School self-evaluation (SSE) is a collaborative, inclusive, reflective process of internal school review. During school self-evaluation the principal, deputy principal and teachers, under the direction of the board of management and the patron and in consultation with parents and students, engage in reflective enquiry on the work of the school.
It is an evidence-based approach which involves gathering information from a range of sources and making judgements with a view to bringing about improvements in students’ learning. Self-evaluation requires a school to address the following key questions with regard to an aspect or aspects of its work:
- How well are we doing?
- How do we know?
- How can we find out more?
- What are our strengths?
- What are our areas for improvement?
- How can we improve?
Circular 0039/2016 and the SSE Guidelines for Primary Schools give guidance to schools and boards of management on the requirements of the second cycle of SSE. These documents are available for download in SSE 2016 – 2020. Many boards of management have chosen to place School Self-Evaluation as a standing agenda item at all board meetings.
The School Self-Evaluation Report and School Improvement Plan
The primary focus of self-evaluation should not be on the written work. Nonetheless, schools should complete a concise school self-evaluation report and school improvement plan annually. The self-evaluation report and school improvement plan sets out clearly what needs to be done to further improve the work of the school.
A combined evaluation report and improvement plan template can be downloaded here.
Checklist for the Board of Management
Checklists to assist the school in reviewing whether it is meeting the requirements of relevant legislation and regulation, and whether it has all necessary policies in place, can be provided as appendices to the self-evaluation report and school improvement plan.
A checklist can be downloaded here.
Communicating to the School Community
The board should ensure that the school provides a summary of their self-evaluation report and the school improvement plan to the whole school community. This single document should be brief, clear, and meaningful.
A suggested template for a summary of a school’s self-evaluation report and improvement plan is available for download here.