CPD Update takes a look at the SEF: the self-evaluation form (secondary version).

There are seven major questions or headings in Ofsted’s new self-evaluation form (SEF) under which are listed a number of sub-questions; and there is plenty of guidance and numbers of examples offered by Ofsted to help with the completion of this form. What we want you to do here, however, is to try to imagine that as the leader of CPD in your school you have been asked to discover what you can do to help complete the form. Ofsted recommend that schools do not write too much but, on the other hand, they also point out the need to back up with evidence anything that looks like an unsupported assertion; in other words, the evidence must stand up to rigorous scrutiny.

Let’s take the questions in turn. Please note that here the questions and headings have sometimes been paraphrased. Compilers of the SEF are invited to grade themselves against each of the major questions or headings. The central question for leaders and co-ordinators of CPD, however, is what can a good and well executed CPD policy do to help produce a solid, well-researched SEF?

It is likely that in the coming year you will have colleagues, including support staff, compiling evidence of their professional development for a variety of purposes, much of which can help support a SEF. It is likely that in the future evidence for such purposes as membership of the Teacher Learning Academy or to match the National Standards will be as rigorously examined as would school-based action research submitted for a postgraduate award. In fact, there seems to be an increasing recognition that the crucial element in professional development is not simply the attainment of targets but the seriousness with which professional learning and experience is interrogated.

Key questions will be about: the nature, strength and significance of evidence; not merely the presentation of easily measured items of evidence but the articulation of intangible factors such as self-esteem, peer-esteem and motivation; the thorough examination of unexpected evidence for unintended outcomes; critical reflection; and literature. In other words, what used to be called academic values but firmly in the professional setting.

CPD Update would very much like to hear the views of readers on how the SEF is being tackled and the part being played by CPD.

Useful information can be obtained from www.ofsted.gov.uk/schools and the SEF itself and the relevant guidance notes from forms.ofsted.gov.uk/edc2005/

The SEF: a precis of the questions

1. What are the main characteristics of your school?
a) The characteristics of the learners.
b) Distinctive aims and special features.
c) Specific contextual or other issues that act as aids or barriers to raising performance.
d) Any additional characteristics of your school that you would like to draw to the attention of an inspection team.
e) Please outline briefly the main priorities in the improvement/ development plan and how they reflect the context in which you work.

2. Views of learners, parents/carers and other stakeholders
a) How do you gather their views, how often and how do you ensure the impartiality of the information?
b) What do their views tell you about standards, personal development and wellbeing and the quality of your provision?
b) How do you share with stakeholders the collated findings about their views?
c) Give examples of action taken based on their views, with an evaluation of the effectiveness of what you did.

3. How well do learners achieve?
a) What are the achievements (progress) and standards (results) of their work?
b) How well do learners achieve in the sixth form?
c) On the basis of your evaluation, what are your key priorities for development?

4. How good is the overall personal development and wellbeing of the learners?
a) To what extent do learners adopt healthy lifestyles?
b) To what extent do learners feel safe and adopt safe practices?
c) How much do learners enjoy their education?
d) How well do learners make a positive contribution to the community?
e) How well do learners prepare for their future economic wellbeing?
f) How good are learners’ personal development and wellbeing in the sixth form?
g) On the basis of your evaluation. What are your key priorities for development?

5. The quality of provision
a) How good is the quality of teaching and learning?
b) How well do the curriculum and other activities meet the range of needs and interests of learners?
c) How well are learners guided and supported?
d) What is the quality of provision in the sixth form?
e) On the basis of your evaluation, what are your key priorities for development?

6. Leadership and management
a) What is the overall effectiveness and efficiency of leadership and management?
b) What are the effectiveness and efficiency of leadership and management in the sixth form?
c) On the basis of your evaluation, what are your key priorities for development?

7. Overall effectiveness and efficiency
a) What is the overall effectiveness of the provision, including any extended services, and its main strengths and weaknesses?
b) What is the effectiveness of any steps taken to promote improvement since the last inspection and as a result of your self-assessment?
c) What is the capacity to make further improvement?
d) How effective are links with other organisations to promote the wellbeing of learners?
e) What steps need to be taken to improve the provision further?
f) What are the effectiveness and efficiency of the sixth form?