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School Improvement Plan for Literacy 2014


School Improvement Plan




Issue Date:    October 2014


Summary of main strengths as identified in Autumn 2014:

  • Callystown National School has a conscientious, dedicated, innovative staff, open to new ideas and initiatives. It is focussed on providing the best possible educational opportunities for its pupils.
  • Attainment levels in Literacy are above the national norms. Overall literacy scores on the Micra T tests are above the national average (average percentile 52.7).
  • 75% of pupils have STen scores of 5 or greater.
  • 9% of pupils have STen scores of 3 or less.
  • Pupils display positive attitudes towards reading and literacy.
  • The teaching staff has been involved in continuous and extensive planning for Literacy since the introduction of the new curriculum of 1999.
  • The school introduced Reading Recovery in 2009.
  • The school has been running Lift Off to Literacy in classes from Senior Infants to Second since 2010.
  • This year the school has extended Lift Off to Literacy in second class so that it will run for two full terms, using two ex-parents as reading helpers.
  • Learning support initiatives (groups are decided at the end of each term, individual literacy programmes eg. Toe by toe are offered to some pupils, programmes in oral language, creative writing and Building Bridges to Comprehension are run in different classes when LS/RT time allows.
  • The school runs an annual Literacy Week and has allocated notice boards throughout the school to promote literacy.
  • The school has a Literacy Link teacher ~ Breda O Connell.
  • There is a strong practice of using supplementary readers in junior classes.
  • The study of novels in senior classes is a very positive experience for pupils.
  • Classroom libraries have been extensively restocked over the last 3 years.
  • Reading Eggs, an on line programme will be introduced in 2014.
  • In a survey, 93% of parents say that their child likes reading
  • In the same survey, 92% say that their child is getting on well at reading.


Summary of main areas requiring improvement as identified in the SSE:

  • In a parental questionnaire, of the five questions asked on Literacy, the lowest scoring statement surveyed was “My child likes to write stories?”.                                              23 % disagreed with this statement.
  • In a pupil questionnaire, pupils from were asked if they liked writing activities,            33% said  a lot, 60% a little and 9% not at all.
  • Teachers in a discussion on Literacy were asked of their concerns, of the many opinions expressed, both positive and negative, the following is a synopsis;                              there is a need for greater parental involvement, pupils’ reading in senior classes does not receive the same organised teacher attention, in order to improve Micra T scores, pupils should be given more practice at cloze procedures, teachers found it difficult to differentiate for the vast range of pupil abilities in literacy.
  • As an observation, much of the focus on literacy was on reading and there seemed to be a need to spend time developing oral language and writing skills.
  • In pupil questionnaires, a substantial number of pupils considered writing to be handwriting and not the written expression of thought.
  • Fewer than 50% of pupils showed a strong understanding of the different formats of writing.


  • The staff has chosen writing and in particular the teaching of the different genres of writing, as its primary focus of improvement.
  • In the teaching of the genre, teachers will teach the writing process to ensure the development of spelling, punctuation and the other norms of writing.
  • 3 genres per year will be taught over the coming three years.

Improvement Targets:

  • To improve pupils’ attitude to liking writing activities “a lot “, from 33% to 50%.
  • To increase the understanding of writing genres among our pupils (2nd -6th class) from      < 50% to > 75%
  • To increase the number of parents who say that their children like writing from 77% to 85%.
  • Recount Writing Targets
    •                   2nd        3rd           4th          5th       6th
    • Knowledge  10% ≥ 50%, 46%≥70%, 59% ≥80% ,73%≥90%, 74%≥90%
    • Structure   44%≥70%,  35% ≥75%,43% ≥80%, 47% ≥85%, 50%≥90%
    • Norms       5% ≥ 25%, 10% ≥30%,24% ≥40%, 35% ≥50%, 30%≥50%

Note: Knowledge = knowledge of the structure of a recount

Structure = the grammatical structure (tense and connectives)

Norms = writing norms of punctuation, spelling and paragraphs.


Required Actions


  • Agreed scaffolds for the different genres will be taught and displayed.

Class teachers from 2nd   – 6th                                     Every 9 weeks


  • The particular grammatical, linguistic or organisational features of the genre are to be taught

Class teachers from 2nd  – 6th                                        Every 9 weeks

Method of Teaching:

  • Teachers will introduce/develop the genre following the 7 stages listed:
    • Familiarisation with the genre.
    • Establishment of framework.
    • Modelled writing by the teacher.
    • Shared writing between the teacher and pupils.
    • Guided writing in pairs/groups.
    • Independent writing.
    • Presentation of writing to an audience

Class teachers from 2nd – 6th                                         Every 9 weeks


  • Each genre will be taught over a nine week timeframe.
  • Teachers will teach between 2 to 3 lessons on the genre each week.

 Class teachers from 2nd – 6th                                        Every 9 week


  • Resources will be put on the server by the principal.
  • Teachers will receive a copy of the First Step chapter on the different genre.
  • Prim-Ed writing boxes and books will be bought for the school.
  • PM Writing series will be used for the teaching of the different steps.
  • Hard back copies will be bought for pupils from 2nd to 6th..

Principal to organise                                           Ongoing


  • Teachers will ask pupils to write a piece in a particular genre before the formal teaching of the format begins. This will be used as a baseline for assessment. Teachers will be asked to score the piece under the criteria of the genre. A copy of the piece and scores will be kept by the teacher.
  • The scores will be sent to the principal who will collate the data and then set targets for the following 9 weeks.
  • A piece of pupil’s writing will be assessed and score at the end of the nine weeks to assess achievement of objectives and targets.
  • A hardback copy will be used to show the process and progress of a pupil’s work. This hardback copy will be kept by the pupil and passed through all the classes.
  • Teachers will keep a copy of the pieces and assessment sheets of the work for all genres.
  • Targets will be assessed at the end of each 9 weeks.

Success Criteria:

Success will be based on the achievement of our targets as set out above and as measured by our teachers at the end of each genre period. A further pupils’ and parents’ questionnaire will be issued to assess attitudinal changes. Teachers will also be asked their opinions on the success of the initiatives.


  • Time will be given at each staff meeting over the next three years to discuss progress in achieving our targets.
  • An in-depth review of scores will take place at the end of each genre period by the principal and teachers. This review will be reported back to all teachers.