Institutionalising the Quality Assurance System is a priority for the Catholic Education Board of Management (CEBM) in 2018 as it seeks to improve the performance of Catholic primary schools.
Information provided to the Catholic News states vicariate managers continue to support and monitor implementation of the QAS system and their intervention includes school visits, so far to 82 of 116 schools, offsite training and telephone communication.
During school visits discussions on the programme take place with principals, school administrative teams and teachers. Documents are examined and vicariate managers also spent time observing the operations of the school.
QAS training and meetings took place in clusters and vicariates. Follow-up calls were done to check the status of goals set at previous meetings. The CEBM plans to capture information from the visits, training and telephone discussions on a data/information template which was designed.
The support provided by the managers to schools is to be categorised and reported using the Twelve (12) Qualities of an Effective Catholic/Twelve (12) Criteria for Quality Catholic Schools.
A “wide spectrum of implementation” was observed among schools visited. It was noted the ‘Five-Minute Observation Form’ or other appropriate classroom visit instrument was underutilised with only 58 per cent using them; the ‘Self-Assessment Rating Scale’ was completed for only one year instead of each successive year.
A small number of schools conducted analyses of test performance and non-academic performance and provided evidence to support their evaluations. Review of the programme found 82 or 71 per cent of schools are giving priority to their literacy and numeracy programmes and 29 per cent on quality of instruction, spiritual development, parental involvement, team building, physical plant and resource allocation improvement.
Differences were seen in the progress among schools where the QAS was implemented as a result of variations in buy-in and understanding, staff inclusion and level of confidence and commitment. Visits and training sessions to reinforce QAS concepts, process and implementation were used to address the variances. The sessions were facilitated by managers, or principals who demonstrated “excellent understanding of the QAS model” and were successful in implementing and monitoring the QAS in their schools.
Further intervention will include: continuation of support for new and experienced principals in understanding and implementing the QAS, support for principals in shared/distributed leadership, and using data.
Implementation of the QAS began in August 2013. It encourages principals and teachers to develop plans of action to improve student performance and promote a healthy school environment after reviewing data on performance. – LPG