Ten things not to do when your school is scheduled to be reviewed

Posted by Graham Norris on April 21, 2017

It’s hard to forget what we were doing when we received notification our school is going to be reviewed, isn’t it? That’s probably because, no matter how confident we are in what we are doing for our students every day, our natural instinct is to panic when we hear that the school reviewers are coming.

Here are some of the obstacles we’ve found can get in the way when schools are trying to show themselves in the best light in their school review reports. They certainly don’t apply to all schools, but are perhaps worth bearing in mind nevertheless.

1. Don’t prepare lots of new documentation for the review. Your school isn’t about documentation and neither are the reviewers. What really matters is how well your school can share the quality of its learning, teaching and students’ achievement, and show how improvement is being choreographed, using relevant evidence and interventions.
2. Don’t provide documentation without being able to explain what it means or shows. Assessment data and exam results are for you to show how well students are doing, where you want to target improvements, and the impact the school is having on students’ progress.
3. Don’t forget, it’s your quality assurance structures, self-evaluation and improvement planning that show how well you know your school. This is key evidence for reviewers in order to assess your school’s capacity to improve itself, and of course that’s a major outcome of a review.
4. Don’t underestimate your school’s performance or indeed overestimate it. Use benchmarks and published standards to gauge and describe your performance accurately, so that reviewers can see that you know your school inside out.
5. Don’t set up ‘prove us wrong’ challenges. It is far better to explain how you know how good your school is. This helps reviewers to be able to readily ‘prove you right’.
6. Don’t forget to help reviewers shape their learning/focus trails. This helps in providing them with first-hand experience of those improvements, which have had the most positive impact on student outcomes.
7. Don’t put on façades. Students know when things are changed just for the review. Many of them enjoy telling reviewers all about the new things that are put on for show. That’s not helpful to anyone.
8. Don’t forget that you are always ‘acclimatised’ for a review because you do the best for your students every day. Stick with what you know you are good at.
9. Don’t be reticent when finding out how things are going. Make sure your daily interactions with reviewers explore their views of emerging strengths, as well as any possible concerns. If you have to ask, then ask. Remember, a school review is a collaboration and is done ‘with’ you, not ‘to’ you.
10. Don’t forget to give feedback to reviewers. They also experience many of the emotions that you do and need the confidence to have an open professional dialogue with you.

Class Measures supports charter schools with independent, external evaluations of school effectiveness, identifying areas and solutions for school improvement. 

Visit our website to find out more: https://www.classmeasures.com/


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