Teaching & Learning

Teaching & Learning

At Stratford College students’ avail of a broad based academic curriculum, a progressive approach to the use of new technology in education and a highly engaged teaching and parental community.

The highest academic standards are promoted in Stratford with the majority of our students going on to 3rd Level education. Our classes are mixed ability and the majority of our students take higher level at both junior and senior cycle.

Participation, teamwork, self and peer assessment and the ability to undertake independent research and learning are all core elements of our lesson planning and delivery.

We take advantage of modern technology to help students become digitally literate and adept, ensuring they actively apply the concepts they have learnt using stimulating and creative means.

Click on topic to view more details….

1. How do our students experience teaching and learning in Stratford?

Teaching Staff 

Our teachers are highly motivated and we pride ourselves on a very high level of teacher and student engagement. Subject departments and subject planning are important parts of school planning. The staff is working on new DES initiatives such as School Self Evaluation (SSE) and School Improvement Plans (SIP), Literacy and Numeracy and Junior Cycle Reform (JC2). You can see evidence of this in our subject blogs and DES subject inspections on our website as well as in regular reports that are made in newsletters, reports and letters from the Principal as well as at our regular information meetings with parents. 

The highest academic standards are promoted in Stratford with the majority of our students going on to 3rd Level education. An analysis of our student placement and results is presented annually to the Board of Management and to the Parents Association which show our results being consistently above the national average. We attribute this to the benefits of small class sizes in a range of subject options. Indeed, Stratford College is regularly in the top 25 schools in the country. Our classes are mixed ability and the majority of our students take higher level at both junior and senior cycle.

Department of Education and Skills Subject Inspections are published on our website and endorse the high standard of teaching offered to students.

DES Maths Inspection 2012: ‘All lessons were conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Students were very positive about their learning and made good progress with assigned tasks.’

DES English Inspection 2010: English teachers are highly commended for the range of texts they teach from first to sixth year and for promoting the reading habit’.

DES Science and Physics 2010: The positive classroom rapport supported student learning and led to very successful learning outcomes. Affirmation of students was evident in all lessons and this consolidated the positive atmosphere.

Student Centred Learning

Our teaching practices include profiling of students, individualised student reports, the most effective teaching and learning methodolgies

See here for school policies on Teaching and Learning.

 

2. Key Skills for a 21st Century Learning Agenda

In a changing world, as well as learning knowledge, learners need to develop skills to create new knowledge and to deal with and navigate their way through this new world. There are five skills identified as central to teaching and learning across the curriculum at senior cycle.These skills are important for all learners to achieve their full potential, both during their time in school and into the future.

As learners develop competence in each of the five skills in an integrated way they also develop competence in learning how to learn. In order that learners benefit from their interaction with the key skills, it is important that they would encounter them frequently and in an integrated way right across the curriculum. Click here for more information nationally and here for Key Skills in Stratford.

3. Junior Cycle Reform: Junior Cycle Student Award (JCSA)

The Junior Cycle of Post-Primary education in Ireland is changing. Since 2014, the new Junior Cycle, better known as the Junior Cycle Student Award (JCSA) has featured newly developed subjects and short courses, a focus on literacy, numeracy and key skills, and new approaches of assessment and reporting. Schools now have more freedom to design programmes that meet the learning needs of all students. 

There is lots of information on the new JCSA for parents. Please click on the links below for details on the new specifications and methods of assessment  in general followed by details of Stratford JCSA's Programme.

Information for Parents
Wellbeing
Stratford's Junior Cycle Programme

 

 

4. Literacy and Numeracy

Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life, the National Strategy to improve literacy and numeracy among children and young people.

See Literacy in Stratford and DES Literacy and Numeracy.

5. Junior Cycle Curriculum

1st YEAR

Irish, English, Maths, French, Science, Business, Art, Classical Studies/*Jewish Studies


Each of the following subjects has 3 periods a week:

History, Geography

* Jewish Studies is compulsory for Jewish Students.


These subjects have 1-2 periods a week:

Physical Education (PE; 2)), Social, Personal, Health Education (SPHE), Civics Social Personal Education (CSPE), Information & Communications Technology (ICT)

 

2nd YEAR

Each of the following subjects has 4 periods a week:

Irish, English, Maths, French, Science, Business, Art, Classical Studies//*Jewish Studies

* Jewish Studies is compulsory for Jewish Students.


Each of the following subjects has 3 periods a week:

History, Geography


These subjects have 1-2 periods a week:

Physical Education (PE; 2), Social, Personal, Health Education (SPHE), Civics Social Personal Education (CSPE), Information & Communications Technology (ICT)

 

3rd YEAR

Each of the following subjects has 4 periods a week:

Irish, English, Maths (5), French,  Science, Business, Art, Classical Studies/*Jewish Studies

* Jewish Studies is compulsory for Jewish Students


Each of the following subjects has 3 periods a week:

History, Geography


These subjects have 1 a week:

Physical Education (PE;) Social, Personal, Health Education (SPHE), Civics Social Personal Education (CSPE), Information & Communications Technology (ICT)

6. Senior Cycle Curriculum

5th  YEAR

Each of these subjects have 5 periods a week:

Irish, English, Maths


You may choose a subject from each of the blocks below.

