The virtues of self-evaluation

21st September 2001 at 01:00
So the Office for Standards in Education is thinking about questionnaires for pupils and more scrutiny of the views of parents ("Inspectors all ears as parents speak out", TES, September 7)?

I am sure I am not the only headteacher to be concerned by this development. Now is not the time to raise the stakes on accountability. The past decade has surely convinced heads and teachers of the need to be accountable.

The growing drive for school self-evaluation is more positive. Accessing a self-evaluation "toolkit" developed with their local education authority offers staff the chance to assess for themselves how well they are doing. Positive working relationships with LEAs would be easier if schools felt they could share issues rather than being inspected on them.

Having used self-evaluation for three years in a three-form- entry junior school it has become apparent to me that an annual questionnaire for the "main players" in schools is essential. What is even more important is how the school acts on any findings.

The paperwork resulting from self-evaluation should then be the basis for OFSTED inspections.

George Ford Headteacher, Abbey junior school Abbey Road Darlington, County Durham

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