News From St Joseph's Secondary School, Tulla

The following is some very interesting news snippets from St Joseph's Secondary School, Tulla, Co. Clare.

St Joseph's Tulla Student on Science Olympiad Team

Bethan Godber who is a Student in St Joseph's Secondary School, Tulla, Co. Clare will be one of six students on the Irish team for the EU Science Olympiad next month. Speaking recently to the Clare Champion newspaper, Bethan explained how she made her place on the six-member team.

"Based on the Junior Cert results in maths and science, the high achievers were asked to take part in a test in November at DCU. There were about 300 students chosen to take the test. Each student got an opportunity to take a test in biology, chemistry or physics. I chose chemistry because I really love it at school and I really enjoy doing lab work.

"I took about a three-hour test at DCU and the high achievers in the test were given medals. There was a gold medal, a silver medal and two bronze medals in each subject area. I was really excited because I got a silver medal in the chemistry category. 

"We were brought back during the mid-term in February to take part in the selection programme to decide who would represent Ireland. The four people in chemistry had to do lots of tests in the lab. I was then chosen to be one of two people to represent Ireland in chemistry at the European Union Science Olympiad."

She also gave credit to her teacher, Colette McNamara. 

"I really love chemistry and I couldn't have done it either without my chemistry teacher. Between November and February, she was helping me practise."

The practising has only begun, she added. "I've got to keep practising in the lab at school with my teacher. We'll go back at the Easter holidays for intensive training ,where we'll be practising different things that might occur in the Olympiad. On April 26, I'll be going to Austria for a week and that's where it will take place. 

Explaining the format of the competition, she added, "We'll be divided into teams. There will be a biologist, a chemist and a physicist in each team and we have to work together to do lots of different experiments. I think we have three and a half hours. We have two experiments. We do them together, get results and take conclusions out of that. I'll be going through different calculations, making sure I'm getting used to using all the apparatus." 

School Principal, Margaret O'Brien said Bethan's achievement is something to be very proud of. 

"There are six going off for the whole of Ireland and it's just a great honour to be one of six in the country. There were a couple of hundred in the previous round. 

"She's a brilliant girl. She got 12 As in her Junior Cert and nothing is a bother to her really."

All-Ireland Camogie Title Win

There were also celebrations in the school, after they won an All-Ireland Camogie title on Saturday 14th March. "The camogie win was a fantastic achievement. It was the All-Ireland Colleges Junior B final against Seamount College of Kinvara, who won the senior All-Ireland the week before.

"There were 12 of the panel on the Kinvara team. Our team played out of their skins. They scored very early on and kept up the momentum all the way through. They won eventually by 5-11 to 1-3," School Principal, Margaret O'Brien said. 

Pictured above the St Joseph's players celebrate winning the All-Ireland B Camogie Title. 

St Joseph's Tulla Camogie Team: Niamh O'Brien, Catherine Donnellan, Aoife Tuohy, Áine Nash, Aoife Vaughan, Alannah Ryan, Siobhán O'Connell, Regan Conway (3-8), Níamh Mulqueen (0-1), Sinead Conlon, Evelyn Duggan (1-1), Laura McGrath, Bridín Dinan, Niamh O'Gorman (1-1) and Robyn Conway (1-0).  Subs: Eileen Daly for Áine Nash (half-time), Meghan Boland, Laura O'Connell, Laoise Culloo and Orlaith Nash for Siobhan O'Connell, Sinead Conlon, Bridín Dinan and Niamh O'Gorman (50 minutes). 

Senior Hurlers win Munster Title

Congratulations to the Senior hurlers from St Joseph's Secondary School, Tulla won the Munster Senior title this year and unfortunately were beaten in the All-Ireland semi-final on Saturday 21st March by the Ulster Senior A Champions, Cross and Passion from Ballycastle in Antrim. 

Teacher Support Praised in Secondary School Report

A Department of Education inspection regarding the quality of science and chemistry learning and teaching at St. Joseph's Secondary School, Tulla largely endorsed the work that is being done at the school. 

The results were published on the department's website last week and related to an inspection that took place on November 14 of last year. 

The report stated that good quality teaching was evident in all of the lessons that were observed. It added, "Classroom management was of very good quality and the positive atmosphere in all lessons was underpinned by supportive relationships and high levels of support by the teachers for the students' learning."

Students at the school were described as being "enthusiastic about and successful in their learning, giving good quality answers to questions that were posed by their teachers and by the inspector". 

Two recommendations were made in the report.

"In building on the good work which has already been accomplished in school self-evaluation and subject planning, the science staff should embed opportunities for sharing practice and trialling initiatives within the subject planning process.

"Practial work is a benefical element of students' experience of the sciences in this school and in building on this good practice, it is recommended that the potential to undertake regular, small-scale assessment of students' practical skills be explored by the science staff." 

In the teaching and learning section of the report, it was stated, "The teaching approaches that were used during the lessons observed spanned a range of methodologies suited to each lesson. Of particular note was the high level of individual support that teachers gave to their students. The teachers created opportunities for students to ask questions, they answered the student's questions clearly and they circulated among the students while the students worked, providing individual guidance, support and encouragement."

Also in the same section, it stated, "it was apparent frm observation that the students were meaningfully engaged in their learning during each lesson. They were attentive and participated fully in the lesson activities, They gave good quality answers to the questions posed by their teachers. In interacting with the inspector, the students positively described their enthusiasm for their studies and it was clear from observing the students' work that they were motivated in their learning."

There were also positive words about the practical side of science education at the school.

"All experimental work was undertaken safely and there was an appropriate emphasis on health and safety. The students were competent and capable in their performance of experimental work and they showed good facility in working in the laboratatory and in working as part of a team. Practical work is a beneficial element of students' experience of the sciences in this school and in building on this good practice it is recommended that the potential to undertake regular, small-scale assessment of students' practical skills be explored by the science staff."

Regarding planning and preparation of science and chemistry, it stated "There was a high level of preparation for each lesson. There was clear evidence of the teachers maintaining appropriate plans. During the delivery of lessons, the teachers demonstrated a high level of subject matter expertise.

"Students' progress is monitored by means of regular assessment and reported on periodically to parents. The science staff has adopted the good practice of analysing the students' results from the certificate examinations. They use the results of this analysis to inform their planning and, consequently, their approaches to teaching and learning."