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School ImprovementThe virtuous circle

virtuous circle

Why a virtuous circle?

In their own words 'The purpose of OFSTED inspections is to bring about improvement, that is raise standards, enhance quality, increase efficiency and improve the ethos of the school (i.e. pupils spiritual, moral, social and cultural development).'
Ofsted usefully defines the role of school self-evaluation as a continuous process that is complemented from time to time by external inspections. Self-evaluation makes an important contribution to inspections. It provides the school and the registered inspector with a means of ensuring that inspection covers matters of potential signifcance to the school.
A virtuous circle can be defined as 'a self-propagating advantageous situation in which a successful solution leads to more of a desired result or another success which generates still more desired results or successes in a chain.

Combining Improvement, Evaluation and Inspection.

Ofsted have made it clear that the main focus of the new inspection framework is on school improvement. If we view this as just one element of the virtuous circle it means that to achieve school improvement schools need to self evaluate. Inspections, school improvement and self evaluation are all evidence based - and using a well designed system the evidence(data) can be collected once and used for Inspections, School Improvement and Self Evaluation.

Measuring school improvement

Measuring school improvement requires a school self evaluation, or external evaluation/inspection. Once there is a base line improvement can be measured. An inspection should really be called inspections because it is a series of judgements each one focussing upon a small area. Even where there is a judgement on a lesson this can be broken down into a series of subjudgements. It is these subjudgements that school improvement needs to focus on and measure. This principle of improvement can be seen in many areas of public and private life - Steve Jobs was famous for his attention to detail and that is what drives school improvement attention to detail.
Identifying areas of success and failure has a number of benefits.

  • CPD can be reviewed.
  • Interventions can be designed.
  • Evidence gathering and intervention demonstrates both capacity (remember capacity is no longer a separate judgement by Ofsted) and quality of leadership.

    Evidence Gathering

    Evidence is required at every stage in school improvement, self evaluation and inspection. Gathering, storing, analysing and presenting evidence is resource intensive and expensive. We make this task trivial, we suggest the evidence that needs to be gathered, you set standards, we analyse and present. We store and present the outcomes in a format that can be used for self evaluaton, inspection and school improvement.

    What evidence is gathered

    We rely upon the new Ofsted Inspection Framework for 2012 as a guide. It scaffolds our system and ensures schools are performing a comprehensive self evaluation. Focus is detailed we ensure schools can get a thorough analysis of themselves. The evidence can then be used to inform effective leadership, initiatives and interventions.

    School Governors and School Improvement

    Ofsted believe that school governors are at the centre of good and outstanding schools. Our system involves governors whilst maintaining some confidentiality by hiding individual detail yet presenting sufficient detail to inform.
    'School governing bodies that clearly understand their roles and responsibilities, build productive relationships with school leaders, know their schools well and use the views of parents, pupils and the wider community are best equipped to drive improvement in their schools.
    Inspection evidence tells us that there is a relationship between effective governance, the quality of leadership and management, and the quality of provision and pupil achievement.'(Ofsted 2011)

    Contact us

    We'd love to talk to you about your school improvement ambitions. Our systems are installed in many schools and are used daily to drive school improvement - its our expertise. Get in touch with our team.

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    'Our evidence shows that the effectiveness of leadership and management is pivotal to schools' improvement. Effective leaders know their school well and set ambitious targets based on perceptive self-evaluation. They closely monitor and track pupils' learning and progress to target areas where improvements are needed. In particular, we know the decisive impact the best leadership and management can have on improving teaching and learning, and raising standards of achievement.'

    Her Majesty's Chief Inspector 2011