Completing the Ofsted School Evaluation Form (SEF) - Guidance for by 78kEZi5


									                                               Updating Your SEF

         Completing Your SEF and Preparing for Inspection – Guidance for Secondary Schools.

Guidance for Secondary Schools – Preparing for Your Inspection

The purpose of this guidance is to offer some practical tips in compiling an effective SEF. The SEF
replaces forms S1 – S4 that where used previously and reflects the importance that is now placed on the
five strands of the “Every Child Matters” agenda. These are:

    1.    Be healthy;
    2.    Staying safe;
    3.    Enjoy and achieve;
    4.    Make a positive contribution;
    5.    Achieve economic well-being.

Information relating to these five strands should be featured throughout the SEF, though it is important
that examples are genuine and not contrived.

In the SEF, headteachers should evaluate the impact of their development and improvement initiatives
on school performance. The aim is to be evaluative and concise. The importance of secure evidence
for your judgements is stressed throughout the document. When completing the form focus on what
matters most. Do not try to include every judgement and piece of evidence.

When Mike Tomlinson was HMI he stated that: ‘inspections should be something you do with schools,
rather than do to schools.’ This sentiment is now very much to the fore and headteachers have a
significant role to play in setting the agenda. The SEF is an important tool in this process.

It is important to include information about the impact of action on learners; unsubstantiated assertions
and lists of initiatives are unhelpful. Where data is available, remember to say what the data told you,
prompted you to do, and the impact of your actions.

Update your SEF at least annually, review at least termly and include information about the impact of
actions on learning and teaching.

Some basic principles:

The SEF is your opportunity to brief and inform the inspection team. Along with your PANDA and the
lead inspector’s pre-inspection briefing (the PIB), it is the first contact that the inspection team will have
with your school. It should also be remembered that inspectors’ time is now tightly programmed. Though
the inspection providers are aiming to send out SEFs to team members five days before the inspection
commences, many inspectors, because of their other commitments, will have no more than two days to
spend in preparation for the inspection of your school. Thus your SEF should be:

         Concise – though there is no official guidance to length, the longer the SEF the less chance that
          it is read in detail; therefore, there is more chance that essential information might be missed. A
          document that is between 30 and 40 pages in length should be capable of including all salient
          points about your school.
         Evaluative - avoid padding out the SEF with volumes of factual information. Under each heading
          state strengths and areas for development and clearly state your evidence. A Key question that
          will be asked repeatedly during the inspection by team members is: ‘How do you know’? Thus
          make your judgement and refer to the evidence source. You do not have to provide all the
          evidence in the SEF. For example, you may judge the quality of learning and teaching in your
          school to be good (grade 2). Then state how you know and give an indication of strengths and
          weaknesses. Thus you might say something like:

                         ‘During the last academic year we have undertaken 100 lesson observations.
                         Many of these have been joint observations involving senior staff and heads
                         of department working with experienced OfSTED inspectors. These observations
                         have shown that in most subjects learning and teaching are good. Learning
                         and teaching are especially strong in the main school in religious education,
                         English and history and in physics in the sixth form. Unsatisfactory learning
                         and teaching was identified in geography, especially in Key Stage 4. This was
                         because of high staff turnover and the long term absence of the former head
                         of department. The situation has improved because we have a new and
                         successful head of department and more stable staffing. Our monitoring
                         indicates a far strong position now.’

