What is a School Self-Evaluation Form (SEF)?

The main aim of a SEF is to assist school leaders in assessing both their achievements and areas of improvement. Ofsted will then analyse the report and use it as partial evidence when completing a school’s inspection as stated in the School Inspection Handbook. As of 2019 however, Ofsted no longer mandates a specific template for the SEF, which has put some schools across England at a loose end. Using tools like Perspective can help schools write an effective SEF with ease.

How will my SEF be used in an Inspection?

“Inspectors must use all their evidence to evaluate what it is like to attend the school. In making their judgements about a school’s overall effectiveness, inspectors will consider whether the standard of education is good or whether it exceeds good and is outstanding. If it is not good, then inspectors will consider whether it requires improvement or is inadequate.” – Ofsted School Inspection Handbook

It’s important to note that a school’s SEF is not set in stone. They can be continually adjusted between to reflect the school’s current status accurately. During inspections, Ofsted incorporates the SEF as a vital component. It enables them to gain insights into the developments that have occurred in the school since the last inspection. Additionally, it provides valuable perspectives on how school leaders and governors perceive their institution and its impact.

Why is a SEF Important?

It gives school leaders a chance to take a deep dive into all areas and reflect on the insights gained from completing a SEF. It holds significant importance in aiding schools as they plan for forthcoming adjustments like budgeting implications or staffing impact. Schools might also want to see what’s changed since new leadership came into force.

What should be included in a Self-Evaluation Form?

  • School Context – This is where you set the scene for all that you do. Being clear about your student profile, and especially being aware of where any might be vulnerable, is vital to accurate and informed school self-evaluation.
  • Quality of Education – Assessment of teaching methods, classroom practices, and the impact on student learning.
  • Behaviour and Attitudes – An analysis of pupil’s well-being and behaviour within the school community.
  • Personal Development – An analysis of pupil’s personal development within the school community.
  • Leadership and Management – An evaluation of leadership effectiveness, governance, and the overall management structure of the school.

Other areas to also consider:

  • Outcomes for Pupils: Examination of student performance, progress, and attainment levels.
  • Safeguarding: An assessment of safeguarding practices and policies in place to ensure safety and well-being.
  • Effectiveness of Special Education Needs (SEN) Provision: Review of support for students with special educational needs.
  • Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS): Evaluation of early years provision for children aged 3 to 5. (If Applicable)
  • Sixth Form Stage: Evaluation of sixth form provision for children attending sixth form. (If Applicable)

Writing an effective SEF with Perspective

Perspective platform screenshots
Building an effective SEF can be a worrying and complex process but this doesn’t have to be the case. Perspective is a school management and improvement toolkit which is revolutionising how schools complete and build their SEF. Perspective’s SEF module simplifies the task by offering the following features:

  • One-Click Judgements: Quickly make judgements on various aspects of your school’s performance.
  • Bite-Sized Questions: Utilise a series of optional, easy-to-understand questions that have been created by industry experts for colleagues to complete.
  • Comments and Feedback: Collaborate seamlessly by adding comments and feedback in real-time.
  • Secure Evidence Upload: Safely upload evidence to support your self-evaluation.
By incorporating Perspective into your SEF process, you can breathe a little easier when it comes to your next inspection as Ofsted will use this evidence as part of their overall judgement. Plus, by completing a SEF, you and your school will have gained such a detailed report revealing all your strengths and weaknesses which you can utilise in the future. Ready to unlock the power of SEF with Perspective? Book a Demo today and discover how Perspective can streamline your school’s self-evaluation and improvement journey.



Have an inspection fast approaching?

Look up an Ofsted Inspector with Watchsted
Watchsted is a free factual tool that shows the most recent inspection grades and reports from Ofsted in a way that’s quick and easy to view. It’s updated daily, meaning you’ve always got access to the most up-to-date picture of what is happening across Inspections in England. You can see and filter grades/data via our inspections map – showing you what grades schools are receiving up and down the country at the click of a button. The data and content presented are all in the public domain. We’re just making it easier for you to see, saving you valuable time.

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