Aim: To develop a new process of self-evaluation, commensurate with driving the College Improvement Plan, and a bespoke set of professional expectations and attributes for school staff.

Background: The school is in an area of significant social deprivation. Marsden Heights Community College was a recently constituted school and had, for three years, occupied two old buildings on a split site arrangement. The move into the new building in Easter 2010 was a fresh start and the leadership recognised a need to make professional expectations substantially more explicit.


Year 1: Faculty Self Evaluation Forms (SEFs) were reviewed and methods for data gathering to inform self-evaluation were discussed and new guidance produced (lesson observations, student voice, learning walks and data analysis, in line with the new Ofsted Framework). The new Teachers’ Standards were reviewed with the aim of translating these into clear, bespoke expectations. Whole college in-service training was undertaken to develop professional attributes in key areas (relationships with colleagues, personal behaviour, attitudes towards students and behaviour towards parents and the wider community). The aim became to develop the school’s interpretation of the standards through the ways in which they were applied, rather than in the ways in which they were defined.

Year 2: Revised area procedures, protocols and calendars for self-evaluation were developed, and these were trialled and developed in the Exploration Faculty (History, Geography and RE), Special Educational Needs and the Year 7 competency-based curriculum. The approach was more focused on the needs identified through consultation and collaboration with the area leaders, and a wider range of data gathering and evaluation strategies was used to track progresss.

Year 3: The focus was to develop a cohesive and workable quality assurance system that was robust yet flexible, and could be adapted to (and within) a continuously changing environment. A survey by middle leaders confirmed the disparity of practice between departments. A working group of three middle leaders was convened to design a set of expectations and protocols which would govern the work of the leadership group in support of middle leaders and their departments. Fortnightly line management meetings monitored progress and enabled swift response to departmental needs. Sharing departmental responses and issues promoted cross-departmental discussion about effective pedagogy and best practice.

Evidence: Feedback from external advisors, staff meetings, departmental SEFs, student voice

Impact: Most faculties completed an area SEF in accordance with the Tony Thornely (ASCL) model which provided a very good framework for self-review, linked directly to the Ofsted inspection framework. Staff CPD was better linked to their needs as identified through SEF. A higher level of professional dialogue was established in staff meetings about standards, quality and pedagogy, with better identification of barriers to student progress.

Reflections: As a Leadership Team we have probably improved in terms of our abilities, individually and collectively, to reflect upon how we approach change – particularly in a more strategic way – and define goals through consultation with others and involving key people in the processes at the various stages of development.  

Contact: Ian Adlington,