Heads evaluate

30th April 2004 at 01:00
We asked more than 600 heads what they thought about self-evaluation.

* Self-evaluation needs to be extended beyond the academic curriculum. At the moment, judgment of a school depends too heavily on the views of remote, micro-managing bean-counters.

* Self-evaluation is difficult with constant change implemented from the centre. Surely it is time for some stability and consistency in approach.

* Are the staff teams in schools really so unprofessional that they constantly require an array of personnel consultants to identify their strengths and dictate their future development?

* School development is an ongoing process in which you never arrive. The journey matters and self-evaluation is a snapshot of the bit you are walking now.

* Schools need time away from further initiatives to consolidate good practice. Most teachers are reflective people.

* If self-evaluation is to become the norm, then there should be adequate funding so it can be effectively managed.

* Short inspections were tried before and failed. I don't think self-evaluation will make it any more successful. We need personalised inspections. Short notice, yes. Short inspections, no.

* There's a huge danger that this process will become all-consuming, evaluation for evaluation's sake.

* I'd prefer Ofsted and the Department for Education and Skills to trust our self-evaluation and not increase the frequency of inspection. Perhaps we should increase the frequency of general elections to help the Government self-evaluate.

* The S4 is a game of Russian roulette - name your weaknesses and have them harshly judged or don't name them and be harshly judged for not knowing them.

* Self-evaluation is important: could this be recognised by a reduction in the rest of the excessive monitoring regime?

* Is self-evaluation signing our own death warrant? I know what I want to improve in my school. I am not sure I want the inspector to know.

* Schools must ensure they use an evidence base to back up their judgments: it is hard to take over a school that has judged itself higher than it actually performs.

* Commercial self-evaluation tools are unwieldly and costly.

* Small schools need data analysis training.

* Ofsted didn't question our analysis of the effect of deprivation, but did say that this was an excuse, not a reason, for poor attainment. Are we making a rod for our own backs?

* A single national model would ensure all schools start from the same baseline.

* Let's have free choice of models, so the distinctive character of a school can be encouraged.

Our self-evaluation survey was backed by Lloyds TSB and the National Association of Head Teachers. It covers 516 primary schools and 102 secondary.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today