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Struggling with Self Evaluation


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#1 matthew

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 09:52 AM

Has anyone else struggled with their department SEF? There's a load of questions that seem to have nothing to do with our work in history ("To what extent do learners adopt healthy lifestyles?") and others that I have no idea how to answer or what evidence to use.

As the entire department has only been in post since September much of the evidence I could use refers to the work of different teachers.

Any advice/copies of completed form etc would be useful.

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#2 neil mcdonald

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 10:03 AM

The main thing to think about is this - the DEF is part of the school wide SEF therefore, not every subject will fill in all aspects. Do what you can. However you could be thinking it a little outside the box - a discussion about rationing in WW2 and a comparison of diets would fit the bill - but you have to have it identified where you do it so, don't make it up.
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#3 Nichola Boughey

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 12:26 PM

It does appear that every department in every school has a slightly different version of a SEF to fill in.

I have just completed mine and we did not have to refer to healthy lifestyles - instead were given 74 questions by the SMT to complete.

I have completed mine and the SMT seem happy - you are more than welcome to have a look at it - just PM me with your e-mail and I will send you a copy!

Hope this helps.

#4 Andrew Field

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 09:00 PM

The one SEF that matters is the whole school one that SMT / SLT have to fill in. (Plus you have to understand all the acronyms ;) )

If you are unsure of a particular issue or section, literally put that you are unsure - offer some suggestion / ideas as to what could be relevant but keep this to a sentence. Quite literally put that you don't know if you don't know. The SEF is meant to be a working document - "we will require some training and support to cover this issue.... etc. etc." is an ideal answer because it shows you have considered the issue but would like further clarification and ideas about it. This then helps inform your department's development and helps develop requests and justifications for backing for training and additional resources.


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#5 Nichola Boughey

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 09:31 PM

These were two documents that I used for completing the SEF.

The first one is a list of questions that school gave us to complete our SEF.

The second is the list of documents etc I have put into my Departmental SEF file - oh what fun my first half term as HOD has been!

Oh and if anyone has anything that they feel I need to add to SEF file then please chip in!

Attached Files



#6 JohnDClare

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 12:46 AM

Nichola's documentation is excellent because so honed.
My stuff was much more extensive, I'm afraid.

Principles
It was based around the idea that a SEF is about evaluation, not description.
When you ask a teacher how successful - say - their Special Needs work is, their immediate reaction is to list all the things they do with the SN pupils.
That isn't evaluation - it's description.
What you ought to be doing in a self-EVALUATION document is to say HOW WELL you do things ... to EVALUATE your performance as a department. The list of what you do with the SN pupils is, in a meaningful evaluation, irrelevant - what you need is some reliable performance indicators, against which you can measure/judge ... evaluate ... your performance.

Much of the official guidance on Dept SEFs seems to me simply to miss the point. Much of it, as far as I can make out, asks HoDs to make statements of facts, not evaluations of performance - even down to repeating factual data (e.g. exam results) which are recorded elsewhere already. Alternatively, they seem to ask HoDs to include targets and plans in with their SEFs. Thus most of the guidance I have seen - it seems to me - muddles up what should be the distinct and discrete functions of three departmental documents - the departmental handbook (which should describe 'what is'), the departmental SEF (to evaluate how good it is), and the departmental devlopment plan (to catalogue what you are going to do to get better).
Thus your SEF should be about EVALUATION ONLY. Anything else is a waste of time, and we don't have time to waste.

Process
So I started by putting out a position paper for thinking about, and for pre-discussion in departments.
Was it any use? I DO feel it was worthwhile discussing principles before we set about as departments filling in the forms, but actually, I suspect it was counter-productive.
It scared HoDs to death. I think it over-complicated things. I'm not even sure it generated positive discussion in departments.
I can send you it if you want to go through the same process with your department as I attempted in my own school but I haven't bothered to include it; everything that was felt to be of value was repeated in the later documentation.

Documentation
So, about a month later, I issued HoDs with:
1. 'Step-by-step' guidance notes - http://www.greenfiel..... guidance.doc - on how to complete their Dept SEF; it included not only step-by-step instructions, but all the key principles and prompt evaluative questions (performance indicators) from the earlier document. In contrast to the previous document, this worked well and was well-received by HoDs, who found that it made their task easier, and who quickly produced their SEFs using it. IF I HAD TO RECOMMEND ONE THING TO READ BEFORE YOU WROTE YOUR DEPT SEF, this would be it.
2. A pro-forma , which followed the guidance model, into which departments could insert the text of their SEFs.

Feel free to take or reject whatever, however you want.

#7 Nichola Boughey

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 02:01 PM

What I can also provide people with is a blank copy of the SEF form that I filled in - designed by the SMT I think.

I will happily send anyone who wants one a completed copy of my SEF - not willing to put it up for general scrutiny at the moment as it has very detailed statistics etc on it - as so many people helped me out with examples of their own over the last few months.

The Head emphasised to us that this is a working document and as such it was ok to not get it 100% right the first time.

I know that I will be making additions as I go.

What I will say is that I did schedule a meeting with my dept and sat down with the list of 74 questions I was given and literally brainstorm the answers and then I went and typed it up - don't shoulder all the responsibility yourself.

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#8 Joel Thorpe

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 03:25 PM

Not a lot that I can add to this except my SEF. I am not happy with it (as we were told to keep it to a page) and I really feel that the picture is no where near as good as the department is but hey ho!