        Such a statement gives a clear judgement and evidence source. It has saved you rehearsing the
        situation in every department. Note the wording is learning and teaching. The emphasis is
        now far more on learning (and less on teaching) than previously. If the team wish to establish an
        inspection trail on learning and teaching, the expectation is that they will select some lessons in
        the subjects identified, including geography. They should also suggest some joint observations. If
        the lead inspector does not suggest this, ask if joint observations can be undertaken as it is
        something you have highlighted and see as an integral part of your own monitoring procedures.
       Please ensure that in your SEF it is clear that you know the difference between attainment and
        achievement. In section 1A ensure that you clearly state attainment (standards) on entry to the
        school and, where applicable, to the sixth form. In section 3A ensure that you offer clear
        statements on attainment (standards) on entry to each Key Stage and what the standards are at
        the end of the Key Stage. As part of this process you must state how you know. In section 3A
        you will need to refer to value added data. Remember if standards rise during a Key Stage
        and/or value added data is showing that a majority of students are doing better than prior
        attainment would suggest, achievement (progress) should be graded as at least good (grade =2).
        Please remember it is perfectly acceptable to judge attainment (standards) as a grade 4 (well
        below average) but achievement or progress higher than this. For example you might state
        something along the following lines:
                         ‘Key Stage 2 data provided by our feeder primary schools shows
                         that standards on entry are well below average but our GCSE results
                         based on 5 A*-C grades are broadly average. This represents good
                         progress by our students as they move through the school from Years
                         7 to 11. This good progress is supported by our value added analysis
                         using Fischer Family Trust data.’
        Thus standards on entry are a 4, at the end of Year 11 they are 3 and achievement is a 3.
       Think also about success criteria. One main measure will be your school’s performance in terms
        of 5 A*-C grades, but it is important that your SEF is contextualised to reflect your specific
        circumstances. Thus, if your school suffers from above, or well above, average absence,
        consider quoting in your SEF the 5 A*-C statistic for those students who had 90% or better
        attendance and 95% or better attendance. You may be pleasantly surprised as the resultant
       If you have been dynamic in your curriculum management, especially at Key Stage 4, it is
        conceivable that a significant percentage of your pupils will never gain 5 A*-C grades. If this is
        the case, have you developed other measures of success? If you have alternative success
        criteria, make sure that they are stated and that the outcomes are made very clear.
       Ensure that the themes of ECM permeate the report but avoid contrivances and over stating the
        importance or effectiveness of a particular policy or initiative. For example, a claim that economic
        well-being is promoted well because you offer all Year 10 students a work experience placement
        is a shallow claim. The expectation is that all students nationally in KS4 will have an opportunity
        to undertake a work placement. What you need to do in order to justify grading a particular
        aspect as good or outstanding (grades 2 or 1) is to show that what you are doing is something
        special or different. Thus you might state:

                ‘Our KS4 work experience programme makes an outstanding contribution to the
                development of the students’ economic well-being. All students undertake a two-week
                placement in the Spring term of Year 11. The programme starts in Year 10. Our
                CEG programme in Years 10 and 11 features our students working with staff provided
                by our business partners and our local EBP. All students are set a range of carefully
                planned business-related problems to solve. As part of this challenge our students have
                to work in teams and independently, have to produce reports and, where applicable,
                solutions to the problems presented. The programme involves students developing their
                Key skills in literacy, numeracy, ict and communications. This theme of problem solving
                is part of the work experience programme as when the students are placed, the hosting
                organisation is asked to set a particular problem for the student to work on while on
                placement. After the placement has been completed, all students have to complete a
                work experience journal, which includes coverage of the problem presented to them.
                All students then have to make a short presentation to an audience comprising school
                staff and representatives from our business partners. We have video and portfolio evidence
                available that shows the high quality of work of our students.’

