Section 9 Improvement Through Self-Evaluation

Evaluating the extent to which providers meet the needs of all children including those with additional support needs, and remain open to improving their practice, is an essential task. Schools and services need to know what positive difference they are making to the lives and the future options of all children and young people. They need to know how to continuously improve their practice and provision for all children and young people including those with additional support needs. In relation to self-evaluation, How Good Is Our School 4 lists the following as features of highly effective practice:
  • Self-evaluation is integral to how we work within our community and is an ongoing feature of school life.
  • All staff, pupils, parents and partners are fully involved in improving the life and work of the school.
  • The whole school community has a shared understanding of the strengths and improvement needs of the school.
  • Across the year, there is focused attention on monitoring and evaluating learning and teaching and children’s achievements, and to taking improvements forward.
  • Staff work effectively as a team. There is a strong ethos of sharing practice, and of peer support and challenge.
  • A range of stakeholders take lead roles in aspects of school improvement. This includes children and young people, parents and partners.
  • Documentation is sufficiently detailed, evaluative and has a clear purpose.
  • Professional learning activities for all staff are clearly linked to the results of self-evaluation and identified areas for improvement.
  • All staff understand the need to be outward and forward-looking in their evaluation and improvement activities.
  • Staff make effective use of up-to-date research/data from Scotland and beyond to inform their learning and developments.
  • Teachers use a range of different assessments to measure children’s progress across the curriculum. They work effectively with colleagues across the learning community to moderate standards.
  • There is evidence that children and young people are confidently engaged in reviewing their own learning and the work of the school.
  • Parents have regular opportunities to support improvement by participating in a range of formal and informal activities.
The views and opinions of children and young people about how well they are being included and engaged with, form a key component of effective self-evaluation. Equally important are the views of parents and carers in terms of their involvement in decision making as well as their level of satisfaction with provision. The self-evaluation guidance which is included at the end of each section in Part 2 of this Manual provides prompts in relation to how well key aspects of services are delivered in partnership and contribute to meeting the needs of all children and young people, including those with additional support needs. The guidance emphasises the underlying principle of GIRFEC whereby practitioners co-operate and collaborate to improve the wellbeing and life chances of all children and young people and develop the four capacities of Curriculum for Excellence. This link will take you to guidance and advice on Aberdeenshire’s GIRFEC Guidance and Operational documentation. At the end of each section of Part 2 of the Manual are Prompts for Reflection. These allow practitioners and managers to reflect on particular aspects of partnership practice in relation to additional support needs. Reflection without action is not self-evaluation. Practitioners and managers should identify their strengths and take action to improve development needs. In addition schools and their partners can take account of this link to the Education Scotland document HGIOS 4. This link takes you to the Education Scotland Supporting Learners – Self-reflection resource. Early Years practitioners will take full account of Child at the Centre. Social workers will refer to National Care Standards and the Care Commission’s Quality Assurance Framework. Community and Youth workers will also refer to the Community Learning and Development framework. Taking full account of the self-evaluation guidance in this Manual should not be seen as an additional chore, but is the responsibility of all and is an integral support to schools and services in their search for what constitutes best integrated practice across key areas of additional support needs, as well as suggestions about how, together, they can engage in continuous improvement. The Aberdeenshire Quality Improvement Framework is currently under review.

Prompts for Reflection

How well do the school and its partners undertake self-evaluation in relation to additional support for learning?
Best Practice What is the Impact?
Senior Managers across all services support their staff to be reflective and open about how to improve integrated practice. The range of relevant, regular inter-agency meetings are purposeful, solution focused and open to suggested improvement, and involves parents as appropriate. Senior Managers have ensured their staff have a clear understanding of the implications of the 2009 ASL Act, GIRFEC and other relevant legislation. There is openness for colleagues from health, social work and education to carry out peer observation across services as part of the self-evaluation process. Improvement plan/s, pay attention to matters which improve how the school and partners, including parents and young people, meet additional support needs. The school works with its partners to develop a shared culture of reflection and all are committed to improving their practice in relation to meeting additional support needs (QI 1.1) School staff and their partners learn from each other’s practice how best to meet needs of all children and young people (QI 2.7) Working relationships across all services continuously improve as they share evaluations and plan improvement (QI 2.7, 3.2 ) The needs of all children and young people are effectively met because of excellent integrated working (QI 2.4, 3.1)  
Formal audits of quality or provision are undertaken with parents. Children’s voices are heard through formal forums as well as the school having a culture which ensures children and young people, particularly the most vulnerable, feel confident to speak out. Relationships with parents are positive because they are confident in the school’s ability to work in partnership to meet the needs of their children (QI 2.5, 2.7)Children are encouraged to be effective contributors and feel confident they can help the school and services to make positive changes (QI 1.2)
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