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Completing a Department Self-Evaluation Form

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Self-Evaluation in secondary schools is a hot topic at the moment and many teachers have contacted us for further information. Members of the GA's Secondary Phase Committee have compiled a selection of materials providing advice and suggestions based on their own experiences. If you would like further information contact the Chair of the Secondary Phase Committee, Tom Biebrach.

Visit the Secondary Phase Committee page.

SEF: Basic Information

Following the shake-up of Ofsted procedures in September 2005, the School Self-Evaluation Form (SEF) has become a key part of the inspection process. While the SEF is a document covering the whole school, it has become common practice for departments to go through a process of self-evaluation and complete a department SEF, which is then used to inform the school self-evaluation document.

  • The SEF is intended to record the outcomes of your ongoing process of self-evaluation and can be filled in at any time
  • It should record strengths and weaknesses backed up by evidence and should highlight key areas for improvement
  • Ofsted inspectors will make considerable use of your SEF when arranging to visit your school
  • The impact of your SEF in helping to bring about improvement will be a major factor in the inspectors’ judgements about leadership and management and the school’s capacity to improve in the future.

The School SEF is divided into three parts, A: Self-Evaluation, B: Factual Information About Your School and C: Information About Compliance With Statutory Requirements. Individual departments only need to be concerned with part A. This is laid out in seven sections as per the evaluation schedule in the framework for the inspection of schools:

  1. Characteristics of your school
  2. Views of learners, parents/carers and other stakeholders
  3. Achievement and standards
  4. Personal development and well-being
  5. The quality of provision
  6. Leadership and management
  7. Overall effectiveness and efficiency

You need to think about each of these sections in the context of your department rather than the whole school when filling in the SEF.

Advice for the Geography Department

Below are seven documents created by the Secondary Phase Committee to help you complete your departmental SEF. Please note these are based on the opinions and experiences of committee members and are not intended as official guidelines.

Completing a SEF (63k)

note: this file requires Microsoft Word.

Useful tips for completing a SEF effectively including general advice and information specific to three main areas: Context, Achievement and Teaching.

Proforma (75k)

note: this file requires Microsoft Word.

A sample self-evaluation form for the geography department.

Key Questions (97k)

note: this file requires Microsoft Word.

The most important questions you should ask about your department when completing a SEF.

Exemplar Phrases (122k)

note: this file requires Microsoft Word.

Five pages of exemplar phrases for a geography department SEF.

Every Child Matters in Geography (52k)

note: this file requires Microsoft Word.

How geography contributes to the five ECM outcomes on the School SEF.

Changing Department Practice (52k)

note: this file requires Microsoft Word.

An example of the changes made by one geography department following completion of the School SEF.

High Sights Review (125k)

note: this file requires Microsoft Word.

The High Sights pack was produced to help departments complete reviews, plan for future developments and prepare their self-evaluation forms. This review gives a link to the publisher’s website which includes samples and an order form.

(Updated 17.08.09)

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