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So you've completed a period of school improvement planning - fab! But what was the impact? Has anything else slipped? What's next? Let us support you with school self-evaluation and how to make it effective.

School Evaluation and Improvement Pack

The school improvement plan is vital in driving change, but if the impact of your team's actions are not evaluated, you could be making change that's having a negative impact on your pupils. With this pack, you can explore why the SEF is more than just paperwork and how you can consider the impact of your stakeholders, including the importance of performance management and CPD, parent, pupil and staff voice and the role of governors and external advisors.

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Your key self-evaluation questions answered

What is a school self-evaluation form (SEF)?

A school Self-Evaluation Form (SEF) is a valuable tool employed by school leaders to assess and reflect upon various aspects of their setting's performance. This form serves as a structured template for self-evaluation, allowing leaders to methodically examine the strengths and areas for improvement within the school. The SEF is an integral component of the broader self-evaluation process that informs the development of the School Improvement Plan (SIP).  

Within the SEF, school leaders typically address key elements such as teaching and learning quality, pupil outcomes, staff development, and the effectiveness of policies and procedures. It plays a crucial role in the establishment of SMART targets—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound objectives—that guide the strategic planning and action planning processes. By regularly utilising the SEF, school leaders can foster a culture of continuous improvement, ensuring that the school's objectives align with the evolving needs of its pupils and the broader educational landscape.

Who is responsible for the SEF?

The headteacher is usually responsible for leading the process of completing the SEF, as they’re responsible for the overall performance of the school. However, the process of completing the SEF should involve input from a range of stakeholders, including teachers, support staff, parents and pupils.

School leaders have the flexibility to create their own SEF as Ofsted doesn’t prescribe a specific format or design. This allows them to tailor the SEF to their schools’ needs and use it as a working document. The Education Inspection Framework (EIF) has placed greater emphasis on school self-evaluation and inspectors now evaluate the extent to

which school leaders and governors can evaluate and analyse the quality of provisions and outcomes through self-assessment. The findings from this process should then be evidenced in the School Improvement Plan.

How often should I review my SEF?

Similar to the School Improvement Plan (SIP), the School Self-Evaluation Form (SEF) should undergo regular reviews to ensure it accurately reflects the school's current status and informs improvement strategies effectively. Consider conducting formal reviews of the SEF at least annually. This allows for a comprehensive examination of the self-evaluation findings and provides an opportunity to update and refine the document based on the school's evolving needs.  

In addition to the annual reviews, incorporate more frequent, informal assessments to address immediate concerns or changes in circumstances. This agile approach ensures that the SEF remains a dynamic tool for continuous self-assessment. Engage key stakeholders in the review process to gather diverse perspectives and insights. By striking a balance between regular check-ins and the overarching annual review, you can maintain the SEF's relevance and effectiveness in guiding the school's improvement efforts.

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