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The SEF is no more. What monster will take it's place?

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by dusty67, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. dusty67

    dusty67 New commenter

    Just read the announcement on the DFE website that the SEF is to go in order to reduce the bureaucratic burden on teachers

    Makes me worried about what they will replace it with. My biggest concern is that with no SEF the only information Ofsted have to make preinspection judgments on is the published end of key stage data. Leading to inspections that are even more narrowly focused on attainment and standards then ever.

    In fact it seems to say this further down the report when it state that the Government is
    improving the quality of inspection by asking Ofsted to change their framework to focus on four principal areas: the quality of teaching, the effectiveness of leadership, pupils’ behaviour and safety, and pupils’ achievement.
    So all the other Every Child Matters seem to have disappeared.

    My other concern was this statement..

    This rolling programme will continue into the autumn as ministers engage with teachers and frontline staff on their plans to give them more power and remove the form-filling and bureaucracy that takes them away from the classroom.
    I've already heard that the government is no fan of PPA time and intends to repeal the legislation around it. I thought that was just gossip/ scaremongering but who knows.
    In my school, PPA time is invlauble in improving the quaility of teaching and as a Head I'd do everything I could to keep it.

    Interesting times ahead.

  2. dusty67

    dusty67 New commenter

    Mind you, there's no hope for my school if the Head can't even use the correct its!!! Or spell invaluable!

    It's looks like a category for Dusty Primary![​IMG]
  3. I shall be glad to see the SEF go because of the pressure that head teachers have felt under to complete it in a way that 'sells' their school to inspectors. Even with the new SEF, this pressure often led the production of long, wordy and time-consuming documents.
    I sometimes think the only pre-insepection judgements inspectors could really ever make from the SEF were whether, or not, the school had undertaken a self-analysis at all and how good the head teacher is at précis!
    The unfortunate thing about the demise of the SEF and the related Ofsted inspection schedule is that the schedule was quite a good summing up of the huge job that schools have to do. It recognised the complexity of a school as an organisation. With the quality of leadership being one of the four key areas under the new inspection regime, inspectors will still be looking for evidence of wide-ranging self-evaluation. Of course, this will be found in the various files and documents in the school. The trick will be how to summarise it all without every school producing their own version of "Son of SEF".
    My suggestion is to make some use of the current evaluation schedule. The schedule document is a cumbersome beast, but there is something which I believe to be more useful. The link below is to a version of the schedule, a template for self-evauation, that I produced a while ago that sets it out more clearly and has useful tick boxes (don't cringe) beside each evaluation statement. It is on the resources pages of this website.
    So, may I suggest to head teachers that they add no more to the SEF; that most schools already have an "actions, outcomes and next steps" document and that this should be maintained; and that they use my template for self-evaluation just as a checklist that they are covering the ground in their school improvement work and as a way of judging for themselves how well they are doing?
  4. dusty67

    dusty67 New commenter

    The unfortunate thing about the demise of the SEF and the related Ofsted inspection schedule is that the schedule was quite a good summing up of the huge job that schools have to do. It recognised the complexity of a school as an organisation.

    This is my concern. I've always seen the SEF as an opportunity to contexualise the data. At our last inspection (my first) on data alone(less than 55% Lv 4), our school looked like a dead cert for notice to improve. But the SEF allowed me to share the school's own evaluation that demonstrated that the Y6 data didn't reflect the rest of the school. Now don't get me wrong, the Lead Inspector didn't just say "Oh that's ok then" but the honesty and accuracy of the evaluation in the SEF certainly went in our favour through out the inspection and we came out as a 3. If that evaluation had not been available before the inspection, then much of the visit would have been spent going over old ground rather then looking at the present position.

    We were also "lucky" enough to have a monitoring visit last year, and again the evaluation shared prior to the visit meant that the current picture formed the focus and not being hung up on the past.
    Interestingly, on this occasion, our SEF wasn't up to date as I'd had a lot of bereavements in a short time. However, I don't do extra evaluation for the SEF, I just copy and paste the school's own evaluations into the relevant SEF boxes, so was able to send these documents to the Inspector.
    So the SEFgoing wont have such a massive impact our our Self Evaluation. What will change though (yet again) is the focus/emphasis of the Evaluation with the introduction of a new framework.

    Schools in England are to be judged on just four key areas in a shake-up of the inspection system, the government has said.
    Education Secretary Michael Gove says schools will no longer be rated on "peripheral issues" - understood to include pupils' well-being and schools' contribution to "community cohesion".
    Schools will be judged on quality of teaching; leadership; pupils' behaviour and safety; and their achievements.

