The Director of Education, Geoff Moorcroft, says that the rigour of quality assurance of schools in the Isle of Man is improving education for pupils.
Mr Moorcroft was speaking as seven primary schools and one secondary school – Anagh Coar, Ballakermeen, Ballasalla, Foxdale, Kewaigue, Manor Park, St Mary’s, and Willaston – shared with parents the comments from an external validation of their School Self Review and Evaluation (SSRE).
Mr Moorcroft said:
'All schools in the Isle of Man are required to evaluate themselves against a quality assurance framework, which has been recently revised. The framework requires them to make judgements about the attainment and achievement of pupils, but also includes an evaluation of pupils’ personal development, of the leadership of the school and the quality of teaching, amongst other things.
'This process requires schools to evaluate what they are doing well and where they need to improve. Schools consider aspects of their work, judging them on a scale from ‘not yet effective - urgent action required’ through to ‘inspirational’. It allows schools in the Isle of Man to be aspirational for their pupils.
'Reviewing the framework, as we do regularly, allows us to keep abreast of any recent educational developments and ensure education is meeting the needs of the economy, wider society and equipping pupils with the skills they need in adult life.
'As part of the process, over a three-year cycle, all schools receive an external validation of their own evaluation to ensure that judgements are accurate, evidence is robust and the school is in a good position to improve.
'The validation either confirms a school’s judgements or helps it re-evaluate them – perhaps finding, for example, that a school has been overly self-critical or that it doesn’t quite yet have the evidence to support a judgement.
'The visits typically include a series of activities – a tour of the school, lesson observations, meetings with parents, pupils, staff, looking at documentation etc.
'This process ensures that staff in schools are equipped with the skills and knowledge to improve educational provision for children and young people on a continual basis.
'Any areas for improvement are included in schools’ improvement plans and are supported by the schools’ improvement advisers.'
The company leading the validations – ‘Graham Reeves Ltd’ – employs experienced school leaders who ensure objectivity and rigour, with regard to external validation judgements. These colleagues have the final say about any disagreements during the process.
The first SSRE cycle took place from 2008 to 2011, the second from 2013 to 2016 and the current cycle commenced in December 2017.