School Self Evaluation (SSE) is a collaborative, reflective, inclusive process of internal school review. During SSE, the principal, deputy principal and teachers, under the direction of the board of management and the patron and in consultation with the parents and students, engage in reflective enquiry on the work of the school.
School self-evaluation is primarily about school improvement and development.
To take the initiative in improving the quality of education that they provide for their students.
To affirm and build on what is working well.
To identify areas in need of development and to decide on actions that should be taken to bring about improvements in those areas.
To report to the school community about the strengths in the work of the school and its priorities for improvement and development.
Teachers reflect on their work and on the learning that their students achieve as part of their daily professional work. For many years schools have used the school development planning process to identify what is working well and what might need to be improved. School self-evaluation is a way in which this process of reflection, improvement and development can take place in a more systematic way.
School self-evaluation places greater emphasis on collecting, examining and sharing evidence about the work of the school when making decisions about what is working well and what areas need to be improved and developed.
School self-evaluation improves students’ learning. Experience in Ireland and in other countries shows that when teachers reflect on their own practice regularly and focus on improving teaching and learning in classrooms, they can improve the learning achieved by students.
School self-evaluation enriches the professional lives of teachers. Teachers who engage in SSE reflect on how they teach and share ideas and questions with their colleagues in a professionally rewarding and supportive way.
The concept of school improvement is not new. LAOS (2003) – was designed to assist school community in reviewing and evaluating the work of their schools. It looked at 5 broad dimensions within the school context – management, planning, curriculum provision, learning and teaching in curriculum areas and support for pupils. Many schools already engage in school development planning and have shown that this approach is both practical and effective.
As part of the School Development Planning (SDP) process schools first reviewed existing practice:
They then identified areas of need and set targets for improvement
Action plans were agreed and implemented.
Strategies and action plans were implemented and monitored leading to further review where the process began again
The SSE process is a reframing and a natural development of the school development planning process. The main shift being at the review stage where solid evidence is required to justify the identification of strengths/areas for improvement.
School Self-evaluation is a further move to ensure that there is a link between the development planning process and improved outcomes in teaching and learning
Self-evaluation should not be additional to SDP, rather it seeks to provide a sharper focus for the SDP process
Schools are asked to:
Build on existing school development planning processes by engaging in school self-evaluation of teaching and learning from 2012/13
Evaluate the quality of teaching and learning in literacy, numeracy and at least one other aspect of teaching and learning in the four years from 2012/13 to 2015/16
Write a short SSE report for the area examined
Devise a School Improvement Plan for aspects of practice identified for improvement
Experience has told us that it takes a number of years to build good self-evaluation processes in schools. Change will take time to become fully established and that teachers, principals and others involved will need to be supported. Over the next 4 years, schools are expected to evaluate literacy, numeracy and one other aspect of teaching and learning. Gaelscoileanna and scoileanna Gaeltachta engage in evaluation in Literacy L1 & L2 and Numeracy. You and your staff choose your focus after taking stock of what you already know about how your school is doing in these areas.