The College welcomes the strongly-positive nature of this report, which is a tribute to the quality of education available at St Columba's, and to all who work here, both pupils and staff.
Among the findings are (quotations in bold type):
·The quality of teaching ranged from good to very good with some examples of excellent practice.
·The level of planning and preparation for the lessons observed was of a consistently high standard.
·Staff, many of whom live on campus, give their time and expertise to support the school and to foster student academic and sporting attainment and personal development.
·There is a carefully organised programme of support for academic attainment. ·Academic results in state examinations in the vast majority of subjects are consistently high.
·Students with special education needs are well supported through individual and group withdrawal and by significant individual support from subject teachers. ·In class, the quality of questioning was consistently high.
·There are excellent levels of formative written assessment and also high levels of oral feedback.
·Students and parents were particularly complimentary about the Transition Year Programme in the school.
PUPILS & LEARNING
·In class, student engagement was very good, showing students’ willingness to contribute to discussions and their participation in planned activities. ·A positive rapport was evident between students and teachers.
·Student behaviour was very good and was underpinned by effective classroom management and positive interactions between students and teachers.
·There is continual tracking of student academic progress, and rigorous analysis of state examinations annually.
·There is comprehensive guidance and counselling support available to students underpinned by the boarding school staff most of whom teach in the school.
·The school is pro-active in highlighting and pre-empting issues around bullying. ·Social, sporting and personal development are effectively catered for.
·There is a very comprehensive sporting programme.
·There is an effective students’ council.
·Pupils have a range of opportunities ... to get involved in leadership roles.
·Pupils show significant levels of satisfaction with life in school.
·The school is very well managed by senior management comprising the principal and deputy principal who have a clear and shared vision and work together as a committed and highly effective team.
·There is a strong culture of delegated leadership and devolved responsibility. ·St Columba’s is a very reflective school and is excellently placed to engage in the school self evaluation process.
·The Board of Management members bring a wealth of educational knowledge, expertise in various fields and experience to their work and show a deep commitment to the school.
·Parents are very happy with the quality of education, care and range of supports being provided for their children.
·There is a vibrant parents’ association which has a significant social purpose which is to include and to invite parental involvement in the school in every way possible.
·The parent body is both valued and listened to by management.
·This is a unique educational environment with a vast range of educational and recreational facilities.
·The campus and buildings are very well maintained.
·Partly because of this, there is an atmosphere of well-being in the school.