I was recently asked a question by a chair of governors about governor involvement in school self evaluation:
“At a recent meeting the question was raised about good practice regarding governor involvement in the SEF. I think governors were wondering if they should be suggesting what needed to be included (or whether items were suggested by the school’s leadership team) and the amount of evidence they should expect when monitoring progress of the SEF. I would appreciate your views.”
Here’s what I said:
In response to your question, I would say that the SEF should very much be derived from the school’s leadership and their own evaluation of the school’s strengths and weaknesses. Importantly, a good SEF will also make reference to a range of sources of evidence in support of the school’s evaluative comments. Further, I would expect that the school’s learning partner/SIP would provide some external evaluation of the effectiveness and accuracy of the SEF.
I think it is important that governors are conversant with the SEF, that they understand it and that they evaluate its accuracy and the quality of evidence (as opposed to ‘quantity’) therein, however I would not describe governors as necessarily having an ‘involvement’. That said, I do think that an effective SEF will include an evaluative statement about governance (within a section on Leadership and Management) and it would be good practice for the governing body itself to take responsibility for discussing and contributing that aspect.
Good questions for governors to ask re the SEF might be:
– On what basis do you judge that to be good/RI/outstanding?
– What evidence is there to support that judgement?
– What external evidence (or validation of your evidence) can you provide us with to assure us that the judgement is accurate?
– What would need to be done/evidenced to move that judgement (upwards)?
As well as governors being familiar with the SEF, they should also satisfy themselves that the school’s development plan (SDP) addresses elements of school improvement that have been identified by the SEF. If the SEF is accurate, and the SDP links to it, then the SDP becomes a useful vehicle for governor monitoring and evaluation.
Finally, don’t forget how important focussed governor visits can also be in supporting their monitoring role. Continue reading