Phil Denning, our District HMIe Inspector, gave a presentation this morning to our Head Teachers on the new school inspection process which came into effect at the beginning of this term.
The key change in the inspection model is indicated in the following extracts from the guidance to schools:
For a considerable period now, HMIE has taken increasing account of self–evaluation in its inspections. This is only right in a maturing system that places improvement through self?evaluation at its heart.
As a crucial part of the inspection, the team will engage with you and other members of staff to discuss the school’s use of self-evaluation.
From a personal perspective I’m delighted to see this shift towards a validation model where the starting point is one of partnership and trust – as opposed to how the inspection was previously perceived as an adversarial encounter where one side set out to “beat” the other. Now I never subscribed to that notion, but I know many who certainly felt that the HMIe “bogeyman” was out to get them and used the the HMIe as a threat to colleagues.
The new model depends upon schools being constantly up-to-date with their knowledge of themselves – again I’m delighted that we introduced Dynamic standards and quality reporting some time ago and the positive impact that this seems to have made on schools is borne out by the school inspection reports which we have received since that time.
The new inspection model allows and encourages schools to begin to take risks and innovate as it shifts from “accountability as blame”, towards “accountability as personal commitment“, where the starting point is one of professional trust.
I truly believe that this model of inspection has the potential to lift the lid off the capacity of schools to improve and meet the needs of children, our communities and our country.