Our Perspective on the SEF

Recent changes to government policy have led to this press release regarding the Angel Solutions position on the future of the Perspective software across schools in England.

While many will be happy to see the back of the form filling exercise that was the SEF (which has become an overly long and bureaucratic process for many schools), the principle of self evaluation is critical to school improvement and must be retained.

ASCL General Secretary Brian Lightman is quoted as saying, “As a move towards reducing bureaucracy, we would welcome the demise of the SEF in its current form, which has over the years grown out of all proportion and been written with the needs of Ofsted rather than schools in mind. However in terms of strengthening the link between inspection and self review, the SEF was an important move forward and we do not want that to be lost. Self evaluation has been a key driver of school improvement. We hope that the government will continue to recognise the importance of self evaluation and work with school leaders to develop a mechanism that is more streamlined and fit for purpose.”

Perspective has always supported schools with the process of self evaluation, knowing the school well, evidencing this knowledge, and creating focussed targets and plans to address the needs identified and generate true school improvement. This philosophy will not change in light of the removal of the SEF. While the SEF provided a ‘stick’ for schools, self evaluation leading to focussed planning and genuine school improvement has always been the ‘carrot’, and is one that remains.

The current arrangements for the inspection of schools and the Ofsted framework will only be modified during the summer of 2011, and schools which are due for inspection during this period are being advised to maintain an up to date SEF. Perspective will continue to support these schools. Moreover, it will also support those schools who are not due for inspection, but still want to maintain best practice in self evaluation and the cyclical link between that and improvement planning. The uncertainty that a lack of a standardised format for schools to use may replace the bureaucracy of the SEF with even greater amounts of time being spent trying to cover all bases of forthcoming inspections, and it is our belief that the current structure of self evaluation is still the most comprehensive and pertinent available.

When there is greater clarity in the coming months and throughout 2011 on the changes being made to inspections and the move towards the four key areas of evaluation, Perspective will adapt to maintain best practice as it always has when there have been changes in the government or the Ofsted position. There will be a new version of the Ofsted framework, and therefore schools will always want to evaluate themselves on the basis of how they are to be inspected.

Angel Solutions will continue to work hard to make sure that schools and leaders who use our Perspective solution have a tool at their disposal which is fit for purpose, supports best practice, and has the flexibility to adapt to the ways of working which are being constantly transformed. We are frequently updating the software, and we look forward to your feedback on the Performance Management module which is currently in development, as we add more leadership tools to the Perspective suite to make it as comprehensive and supportive as its users require

As ever, Angel Solutions welcomes the views of our Perspective users as to how they would like to see the software be adapted, changed or improved further. Please email perspective@angelsolutions.co.uk with any suggestions or questions.

I would like to thank you for your ongoing support, and I wish you good luck for the academic year ahead.

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