Interesting to work at the moment with a new school refining its SEF before an imminent OFSTED inspection. The current OFSTED Framework has at its heart two key questions to address on inspection:

  1. what is it like to be a student at this school (quality of curriculum, quality of the experience, quality of safeguarding and care)?
  2. what is the impact of leaders (governance and professional) on making this student experience the best it can be (ambitious curriculum, safe and orderly environment, well-supported staff)?

Therefore, it is crucial that the SEF tells this story clearly for the inspection team, and provides a supportive framework for the Headteacher t in the pre-inspection phone call.

But of course, whilst the SEF might be one product of self-evaluation and have a particular role in the OFSTED process, we must build an ambitious culture in schools through which staff teams challenge themselves on the work they do and collaborate to create new and more effective practice. Self-evaluation must become an instinctive process at the heart of our curriculum planning and leadership development.