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Portmarnock Community School Donal O Mahony. Some history Portmarnock Community School became an NCCA Junior Cycle network school in May 2012 I am the.

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Presentation on theme: "Portmarnock Community School Donal O Mahony. Some history Portmarnock Community School became an NCCA Junior Cycle network school in May 2012 I am the."— Presentation transcript:

1 Portmarnock Community School Donal O Mahony

2 Some history Portmarnock Community School became an NCCA Junior Cycle network school in May 2012 I am the Link-teacher I presented about the possibilities involved with Junior Cycle reform to my colleagues in September 2012 In Portmarnock there seemed to be a lot of interest in Short Course development

3 Why this interest? A strong history of innovation in Transition-year e.g. Photography, Heritage, Film, Animation, English, History... A confidence and capacity to introduce new and innovative methods of teaching Junior Cycle reform – an opportunity to mainstream from Transition-year to the Junior Cycle – material however must be re-modelled for the younger students, taking into account the principles of the Junior Cycle Framework

4 J.C. 2.0 Online support network I was very active in this during 2012/2013 Noticed that many Link schools were working with their strengths

5 We promised Support to teachers: In-house staff development particularly in the area of Key Skills November 2012: Denise Kelly from the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) presented in the school to about fifteen teachers (who volunteered) on Short Course development Very well received – learned a lot

6 We lead... Management and I are very supportive of the move from product to process in relation to learning Wanted to develop the students appreciation of the how and why of learning over a period of time This was a rationale we brought to the table at all meetings

7 We asked... Teachers to volunteer to develop their own Short Courses This was at a time when the NCCA had subject titles for their for Short Courses but no developed ones as such (not the case now) The NCCA had a template however which was (is) what the teachers worked off


9 Areas to be covered Title 1. Introduction to Junior Cycle: Standard for all short courses 2. Rationale: Setting the course in the broader context 3. Aim 4. Links: Statements of Learning / Literacy and Numeracy / Key Skills 5. Course Overview 6. Expectations for Students 7. Assessment and Certification 8. Resources


11 Some teachers worked as a Group Some alone and then consulted each other Denise Kelly (NCCA) was available for advice via email. I was the conduit as the Link-teacher Three Short Courses emerged – Media literacy, Animation, Robotics....

12 Decisions... Early January 2013 Principal, Deputy Principal, Link-teacher and our Time-tabler Go with two Short-courses? Yes Which ones? Animation and Media Literacy

13 Why these two? The Robotics Short Course was not fully finished Animation had been highly developed in Transition year Animation and Media Literacy very much complemented each other - Good mix of ideas – teachers saw possibilities between the subjects Attractive to boys and girls

14 Where on the timetable? Within an existing block No change to the structure of the timetable as such Treading slowly... Students have to do both Media Literacy and Animation One double each – for three years (c. 120 hours each)

15 Block with Materials Technology (Wood), Home- Economics and Technology An option block that allowed corresponding subjects to be taken in 4 th / 5 th Year Banding meant two class groups – offered it to one class in the band Twenty-four students

16 School certificate at end of Third-year (2016) Assessment focus in Second and Third-year

17 There was a very strong presentation to the parents and guardians of the incoming Sixth-class (January 2012) Covered a lot of positives about Junior Cycle reform and education in general Minimised the use of the phrase Short Course and looked at it as the introduction of a new subject Our choice of Animation and Media Literacy reflects what is relevant to real-world needs and experience


19 A draw from the hat if oversubscribed... 67 students applied

20 Lessons learned A lot of work (time) developing in-house short courses – teachers found the Short Course Template a challenge, but fulfilling when completed Reliance on one teacher – what if our animator leaves? Need for digital resources – Broadband and Wi-Fi Need for some updated training in Animation – speed of change of applications Implications for numbers in the other subjects in the block

21 Lessons learned The need for technical backup – in our case relying on a technically literate teacher to manage software updates for the animation teacher Using First-year to establish the Group-work and other skills – no assessment focus is of great value Need for space for conversation with fellow Short Course teachers.

22 Lessons Learned Dont presume that because students opt for a course that they have certain competencies A hard-sell to establish the course identity – keep trying to establish the Short Course / new subject identity – do things to highlight the course – at Assemblies, on the website etc. Dont underestimate students either – confidence built during First-year is now becoming obvious


24 2013 / 2014 Context has changed NCCA has drafts of eight short-courses for incoming 2014 First-years – consultation process in place Portmarnock teacher s involvement with the NCCA, examining aspects of teaching and learning the Coding Short Course Portmarnock P.E. teachers exploring possibilities with the Physical Education Association of Ireland and the draft Physical Education Short Course - One P.E. Teacher has developed a Sports Science module in Transition Year

25 2013 / 2014 Decided to introduce two new short courses To spread the load amongst a variety of teachers / subject areas In the same block Offered to both bands A minimum of 48 students

26 2013 / 2014 Coding – as per the NCCA draft short course specification – two teachers Sports science – at the request of a member of the P.E. Department, who has developed his own Sports Science course in Transition Year – two teachers

27 Current teacher concerns Sports Science – to develop a separate identity from the existing Junior Cycle P.E. classes Timetabling needs around Sports Science Assessment in general and assessing our own students in particular and exploring external moderation

28 Other Concerns Costs associated with these courses – can students asked to pay for swimming? Buses for external trips... Any formal funding for running Short Courses from the NCCA or others?..... Saving money one way, so give us money another way Do we need to look for sponsorship? Do we need to develop linkages with a University who will work with us as a local-school?

29 Other concerns Collect feedback from current First-year parents If we go with Robotics in 2015 / 2016, what subject would we place with it so as to attract the balance of boys and girls? What do parents think of the changing of the Short Course subjects each year? What are the implications for Transition Year?

30 Assessment We are conscious we have got the Short Courses off the ground in a creative way – now want to get the assessment right Support for Assessment – Short Course Assessment training for teachers We would like Portmarnock to get support from the NCCA in developing this, not alone for the Short Course teachers, but for all teachers in the school

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