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Start date: Jun 27, 2016, End date: Jun 26, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Holy Spirit BNS (HSBNS) is a boys primary school in Ballymun, Dublin. Ballymun is one of the most disadvantaged areas in IRELAND and HSBNS has been designated as a DEIS Band 1 school by the Department of Education. We have over 340 boys, 25 teachers and are the largest primary school in the area.Educational research shows working class boys are the category of children with the lowest levels of literacy and numeracy attainment and are more likely not to complete the education cycle. It is apparent that HSBNS faces many challenges in attempting to meet the needs of our children. HSBNS has made significant progress in improving the levels of literacy and numeracy of our students. However, we feel that our development of a European plan can help us make further improvements in the educational outcomes of our severely socially disadvantaged children.Our European Plan can be broken down into 4 areas1. LITERACYBACKGROUND - A key element of our improved literacy levels has been our teaching of Jolly Phonics in the Junior/Senior Infant classes.Our Learning Support Team has examined the latest research concerning the teaching of phonics and believes that further improvements can be obtained, if we implement a Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) programme. In researching SSP, our Principal visited a primary school in England and witnessed the impact on literacy that an SSP programme has.OBJECTIVES/METHODOLGY- As SSP training is not available in Ireland 5 members of staff will be sent to the UK. We have identified training opportunities provided by certified training organisationsWe will then place specific emphasis on our 1st to 3rd classes. Through this process, we will not simply be replacing our existing Jolly Phonics programme, but building on it.OUTCOMESa) Significantly improve the professional skills of staffb) Provide high quality phonics teachingc) Extend our teaching of phonics to our 1st - 3rd classesd) Act as a school which others may visit to observe good practiceOur long term goal is that the literacy skills of those leaving our school will, as a minimum, meet average national standards.2. NUMERACY-HSBNS has made significant improvements in numeracy. A key element of this has been the processes whereby trained maths support teachers teach alongside class teachers, thereby modeling good practice and ensuring consistency of approach.Upon examining research we believe that improvements can be made if we implement Maths Mastery (MM) approach.OBJECTIVES/METHODOLGY - As MM training is not available in Ireland we will send 2 members of staff to the UK. Certified training opportunities have been identified.Following the course, the Maths support team will co-teach using MM. Through this process, we will demonstrate good practice to classroom teachers.OUTCOMESa) Significantly improve the professional skills of staffb) Provide high quality MM teaching to pupilsc) Act as a school which others may visit to observe good practiceOur long term goal is that the numeracy skills of those leaving our school will, as a minimum, meeting average national standards.3. LOOKING AT EDUCATION OUTSIDE OF IRELANDThe three main challenges facing HSBNS are LITERACY, NUMERACY and EDUCATION PROVISION FOR IMMIGRANTS (REFUGEES). Given that English and German are the most widely spoken languages within the EU, we have identified the UK and German speaking EU countries as the focus for our European Plan. In order to access the good practice of education professionals in the German speaking EU countries, we need to improve our German speaking abilities. We have identified members of staff with German language skills and this summer we will send one person to do a one month German language course in Berlin. OUTCOMESa) To identify key issues within German Language education b) Build links with those involved in the integration of refugees into the German education system c) Examine the role of phonics in the teaching of Germand) Increase staff awareness of educational ideas/debates in Europe4. EDUCATION PROVISION FOR IMMIGRANTS/REFUGEESBACKGROUND-The migration crisis has massive potential to impact on Irish education.OBJECTIVES/METHODOLGY- We feel HSBNS needs to be prepared to meet the needs of migrant children. Germany is at the forefront of refugee integration and we have a great deal to learn from their experiences.Whilst undergoing language training in Germany, the chosen person will explore the provision of education for refugees in German schools and identify opportunities for staff to visit projects demonstrating good practice. Two members of staff would then be sent to Germany to shadow those working in refugee integration.OUTCOMEa) Increased awareness of the needs of migrant childrenb) To put in place a school action plan for refugee integrationc) To be aware of the lessons to be learned from our European colleaguesd) Act as a school which others may visit to see good practice

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