       Wherever possible illustrate your SEF with examples that give a flavour of your school and that
        show that what you are doing is different or novel in some way so that aspects of your work are
        distinguishable from other schools.
       The grades you award in your SEF should be realistic and should offer a coherent picture. For
        example, if learning and teaching are graded as good (grade =2), it is highly probable that
        achievement (= progress) is also good. If the latter is not graded as good you must clearly and
        concisely explain in your SEF why there is an apparent discrepancy in your grading. In reality it is
        not easy to explain why learning is good but progress is satisfactory unless there is considerable
        absence and/or pupil mobility. But if there is considerable absence it will lead to the question –
        what are you doing about it?
       The grades for learning and teaching and achievement will almost certainly be the same as that
        awarded for leadership and management. Again, if there is a difference you must explain. Thus,
        if learning and teaching are satisfactory, progress is satisfactory, curriculum is satisfactory but
        leadership and management are graded as good, you have some quite complicated explaining to
        do. Remember that the model is largely outcome driven. Perhaps if you are a fairly new
        headteacher you might argue the case for a grade 2 on the basis that your interventions have
        already led to substantial improvements. In short, if it had not been for you interventions and
        monitoring, the outcomes for learning etc. would have been inadequate.
       Please look carefully at the grade descriptors offered by OfSTED. These are listed below.
        Though the definitions for grades have changed, it is probably worth bearing in mind the old
        descriptor for satisfactory: ‘Provision is to the expected standard; there is a balance of strengths
        and weaknesses with more strengths than weaknesses.’ There is an understandable reluctance
        to accept that something is ‘only satisfactory’ or is ‘just satisfactory’, but if satisfactory is seen as
        something that is broadly ‘average’, it is not possible for everything to be above average!

Some practical hints:

       The team will expect that policies, schemes of work etc. to be in place. The inspection is not a
        paper trawl and in many cases such documents will only be requested if an inspection trail
        identifies a weakness or if clarification is being sought. There is no need to flood the inspectors’
        base with such documentation.
       In the inspectors’ base the following are most helpful:
            1. maps of the school.
            2. whole school timetable
            3. individual staff timetables that are accurate.
            4. departmental staff timetables (that are also accurate).
            5. timings for the school day.
            6. clear and concise information about any consortium arrangements that might exist.

            7. A list of extra-curricular activities taking place during the inspection, including location and
                staff responsible. It is also advisable to have a diary listing all EC events during the
                academic year.
            8. Information about assemblies, including venues.
            9. A list of Key staff including a note of specific responsibilities and times when free during
                the inspection. This list should include Key members of your non-teaching staff. For
                example if you employ a data manager the inspector responsible for standards and
                achievement will need to spend some time with this person to undertake pupil tracking.
            10. Code number for a photocopier and information on its location.
            11. It is worth identifying some pupils to be interviewed by the inspectors, but please provide
                a good cross section. If the pupils have been carefully hand picked and primed, members
                of the team will simply select another cohort at random, say in the lunch queue or in the
                sixth form common room, and seek their views.
            12. Copies of your PANDA and information on recent examination results, including any
                value-added analysis you might have.
            13. Copy of last annual report to parents.
            14. Minutes of recent governors’ meetings, including those for sub-committees.

Other Points

       It is worth remembering that the collection of prime evidence in a two-day inspection will
        effectively finish around 1.30 – 2pm. On the second day as the team will be holding their final
        meeting and starting work on a draft report. Lesson coverage will usually be confined to the first
        three or four periods on day 1.
       Most staff, especially in a large school, may have little direct contact with the inspection team.
        However, corporate responsibility probably plays a far more important role than previously. An
        unguarded comment from a member of staff, or a poorly planned action, may be sufficient to
        trigger a new inspection trail. For example, in an observed science lesson, a lack of attention to
        health and safety might stimulate a new trail that leads to other departments such as DT, PE,
        performing arts etc., being given a ‘hard time’.
       It is important that planned events are not changed. The team will want to see how the school
        functions in all the facets of its work. An important part of this (and an important part of the ECM
        agenda) is all the additional events and experiences you provide for your pupils.


The inspection should be a beneficial experience and free of shocks. The strengths and weaknesses
identified by the team should be in accord with what you have identified through your own self-evaluation
and stated in your SEF. Headteachers also have a partial responsibility to manage the inspection and
set the agenda. The lead inspector and the team alone should not determine specific observations of
classes or events. If you are doing something that is on high quality, ensure the team know about it. It
is also imperative that the team know who your star teachers are and where they will see dynamic
learning and teaching during their visit. It is well worth identifying in advance lessons that are likely to be
of a very high quality and requesting that the team visit at least a selection of these. Remember also
that lesson observations, where the focus is on learning, may be as short as 20 minutes.


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