Our School cluster…
Escola Básica Carlos Gargaté is a Basic School (9 years, divided into three cycles, for students aged between 6 and 15) situated in the village of Charneca de Caparica. It belongs to the municipality of Almada and is twenty kilometers south of Lisbon in an area which is part of Grand Lisbon, with all the characteristics of a suburb.
Escola Básica Carlos Gargaté (former EBI Charneca de Caparica) was inaugurated in the school year of 1993/1994 and began with 400 students.
Since the school was built there has been a great increase of house building in the village and consequently the number of students attending this school has also increased so much that another school Escola Básica Louro Artur (EBLA) was built six years ago.
Both schools are grouped in what is nowadays called “Agrupamento de Escolas Carlos Gargaté” (Carlos Gargaté schools’ grouping) – the name of our patron.
It has 1100 students, 80 teachers, 23 people in the auxiliary staff, 8 people working at the admissions office. The headmaster and the administrative staff are located in the head school. The new school also has a local coordinator teacher that supervises the school and works in coordination with the headmaster.
The school year of 1996/97 was very important for EBCG as it was the beginning of a new project – “Projecto de Flexibilização Curricular” (Flexible management of national curriculum) – that introduced changes in curriculum organization with the aim to assure all students would learn in a more meaningful way, become more independent and are able to develop all skills they were supposed to have at the end of compulsory school. The main ideas of this project have become part of the national policy in Portugal since the curricular reorganization introduced by law 6/2002.
Some Alternative Curriculum Classes (Turmas de Currículo Alternativo) have also been created in the 7th, 8th and 9th grades. These classes have had a great success as they offer students a different curriculum showing them the practical meaning of every subject they are learning and, on the other hand, students get both their school-leaving certificate and have a traineeship outside school preparing them for their future career.
EBCG participated in three European Educational Projects: “Parents as Educators in Europe” from 1997 to 2000, “Pupils as Euro-Teachers” from 1999-2002 and in the GRANDSLAM Project with seven other European Countries (Spain, Ireland, UK, Norway, Denmark, Lithuania and Check Republic) from 2003 to 2006.
Trying to change teachers’ attitude…
In 2001 Portuguese Educational Act has changed in what concerns curriculum development. What was the main change? Up to then, the National Curriculum was the gathering of programmatic items, at different subjects, and teachers didn’t have, among them, any kind of co-operation when they were planning their classes, because that was not a priority.
The national curriculum guideline contained the gathering of skills that all students are supposed to develop throughout basic compulsory school. Therefore, each school must look for the best way to get them. This way, what is really important is not the approach of all the programmatic items, but the choice of those which can contribute to improve the aimed skills. This new perspective gives school new responsibilities in curricular approach and demands teachers a different organization.
In this changing process, not only school organization takes an important role, but most of all, the way how teachers of the same class will manage to cooperate and organize the students’ learning process. According to this, Curriculum Class Project is the strategic instrument of organizing and managing students’ knowledge acquisitions, nowadays is called Class Project.
It is a team project made by all the teachers – class council – under the class tutor’s supervision.
They have to study the students’ reports of the previous year, their individual folders, including students with special needs.
All teachers have to be acquainted with the essential knowledge acquisitions in every subject.
At the beginning of the school year, students are submitted to tests in order to check their non-accomplished previous learning.
Based on all this information, the class staff will establish priorities to improve the students’ knowledge and define behaviour rules in class, establishing how to deal with conflicts as well as with non-integrated students.
To reach this purpose it is important that teachers help each other, working in co-operation and sharing among them successful experiences in order to:
This process has to be evaluated at predefined moments and according to the previous planning.
If necessary, the class council can redefine the previous aims.
The class tutor will assure the co-ordination of this team and will help to overcome the difficulties.
Evaluating the process…
Since the school beginning its policy has been based on an internal reflection and self-evaluation in order to maintain and develop strategies and practices that mean a true development or correct those that weren’t able to achieve the proposed goals.
In February 2006 the proposal to the external evaluation project had two main goals:
- To get an external view on the work that had been developed as it had only been evaluated by an internal reflection;
- To compare the external evaluation with the previous internal evaluation results in order to get improvement plans always having in mind our students’ learning with quality.
The evaluation report as well as the autonomy contract signed in 2007 brought new challenges to our new Carlos Gargaté Schools Grouping.
The main aims of the Autonomy Contract are: Getting more readers (10% per year);Using the School Library/Learning Centre (10% per year);Using ICT as a common educational resource; Maintain the percentage of 0% dropouts; Reduce poor school performance in main subjects –Portuguese and Maths;
Reduce poor school performance per cycle ; Improve the quality of success.
An addiction to the Autonomy Contract has been asked and approved. This way in school year 2010/2011 new areas were introduced: Reading Project; Solving Problems Project; Portuguese Language and Maths Class Reinforcement
Since the Autonomy Contract we made year by year reports and sent it to the experts in the Ministry of Education.
In the year 2011 we knew that we would have the second cycle of external evaluation and the school board made a partnership with a High School to make the self- evaluation by CAF- Common Assessment Framework – method.
Our strengths were:
- School leadership
- Teachers Councils
- Students’ results
Our weaknesses were:
- Some internal communication problems
- Lack of registers (evidences)
- Some problems with administrative staff
- Poor condition of some common areas (students’ toilets, )
To improve our results and school quality we implemented a successful improvement planning.
Last school year (2012/2013) the Ministry of Education invited Carlos Gargaté School Cluster to renewal the Autonomy Contract and we signed it in 13th February 2013.
At the end of the last school year we applied questionnaires to assessment our practices.
Local management group, Portugal:
|João Paulo Proença||Member of the Cabinet of the Portuguese School libraries Network
Intermunicipality Library Coordinator /
Teacher, Carlos Cargaté cluster of Schools
(Municipality of Almada )
|Maria da Graça Carvalha||Headmistress
Carlos Gargaté cluster of Schools
(Municipality of Almada)
|Cláudia Corado||Cláudia Corado
Coordinator of Class Directors and of a Comenius Project
Teacher, Carlos Gargaté cluster of Schools
|Adelaide Paredes||Head of the local teacher’s training centre of Almada municipality – http://almadaforma.org/|
|Ana Bernardo||Office manager at Carlos Gargaté cluster of Schools|