarily about schools taking ownership of their own development and improvement.

During the course of our work we have used the framework set out by the post primary school self-evaluation document. By gathering evidence our school has identified strengths and areas for development. The evidence gathered also allowed us to identify meaningful and specific targets and actions for improvement that focus on teaching and learning practices.


School Improvement Plan for Literacy

Literacy is an essential element in adolescent learning. Literacy is the business of all teachers at Arklow CBS because it pertains to all students. A school Improvement plan for Literacy was undertaken throughout the 2017-18 in Arklow C.B.S.

  1. Literacy Outcomes:

Summary of finding:

  • 90% do think reading is important outside school which is an increase of 6% on the previous survey
  • 69% are reading for pleasure at home which is an increase of 19% on last year
  • 90% enjoyed reading during Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) which is a slight increase on last year.
  • 86% of students claimed to proof read their work before handing it up to the teacher which is a huge increase on last year (3.5%)

The following areas were prioritised for improvement; teachers were to focus on the development of Literacy with a particular emphasis on encouraging the love of reading and to get students to proof read their work before handing it up.

We will not be continuing with a specific action plan for Literacy in the 2018/19 school year but it was agreed that the following initiatives would be continued for the foreseeable future;

  1. Drop everything and read: This will be continued on throughout the 2018/19 school year. All students will be required to have a book in their bag for DEAR or a deputy class in which no work has been assigned for the students.
  2. Visits to the library: All first year students will be brought to the library and signed as up as members.
  3. A reading list will be emailed to all parents of First Years with a recommendation that each student read 20 books in the school year.
  4. Proof reading: We will encourage all students to proof read their work going forward.
  5. Literacy notice board: A literacy notice board was put up on the main concourse.
  6. World book day: To celebrate world book day on the 7th March each year we will distribute book vouchers for to all junior years. Other activities based on the resource pack distributed by will also take place on this date to celebrate world book day.

English outcomes:

All our English classes are setup using a mixed ability setup whereby all classes are taught at the higher level. This was introduced over a phased basis and is now operating in all years throughout the school. This setup has increased the percentage of our students taking Higher English in both the Junior and Leaving Certificate examinations.

School Improvement Plan for Numeracy

A Self Improvement Numeracy Plan was put in place after a school self evaluation of teaching and learning in Arklow CBS in the school years 2012/2013.

A core Numeracy Group was established to promote numeracy throughout the school.

Summary of finding:

  • 86% believe that they will need Maths after they leave school.
  • There is awareness of numeracy amongst staff and they see themselves as having a role to play in developing numeracy skills.
  • Teachers are aware that problem solving is part of their subject and use a problem solving strategy.

The following areas were prioritised by the numeracy core team;

  • Two reference tests were put in place – An Attitude Test and a Maths Criterion Reference Test (to identify areas of weakness). These were administered to each first year group over a three year period and were undertaken in the first term and again in the last term of each year. The CAT entrance test was also used.
  • Analysis of both Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate Maths results was undertaken each year and compared with the National Average
  • Gifted children were identified yearly and offered an opportunity to enter competitions to challenge their numeracy ability. These include IMTA Junior Maths, Maths Olympiad etc. Dublin City University ‘Talented Youths’ program was offered to gifted students.
  • Differential learning was utilised in the classroom. Many models and practical tools were purchased and are used by the teaching staff.
  • Trips out were organised to promote numeracy within the CBS school environment.
  • Numeracy was made more visible within the school with the aid of a new noticeboard, quizzes and mazes. A Maths Club was started at lunchtimes and a numeracy section now exists in the library
  • A co-ordinated teaching approach was promoted among the staff to include percentages, fractions, measurement etc. Keywords were also identified and defined precisely which are in classrooms and included in the school journal..


  • The DCU gifted child programme and the other competitions offered are not only of great benefit to the children who take part, but, also, the overall scheme has helped to enhance the attitude to Maths within the school environment.
  • Differential learning and a ‘touch and feel’ approach has helped many students gain a better understanding of certain Maths themes.
  • Trips out are now an integral part of the school calendar and include a trip during Maths week in October, Science Week in November and Engineering week in February.
  • The visibility of numeracy within the school has clearly helped to promote the importance and value of numeracy within our lives.


