Annual review of the online self-evaluation form (SEF) for schools – briefing and FAQs for regional helpdesk colleagues and NBU customer service assistants Background The self-evaluation Form (SEF) is designed for use in all maintained schools (including Academies) and is completed online by headteachers and senior managers. There are six different SEFs for each education phase – secondary, primary, all through, nursery and special schools, and for pupil referral units (PRU). Completion of the form is not mandatory, although we do suggest that schools update their SEF once a year. The SEF is used to capture the school’s evaluation of its own performance. It is therefore an important piece of evidence which is used by inspectors, in conjunction with other data, to form an initial impression of a school immediately prior to inspection. Regional Inspection Service Providers (RISPs), who manage inspections on behalf of Ofsted, provide a copy of the SEF to a Lead Inspector before an inspection begins. Ofsted makes an annual review of the SEF to ensure that it is updated to reflect changes in statutory requirements and government policy, in order that schools are clear about what is expected of them, can record their priorities and evaluate their progress. Issue The changes will be uploaded onto the SEF website between 17.00 on Tuesday 4 September and 9.00 on Thursday 6 September 2007; during this time the SEF website will not be accessible to schools or RISPs. FAQs The website closure is inconvenient – I wanted to work on my SEF during this period We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause and do realise that some users will find the timing of the closure inconvenient. Unfortunately the website has to be deactivated to allow the annual revisions to the website to be made. Why are you changing the SEF? What changes are being made to the SEF? The revision to the SEF is to ensure that it is updated to reflect changes in statutory requirements and government policy, in order that schools are clear about what is expected of them, can record their priorities and evaluate their progress. The format will remain the same, you will not have to rewrite your SEF and your current SEF user name and password will not change. Some prompts and questions in Part A (the evaluative section) and Part C (compliance with statutory requirements) have been updated to reflect national policy developments; there will be an article on the SEF website setting these out, when it becomes available again on Thursday. Will I need to rewrite the SEF for my school? The format will remain the same, you will not have to rewrite your SEF, and your current SEF user name and password will not change. It is only where questions in Part C have changed where your previous ticked response will not show, since you will need to consider whether you meet what is now required. I’m worried that the information in my SEF will be lost. What will happen to the information in my SEF? You will not have to rewrite your SEF and your current SEF user name and password will not change. Ofsted will transfer the content of your current SEF to the revised SEF template by an automatic process. However, you may wish to save a copy of your current SEF for your own records. What do I need to do? Do I need to submit all the work we have been doing on the SEF? Do I need to save a copy of my SEF? You do not need to take any action. Ofsted will transfer the content of your current SEF to the revised SEF template by an automatic process. However, you may wish to save a copy of your current SEF for your own records. Will I need to revise my SEF when the system is back online? We suggest that the SEF is updated annually, although the different sections do not necessarily need to be updated at the same time. When considering updating your SEF, you may find it helpful to refer to the further guidance on Improving performance through school self-evaluation and improvement planning published on the Ofsted website in June 2006. http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/publications/index.cfm?fuseaction=pubs.displayfile&id=421 3&type=pdf What if I am inspected in September? Will the Lead Inspector have access to my SEF in time for the inspection? Ofsted has arranged for SEFs to be made available to Lead Inspectors as normal. FAQs after the SEF website has been restored Can I use my current user name and password when access is restored to the site? Your current SEF user name and password will not change. I have just accessed my SEF following the revisions you have made to the SEF. Some parts are blank – what’s missing? The overall format is the same as before. Ofsted has transferred the content of your SEF to the revised SEF template by an automatic process. This has captured all the information from your SEF. There is one new question in Part A (Personal development and well-being section) which you will need to respond to, and a few revisions to some of the questions in Part C where data is requested that was not in your previous SEF. You may complete these areas when you next revise your SEF. There is an article on the SEF website setting out the amended questions.