St. Mary's Boys National School, Booterstown (Irish translation- Scoil Mhuire Baile an Bhothair) is an ever-increasing all-boys mainstream primary school that has 310 pupils currently and will be increased further in the near future with the building of a school extension. Although it is a mainstream school, it prides itself on inclusion and integration where it has a sizable proportion of pupils from overseas, with Learning Support and/or SEN. On this basis there is a high proportion of special needs and EAL(English as an Additional Language)/Learning Support teaching staff. Altogether, there are 13 mainstream teachers, 7 Special Needs/EAL/Learning Support teachers and 10 Special Needs Assistants. With this, we have a number of staff members who have undertaken a postgraduate in SEN/Learning Support on the basis of the profile of a large proportion of pupils with SEN/Learning Support The school is located in a middle-class area but caters for pupils who come from disadvantaged areas as a result of a reputation for excellent practice in differentiation and inclusion. We use a range of diagnostic and standardised assessments across both numeracy and literacy. We have a strong belief in both assessment for learning and assessment of learning which optimises the potential of our pupils through providing a more cohesive learning programme for them in our school. Coupled with that, we use a range of resources equipment to tap into pupils different learning strengths and are very much cognisant of having specific resources in places to cater for the kinesthetic, visual and auditory learner. Such resources include a range of IT programmes, concrete supports and incorporating P.E. movement/actions to reinforce literacy/numeracy. Therefore the cross curricular aspect is imperative to facilitate the progress of pupils in our school and help them reach their potential.
We have a child-centred approach to education and our versatile range of teaching methodologies employed, ensure that the children are motivated to learn and achieve their goals.
In the area of ICT we have class computers, Interactive Whiteboards (one in each classroom), a small selection of Ipads, as well as Fizzbooks (30 mini laptops on an electronic trolley) in which they use these to compile data surveys, projects, creative writing, creating powerpoints, mind maps and other group/individual activities such as playing interactive Maths and literacy games. Using this equipment for inclusion purposes has proven to be a great success also.
As a school, we partake in a range of extra curricular activities such as soccer, hurling, Gaelic Football, Tennis, Golf, chess, speech and drama and art and these act as a great tool for inclusion and social skills development. We have a strong record of pupil self-assessment and also a formal acknowledgement of pupil feedback through useful feedback and questionnaire templates to guide both activities undertaken and assess learning in turn.