One of the tasks we need to complete this week is the Service Improvement Plan update. This is the document which provides guidance to schools about any priorities they should be including in their own School Development Plan.
Our Service Improvement Plan covers a three-year timespan and uses the National Priorities as a scaffold to give our plan some sort of coherence and shape.
However, it struck us today that the National Priorities are perhaps not the best way to present our plan – particularly given Journey to Excellence and the revamped version of How Good is Our School?
As Graham Donaldson, HM Chief Inspector of Schools, wrote just last month in the foreword to the third version of HGiOS?:
“The set of quality indicators continue to provide the core tool for self-evaluation for all schools, but they are now complemented by the very useful materials in other parts of The Journey to Excellence series.”
I think this gives a strong clue as to the most appropriate route to take in relation to linking planning and evaluation – i.e. use the ten dimensions identified in the Journey to Excellence as a planning framework – and HGIOS? as the evaluation template. This is not to say that we ignore the National Priorities but just that these are now embedded within the other two documents.
We’ve hopefully have moved a long way towards promoting a strong self-evaluation culture in our schools and authority but we need to develop a framework for planning which gives schools enough flexibility to address their own specific needs whilst ensuring consistency of approach across East Lothian. Hopefully our ideas will enable there to be a clear and coherent link between the planning framework and the self-evaluation framework – which is not currently the case.