OPTIONS

French Accounting Music
Biology Geography Art
Physics History Business
Chemistry *Jewish Studies/Hebrew Studies LCVP (subject to eligibility)
Classical Studies    

In addition: Physical Education (PE), Guidance (incl Careers &Social, Personal, Health Education (SPHE)),

* Jewish/Hebrew Studies is compulsory for Jewish Students

 

6th YEAR

Each of these subjects have 5 periods a week:

Irish, English, Maths


You may choose a subject from each of the blocks below

OPTIONS

French Accounting Music
Biology Geography Art
Physics History Business
Chemistry *Jewish Studies/Hebrew Studies LCVP (subject to eligibility)
Classical Studies    

In addition: Physical Education (PE), Guidance (incl Careers &Social, Personal, Health Education (SPHE).

* Jewish/Hebrew Studies is compulsory for Jewish Students

7. Transition Year

See the TY blog for details of our TY programme.

Download the Parent-Student brochure in PDF format.

Download the Transition Year Programme in PDF format.

8. Computers in Education

Teachers and students are already experiencing the benefits of our upgraded IT system with WiFi access now in all classrooms, upgraded IT facilities, cloud capability and the use of additional interactive whiteboards.

In December 2013 the Government-funded 100MB broadband internet access was installed in the school, laying the foundations for the challenges of 21st Century teaching and learning.

By upgrading to 100MB and by having a state-of-the-art Wi-Fi sytem throughout the school, teachers and students are able to utilise this technological infrastructure to implement its eLearning programme to its maximum potential. In April 2014, the strategy of allowing students and staff to Bring Your Own Tablet (BYOT) into the classroom was rolled out as part of Stratford's eLearning Programme. In August 2015 Stratford invested in new computers for all the classrooms and the computer lab, and then followed this in January 2016 by upgrading to Office365 for Education as its Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and platform for student digital portfolios.

The school’s eLearning programme uses eBooks where deemed appropriate, mobile devices, ECDL (European Computer Driving Licence) ICT and Computing Curricula and Office365, amongst other technical advances to help Stratford College students learn 21st Century skills.

Office 365 for Education and Digital Portfolios

Office365 is a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) for students and teachers of Stratford College. Not only are class notes, texts and homework posted online, students and teachers can work collaboratively in class and outside class using OneNote.  Students and teachers use OneNote to create digital portfolios.

9. Pastoral Care

The personal development of students is a core value of Stratford College. We believe that teachers care for their students and that education takes place in a genuinely caring atmosphere.  See our school policies for more information.

10. School Self Evaluation (SSE)

SSE is a management tool which helps schools to focus on the effectiveness of their practices. The theme for the next few years is on teaching and learning. As part of the process parents, students and teachers are surveyed about aspects of teaching and learning in the school and a School Improvement Plan (SIP) is devised to target the areas identified for improvement.

11. Health and Well Being

At Stratford College we believe in community and a sense of belonging. These are the building blocks that help an individual build a sense of resilience and connectedness – vital for positive mental health. The whole school environment and the formal and informal relationships between teachers and students all impact on students’ experience of wellbeing in school. For more details on how Stratford strives to support students, click here.

12. Assessment for Learning (AfL)

Assessment of learning is often referred to as summative assessment in that its intention is to provide a summary of the achievement/s of the learner. Assessment for Learning (usually shortened to AfL) is often referred to as formative assessment in that its intention is to form, shape or guide the next steps in learning. It is sometimes referred to as ‘learning to learn’. National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). Click here for information on how Stratford College is implementing aspects of AfL or here for information on AfL from the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA)

Assessment is Changing!

The way we assess our students' progress and even the grades we give our students are changing. Assessment for Learning (AfL) focuses on students learning how to improve their own work by reviewing feedback and identifying what they've done well and how to improve, setting goals, redrafting and correcting their own work and giving feedback to others. More information on AfL for parents  can be found here. 

Grades will also be changing for Junior Cycle as the new subjects come on stream -  and for Leaving Certificate subjects in 2018. Go to the CAO website to see the new grading system and points for the latter.

13. Watch Our Teaching and Learning in Action

In May 2015 The Irish Schoolheads Association in partnership with the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) filmed Patricia Gordon, Principal, and two of our teachers, Ms O' Reilly and Ms Donohoe and their classes (1st Years and 2nd Years) describing and demonstrating how they used Peer Assessment in the teaching of their subjects. 

Announcements

  • Summer 2017 eZine published


    Download the latest Stratford e-Zine here.

  • DES Programme Evaluation in Transition Year


    Read the Department of Education and Skills Report on the Programme Evaluation in Transition Year. The inspection was in November 2016.

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School Evaluation

WHOLE SCHOOL EVALUATION REPORT

In 2014 the Department of Education and Skills (DES) undertook a whole school evaluation of Stratford College.

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