- More about self evaluation here
These questions and answers are from a recent NCSL discussion about the new Ofsted framework. (You will need to sign into NCSL to view the discussion)
Q1: I am a new Head. The current SEF in my school dates back to 2009 and is 75 pages long with evidence such as ‘we had a Christmas fair and raised £123′. I really don’t want to use it but not sure what else to do. I’ve written four pages – one for each of the new areas with a judgement, reasons and evidence. Will this be sufficient?
A1: Your approach will be an inspector’s dream. I suppose much will depend on the accuracy of the issues you identify and the rigour and robustness of the evidence. Ofsted doesn’t dictate how self evaluation should be undertaken or reported on but I suspect your governing body will welcome the short and snappy approach.
Q2: I recently attended local authority training on the new framework and a considerable amount of time was taken up with the question do OFSTED still require a SEF. The speaker quoted one heroic head who had retorted to the request from OFSTED for pre-visit documentation that ‘a SEF was no longer statutory and his school wouldn’t be penalised as a result of not having one!!’ Brave.. foolish? I’m not sure. Be interesting to know what other schools are doing. We were supplied with a pro-forma for school evaluation but many felt this wasn’t adequate for them.
Q3: Our School is still going to use the SEF in a slightly amended way for our own self evaluation but also to use as the vehicle for highlighting to OFSTED what we know we are good at, and for directing them to that good practice,
In order to have some steer on the inspection process, this piece of documentation I feel is still valuable. Moreover the exercise of producing one with such detail and rigour with the Senior Leadership Team and Middle Leaders is more than a worthwhile exercise in itself!
A2 & 3: Let me explain the SEF situation. Ofsted has withdrawn the SEF site but we are finding this term that schools are continuing to present their ‘old’ SEFs for inspection. This is absolutely fine. As you can imagine I am up and down the country at the moment providing presentations to headteachers etc and many have told me that they have reshaped the old SEF to accommodate the new framework. Having just four principal judgements, they say, has made this task much easier. Inspectors will be expecting a summary of self-evaluation in any form you wish to present it. Clearly schools will need some mechanism for sharing important self evaluation information with governors etc so this would be fine but others have actually liked the old SEF approach and have just updated the text sections. We certainly don’t need the data sections for inspections now.