Self Evaluation in RE
What is the role of the subject leader in self-evaluation?
As a subject leader, you need to know not just how pupils are doing in RE in your own classroom but also across the whole school. You need to know how well whole school and subject specific policies and procedures are working.
So what is the overall picture of RE in your school? Can you follow a trail from your work in leading and managing your department through the provision for RE in your school to clearly identifiable outcomes for pupils?
In order to form this picture in your mind, you must be able to answer the following questions:
1. What are the key features of the outcomes for pupils? – Which areas of achievement and personal development need to be improved? What are the strengths?
2. Given the outcomes, which aspects of provision are having the biggest impact on strengths and weaknesses?
3. Which aspect of leadership and management is likely to have the biggest impact on improving the provision?
In order to get a fix on this, you must be engaged in monitoring – in other words:
1. Identifying trends in performance
2. Making sure the policies, schemes of work and practices you have agreed are being followed
3. Checking how far students and teachers are moving towards their targets
4. Making sure that you have a clear picture about the quality of the provision
Monitoring activities might include:
- 'Learning walks' – this document (from the National Primary Strategy) gives a useful starting point and could be adapted effectively for use in a secondary school context
- formal and informal lesson observations – including peer and paired observation - example from a secondary school context
- analysing performance data
- work-sampling or scrutiny both formal with a group of subject teachers and by sampling pupils work in class during a lesson.
- making a log of the continuing professional development (CPD) targets and activities of staff
- reviewing assessment, recording and reporting policies and procedures
- taking account of the views of pupils, all staff as well as parents and carers
- interviewing a sample of pupils on their experience of RE or completing a questionnaire (www.surverymonkey.com)
- a local authority or consultant review of the work in Religious Education Having carried out your monitoring, you must then make an evaluative judgement about:
- how well pupils are making progress
- the effectiveness of teaching, assessment, the curriculum, policies, schemes of work and systems in achieving the best outcomes for pupils
- the strengths and weaknesses of the subject work in the context of the whole school and its community
- how staff are performing in relation to pupils’ Religious Education, including non-teaching staff
Evaluative judgements must:
- identify strengths and areas for improvement
- be succinct providing a summary of the work in a particular area
- be based on sound and up to date evidence
- focus on the impact of policies and procedures on pupil outcomes
- gauge effectiveness and efficiency
- include a grading as follows:
- Grade 1: outstanding
- Grade 2: good
- Grade 3: satisfactory
- Grade 4: inadequate
The third step is to decide what you need to do to secure improvements and to construct a reasonable plan to achieve them. This would include:
- deciding on targets and priorities within a realistic vision for the subject
- calculating the support and resources that are needed
- planning the steps to success for your planned improvements
Improvement planning might include:
- collaborative activities at a staff or departmental meeting
- asking individuals to draft a specific section of the plan
- discussions at a pupil forum or school council
- finalising a development / improvement plan either as an element of a whole school improvement plan (commonly in a primary school) or as a subject specific improvement plan within the context of a school improvement plan (commonly in a secondary school or college)