Publication seeks to spread best practice among Northern Irish schools


The success of a select group of Northern Ireland secondary schools in raising standards is to be shared among leaders seeking continuous improvement.

Tackling Underachievement through Effective Leadership is a new document designed to help headteachers.

Published by the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS), it highlights the good work going on in some of its post-primary settings. The plan is to share this good practice with schools in other sectors.

The document contains various case studies from schools that have enjoyed success in recent years.

St Joseph’s Boys’ High School in Newry now offers a range of strategies to support pupils, including one to improve boys’ confidence with maths, starting with the basics. In addition, its pastoral system develops positive rewards and encourages improvement.

At Immaculate Conception College in Derry, pupils are split into different academic pathways, which resulted in the proportion of pupils achieving five “good” GCSEs increasing from 12 to 79 per cent.

This improvement is aided by a revision school, mentoring and results analysis involving all staff.

Elsewhere, teachers at St Mary’s High School in Downpatrick are supported in the use of benchmarking data to more effectively set pupil targets. A new pupil planner is designed to improve communication between home and school. Many pupils now note improvements in their ability to cope with academic and personal challenges. For staff, it is hoped skills developed will help teachers engage more fully with pupils and parents in future while supporting pupils to be independent learners “capable of a can-do attitude in all areas of their lives”.

CCMS chief executive Jim Clark said: “The principal purpose of CCMS is to assist the teachers, school leaders, governors and trustees of Catholic maintained schools to continually and purposefully raise standards in every aspect of their service provision in the interests of every young person in its schools.”



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