Frequently asked questions
The national resource: evaluation and improvement, is a practical resource to help you improve your school. It has been created with schools, for schools and it has learners’ progress and well-being at its heart.
The first version of the the national resource will be available to schools to pilot from November 2021.
No, the resource is optional. We hope that the practical guidance and support provided within, along with the cultural aspirations it promotes for the education system in Wales, will encourage schools to take advantage of what it offers.
The resource is a menu for schools to choose from to meet their evaluation and improvement needs. Schools are likely to use the resource in different ways or access different elements of the resource depending on their unique context and needs.
Resources are included next to the relevant guidance and prompts on the website. Please look for the relevant hyperlinks on the pages.
The case studies of evaluation and improvement work within the resource are examples of how schools have identified and/or addressed issues that were specific to them at a particular point in time.
Other schools might consider adopting or adapting these approaches to their unique context and needs.
Over time, the whole school community should have the opportunity to contribute to different aspects of a school’s evaluation and improvement work.
How this works in practice depends on the specific type and purpose of activity. For example, if the purpose of the evaluation is to improve a whole-school issue such as reading, then the whole school community including learners, parents, teachers, support staff and governors could be involved.
However, if the aim is to improve aspects of teaching with an individual or a small group of teachers, the process is only likely to need people directly involved.
Self-evaluation work is part of a school’s improvement strategy. It enables schools to identify and prioritise areas for improvement.
It is also important for schools to keep improvement work under review while it is taking place and afterwards, for example by using the range of approaches set out within the resource.
It is not always possible or desirable to use quantitative data to support evaluation work. However, data can be extremely useful for example in identifying trends in attendance or academic performance.
It is important to remember that data does not tell the full story by itself. It should be used proportionately alongside other information such as learners’ work and lessons over time, to identify strengths and areas for development.
There is no set formula for a school’s evaluation and improvement cycle.
Different types of evaluation and improvement work will take place at different times and at different speeds depending on the type of work needed and the specific context of the school.
The resource has enormous potential to support professional learning at individual practitioner, whole school, cluster, regional and national levels.
By supporting schools to identify what they do well and what they need to improve and through its online presence, the resource provides a platform for collaboration and sharing, drawing on the experience and expertise of others to extend professional skills or to address areas for professional development.
The national resource is central to Education in Wales: Our National Mission. It also aligns directly with:
- The non-statutory school improvement guidance.
- Professional standards for teaching and leadership.
- A curriculum for Wales.
- Schools as learning organisations.
- The professional learning journey.
- The National professional enquiry project.
The resource contains practical guidance to support schools to evaluate the effectiveness of the current curriculum offer as well as providing support and guidance to help schools move towards and implement the new purpose driven curriculum for Wales.
A range of playlists produced as part of the Professional Learning Journey exemplify how schools from across Wales have set about planning for and working towards a Curriculum for Wales.
There is a close match between the content and cultural aspirations of the resource and Estyn’s inspection framework. Estyn has played a prominent role in developing the resource and fully endorses its ambition, principles and content.
However, it should be remembered that the resource is not intended to support schools to produce work for external audiences such as Estyn.
Welsh Government expects all schools to have a documented school improvement plan. It is a matter for schools to decide what evaluation documentation they generate and use.
The key principle is that any documentation should be useful in supporting the school to identify and meet its own evaluation and improvement needs and not be produced solely for an external audience.
The resource will evolve over time to ensure that it remains relevant and effective in supporting school improvement.
The approaches and resources will be kept under regular review. New resources that support evaluation and improvement will be added as and when they become available.