  5. fairport

    fairport New commenter

    Having spent all day Thursday updating my SEF I wish they'd made the announcement earlier!!!
  6. CherylSalmon

    CherylSalmon New commenter

    Thanks, John, this looks very useful.
  7. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Don't hold your breath on it disappearing immediately. Like others, I habe grave concerns at the notion of entering an inspection without being able to state the school's case in advance - especially since inspectors these days use the data to make up their minds before they walk through the door.
  8. I'm going to keep mine up to date until something better comes my way.
    Better the devil you know and all that...
  9. Also....
    Not too sure how getting rid of SEF does that much to reduce the burden on class teachers.
  10. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    In secondary schools it's common for the departments to have to do a departmental SEF which is then fed into the whole school one; however, I think getting staff in departments to self-evaluate is part and parcel of what they should be doing and it shouldn't be a bureaucratic 'burden' in any sense.
    I think there's too much tendency to call anything teachers are asked to do 'paperwork' and 'bureaucracy'. I've always said the same thing about many tasks heads have to do, also. Moaning about it all is what has resulted in the situation everyone now complains bitterly about - unqualified people taking classes.
  11. In response to an enquiry, I have added to my resources on the TES website an example of a summary document showing actions, outcomes and next steps. It can be found with my other resources at:
    This resource has room for improvement, but it gives some useful ideas about describing impact in some of the 'non-data' areas of school improvement. I hope this is useful.
  12. dusty67

    dusty67 New commenter

    I agree with you on this one.

    I've had a teacher tell me that as he was no longer required to do any admin (thinking back to the 25 tasks a teacher can no longer be required to undertake) he wasn't entering his data and he certainly wasn't evaluating it.
    Another told me that as they had a right to be free from paperwork and bureacracy in order to achieve a decent worklife balance, she wasn't marking her books any more.
    Mind you the worst example I've found like this was the Head of a school where I was a parent govorner. He applied the 25 tasks not to be involved in to himself and made sure he had someone to type in all information requested of him. So when filling in the SEF, for example, he had one of the office staff sat at the PC typing whilst he dictated.
    The result, admin costs went up and contributed to a situation where a qualified teacher had to be made redundant.

    I have to say, the SEF its self doesn't cause me extra hours or paperwork because I just copy and paste the school's own evalautions into it. What does cause me additional work are the range of areas we are expected to evaluate. As a Head I feel my core purpose is to lead a school where children can achieve their best educationally and socially, so that they leave us equipped to be successful adults. I'd like to focus my evaluation on these areas not the massive range that are dictated to me
  13. Abolition of the SEF is no bad thing for Head Teachers who were expected to spend hours on writing them initially and updating them continuously. They have every reason to be elated as their time will be better spent elsewhere.
    Governors and Parents will still be informed via Head Teachers - this shouldn't change.
    Ofsted will be able to come in without any pre-conceived ideas and pictures and will be able to form their own opinions based on existing evidence and what acutally happens rather than what some SEFs say happens.
    We have all been here before......the wheel is being re-invented.... the empasis will be based on teaching and learning, leadership and behaviour and keeping children safe.....not on what type of bread the children have in their packed lunches!

  14. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    You're joking, surely?
    'Without any pre-conceived ideas' - you mean, they won't use the data to make a decision about the school any more? Unless you do some form of self-evaluation before Ofsted come, they'll have you on toast!
  15. I agree with Middlemarch, though the structure may change schools MUST continue to self evaluate and contextualise data. Data, facts and damn lies is what my father used to say, they can all be manipulated and misread.
    I for one will be continuing with my current approach to self evaluation though putting it to better use than updating one single document instead it and the time spared will be used to inform the staff and myself of ways to effectively move forward.
    Though thankfully my true relief comes from the reduction of sales calls I'll be getting from "consultants" and the sort on how to "help me create an outstanding SEF". Good riddance to them!
  16. See below your post, quite ironic really!!!!!!
  17. I agree the irony is thick enough to cut however my interest with this news story came from my use of this system for the purposes of updating and managing my School Development Plan.

    The joy being that through my own school priorities and focus on improving the school has, ever since, been contributing towards a central bank of self evaluation that can, at any time, be transformed to produce any self evaluation requirement such as the SEF.
    I'm a strange advocate however always happy to share the positive information I glean from my own contacts.


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