The staff of Arklow CBS do their upmost to provide a safe and supportive environment for building life skills and resilience and a strong sense of connectedness to our school. Listening to the voice of the child and fostering healthy relationships with peers, teachers and school staff are essential to children’s positive experience of school and their cognitive and emotional development

With this in mind a collaborative wellbeing team was formed in October 2016 to develop a plan for a Wellbeing programme for Arklow CBS. The core team have chosen to strongly prioritise and highlight wellbeing within our school community. This is reflected strongly in some of the initiatives below.

  1. Life skills class – Module basis, Drama, public speaking, handling conflict, responsibility.
  2. Making wellbeing part of all subject plans.
  3. Arklow CBS Received Health Promoting Schools Flag. Focus over the three-year period was promoting positive mental health, encouraging students to speak about their feelings ‘It’s ok, not to feel ok’.
  4. Student wellbeing – Arklow Mental Health Week / improved induction for first years (over 2-3 days)
  5. What we are already doing: life skills (refer to plan), Glendalough walk, PE/SPHE/CSPE plans, healthy schools’ flag, sports, lunch time activities (e.g. Irish club), RE (ERST project/ethos)
  6. Lunch time games room for 1st year students, computer room at lunch time for 1st year students, homework club available for all students at lunch time.
  7. Promoting healthy eating options in school canteen.
  8. Room 11 – SNA complete a number of lunch time activities for students with SEN. Example: Christmas part, Easter treats.

Engagement in Learning/Assessment for Learning

Research has demonstrated that engaging students in the learning process increases their attention and focus, motivates them to practice higher-level critical thinking skills and promotes meaningful learning experiences.

At the start of the school year 2018/19 the engagement in Learning and Assessment for Learning task groups were merged. The Engagement in Learning team analysed the feedback students receive from class tests/assessments and decided to also include a target score, which the teacher thinks they should be able to achieve in their next test/assessment. It is hoped that by the student achieving these targets that they will gain confidence in their own abilities and will have the knock-on effect of improving their engagement and learning. It is important to note that the IAP initiative will be based on positivity and encouragement and that the individual abilities and capabilities of each individual child will be central to any of their targets set.

School Year 17-18

Remit of the group:

* Try to get students to engage in their learning.

* To encourage students to take responsibility for their learning.

* To try to stimulate self-awareness of their learning and ability to learn.

* To try to encourage students to learn to manage themselves and be ready to learn.

Action 1 - Start of school year: Each student’s timetable was taped inside their locker door.

Rationale: This might aid with the organisation of the student bag in terms of having correct books/gear (readiness to learn).

Action 2 - The Individual Achievement Programme.

Teachers participating gave their regular class tests and each student had a little chat with their teacher regarding their performance and what the teacher felt the student could achieve in a subsequent test. It is important to note that tests were not repeated and the content of each test was different. So allowances were made for the fact that some students could be stronger on one topic than on another.

150 students participated.

95% enjoyed participating in IAP.

93% felt there was more purpose in class tests now.

89% felt encouraged & motivated to try do better in subsequent tests.

Of the five teachers in the group who participated all five were of the agreement that the personalised approach appeared to add to the motivation of the students and that students actually enjoyed the chats with their teacher.

Approach 3 - Assessment for Learning Approach: Another initiative undertaken by the group was to use only assessment for learning techniques for the first section of the school year with certain class groups. These groups would not have been part of the IAP group detailed above.

How the process worked: All student tests were marked and suggestions for improvement made where necessary. No percentages or grades were put on the tests. Teachers commented on the tests by means of encouraging statements, even when the student had not performed well. Additionally, each test contained a personal evaluation page. This had to be completed by each student immediately on completing the test. A comment box was also included where students could make suggestions to the teacher regarding the test itself, the teaching of the topic or anything else relevant. A separate comment box was provided should the parent/guardian wish to make an observation.

Students remarked that they found teacher comments to be helpful in guiding them, this was not the case if a percentage was written only.

Approach 4 - Progress in Learning Charts

Approach: Progress in learning charts are charts, whereby students can monitor their own learning.

Result: Students have engaged positively with the progress charts and are getting used to self-assessment and peer assessment.

Arklow CBS,
Coolgreaney Rd,
Co. Wicklow,
Y14 RV04

0402 32 564

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