Honest, robust, enquiry-based self-evaluation
One of the main components of one of the recommendations in the Beyond Ofsted report is moving schools to a model of self-evaluation with validation by a School Improvement Partner (SIP).
We know that robust self-evaluation is an invaluable tool in a cycle of long-term school improvement. There are a myriad of models, however. And for too long, self-evaluation in schools has been undertaken for a third party, normally Ofsted, using their criteria and with the associated high stakes.
At its best, though, school self-evaluation should support schools in shining a light on their own practice, to support a self-sustaining approach to school improvement and this needs to be facilitated by a greater emphasis on schools’ own professional accountability rather than that of external forces. The whole school community – learners, teachers, support staff, governors, parents and the local community – need to contribute to the process.
Surrey Inclusion Framework
One of our greatest challenges in Surrey, as we have reflected on before, is the disparity between outcomes for our underserved learners and other learners. Any self-evaluation process must therefore also incentivise schools to be ambitious and inclusive, include a focus on our underserved learners and capture the real story of the school.
Over the past year we have developed a Surrey Inclusion Framework which is easily accessed through the Evaluate My School (EMS) platform. The purpose of the Surrey Inclusion Framework is founded in curiosity and a desire to capture the story of the school, to understand our practice and to improve the overall quality of the experience of our children in every setting. Because this form of self-assessment is based on a need for the school to know itself well and a desire to hold itself to account, it is more likely to be robust and honest.
Currently about 100 schools across Surrey are using the Surrey Inclusion Framework on EMS. We have been using it as part of our national work on accountability in addition to the Supporting Continuous Improvement in Inclusion programme. We are currently finalising a guide to using it alongside a number of school case-studies.