I have removed the SEF, but I am more than willing to send it to all and sundry who PM me.

Edited by Joel Thorpe, 01 November 2006 - 08:23 AM.

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#9 Nichola Boughey

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 04:44 PM

Joel what your document certainly highlights is the huge variances in workload and demand that SMT put on departments when it comes to completing the SEF. If this is a document that OFSTED is supposed to judge us on - does my 10 page over the top one with 74 questions fit the description or your 2 page one more fit what they want?

Has anybody been OFSTEDED and had to hand a SEF in yet on the forum?

#10 Joel Thorpe

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 08:17 AM

Joel what your document certainly highlights is the huge variances in workload and demand that SMT put on departments when it comes to completing the SEF. If this is a document that OFSTED is supposed to judge us on - does my 10 page over the top one with 74 questions fit the description or your 2 page one more fit what they want?

Has anybody been OFSTEDED and had to hand a SEF in yet on the forum?


I know what you mean, when I asked if I could write more and really qualify what I had put I was told a firm "NO" and that meant that (as you can see) the SEF actually tells you very little about the department. When I pushed further the SMT here had very much the attitude that if you can't say what you want in a page then it's not really worth saying. They also made it clear that if I was not prepared to cut the document down then they would do it for me, a situation that I was far from happy with. Perhaps they just wanted to curtail their own workload.

I really feel that there needs to be some guide from the OFSTED bods to let us know the length that we should go to on the form. I realise that the blind copying out of tables is not really what is wanted, but as a new (reasonably, since Christmas last) HOD this is my first attempt at this and some more support from the school or OFSTED would have been nice. Although I must point out that all the other HOD's in the school are far from happy too!

Edited by Joel Thorpe, 31 October 2006 - 08:24 AM.

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#11 Lesley Ann

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 10:56 AM

I'm just updating my SEF form and I've been told I need to add a section on
How well does the department contribute to community cohesion?

From the Inspecting maintained schools’ duty to promote community cohesion: guidance for inspectors I found this:

‘What is community cohesion?
By community cohesion, we mean working towards a society in which there is a common vision and sense of belonging by all communities; a society in which the diversity of people’s backgrounds and circumstances is appreciated and valued; a society in which similar life opportunities are available to all; and a society in which strong and positive relationships exist and continue to be developed in the workplace, in schools and in the wider community .
Community from a school’s perspective

  • For schools, the term ‘community’ has a number of dimensions including:
  • the school community – the children and young people it serves, their parents, carers and families, the school’s staff and governing body, and community users of the school’s facilities and services
  • the community within which the school is located – the school in its geographical community and the people who live or work in that area. This applies not just to the immediate neighbourhood but also to the city or local authority area within which a school is located
  • the UK community – all schools are by definition part of this community
  • the global community – formed by EU and international links.





I've started the blurb for the section:
How well does the department contribute to community cohesion?
One of the key concepts that underpin the study of history includes 1.2 Cultural, ethnic and religious diversity. In order for students to deepen and broaden their knowledge, skills and understanding the Key stage 3 History programme of study addresses the diverse experiences and ideas, beliefs and attitudes of men, women and children in past societies and how these have shaped the world. Through the concept of diversity the students explore cultural, ethnic and religious diversity and racial equality. Diversity exists within and between groups due to cultural, ethnic, regional, linguistic, social, economic, technological, political and religious differences. Cultural understanding is developed in history through the range of groups and individuals investigated, for example minorities and majorities, European and non-European. People and societies involved in the same historical event may have different experiences and views and may develop a variety of stories, versions, opinions and interpretations of that event.


Looking at this as the definition should I just reference the new KS3 PoS on diversity, local, national and world history links?
Anyone else updating SEF...any pointers?
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#12 Rachel H

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 05:15 PM

I have included information from the new pos. Will upload my community cohesion bit when I get ro school tomorrow.
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#13 Rachel H

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 08:01 AM

Have PM'd you Lesley Ann
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#14 JohnP

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 02:05 PM

We ,Curriculum Managers, at our school are currently updating our SEFs in anticipation of an Ofsted visit.

The advice I have been given from SMT (for what it's worth)is that the SEF is an 'ongoing' document and should only contain information that draws the inspector towards the evidence. You should make brief statements on the document but be prepared to hand over the evidence if asked for it. It is in that spirit that we have written ours. The document is brief but informative.

I do have the sections available at school if anybody is struggling. Also - the guide quoted by JDC above is very useful in helping you to fill it in.

#15 Dan Moorhouse

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 07:41 PM

I'm doing some stuff for the HA on commuity cohesion. LA, you REALLY need not worry about it. Its all related to the citizenship stuff about tackling racism, extremism, terrorism etc so from a History perspective it could just point out the places where you identify 'terrorists' and discuss issues around this - that could be as simple as looking at Guy Fawkes and asking whether he was really such a bad bloke etc.... obviously over a KS there'll be more than that example and the thinking will be a tad deeper...

Also link it in with local diversity - for me its about ensuring that the History content reflects the local need to make the reasons for migration clear, both recent and historical... so BHM stuff and anything I do to illustrate the reasons for migration from Poland, Czech Republic etc.... is linked in.

The stuff I'm doing for the HA is in its VERY early stages.... will link to it once its finished and online.




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