Knowledge Banks


Home » Knowledge Banks » The SEF

To obtain this article

If you are a subscriber to any of our other publications your existing account details can be used to purchase this article. Simply login with your username and password when prompted.

For assistance and general enquiries, call our sales team on 0121 224 7599


What should we do with our SEF? Shall we continue using it, construct something new or not bother at all?


What you should be clear about is that the SEF hasn’t gone yet. The SEF will no longer be used from September 2011 but until then it remains a main feature of the inspection system. 


In the longer term the decision is up to you. After spending so long coming to terms with the SEF and making it tell your school’s story then it is likely that you will want to keep at least some aspects of it. Certainly you will need to have some kind of process of self-evaluation in order to support your school improvement process. 


Our manager’s briefcase provides some suggestions for how you might adapt your present SEF to better reflect your context and priorities. However, it’s now down to you how you develop your self-evaluation and school improvement process. It is likely that you will still want to keep a similar cycle of improvement:






Remember, school self-evaluation isn’t just about you, your staff and governors. It’s important that students and their parents have a say too. The current inspection framework places great emphasis on this. You might refer to the articles below for more information on how you might do this. 


We now know that Ofsted is up for inspection itself. It is currently under review and changes are imminent. It is likely that these changes will include greater ‘proportionality’ with outstanding schools being inspected less and those that are perceived as struggling, more. 


We also know that it is likely that inspections will focus on four principal areas:

1. The quality of teaching

2. The effectiveness of leadership

3. Pupils’ behaviour and safety

4. Pupils’ achievement 

Inspectors will also consider:

The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils at the school

The extent to which the education provided meets the needs of the range of pupils particularly those with a disability and those with SEN 


Inspectors will look closely at provision for different groups including:


Minority ethnic groups

Those eligible for FSM and the Pupil Premium

Looked after children 

Gifted and talented pupils 


So when you come to decide on what you include in your self-evaluation it is important that you maintain a key focus on these areas and that you have data and information about the performance and progress of these groups.


From September 2011 there will be a new evaluation schedule of some kind. You will need to be mindful of the contents of this when deciding upon the form your self-evaluation will take. 


During this period of change don’t take your eye off self-evaluation as an essential element in the campaign to help your pupils achieve the best that they can. 

Related Articles


Listening online to pupils’ views

With 'pupil voice' increasingly a priority, how can schools avoid tokenism and engage students in a genuine dialogue about issues that matter? SLT discovers one school’s secret weapon: blogging.

Five ways of listening

In the second of our two 'student voice' features Susan Millins and Joe Twyman outline a number of mechanisms that can give pupils a real say in the running of schools

Inclusion in Action: Joined-up thinking and development

Alison Ekins and Peter Grimes tackle the fundamental issue of how schools inclusively meet the needs of all their students. They argue for a more coherent approach to whole school evaluation and development, and provide a range of practical activities which can support this.

Meaningful self-evaluation

Graham Handscomb and Duncan Ramsey provide thinking and practical guidance on using reflective teaching as a fundamental part of professional development and explain the important contribution it has to make to school self-evaluation.
MS Word

Improving Performance Through School Self–Evaluation and Imp

This 37–page guidance on improving performance through school self–evaluation and improvement planning has been jointly produced by the DfES and Ofsted. The guidance suggests ways to manage the self–evaluation process without adding to the bureaucratic burden on schools. Folder: Leadership Briefings Issue 09
Unknown Type

Consultation on Ofsted changes

Click on this link to give your views

Adapting the SEF - a model

It has been announced that the SEF is to be phased out. What should schools replace it with? In most cases heads are saying that they want to adapt it to for their own context. Here is one suggestion.