Schools that are outstanding or rapidly improving evaluate their own effectiveness accurately. They are reflective communities. The cycle of self-review is deeply embedded and engages all stakeholders.
Progress accelerates where self-evaluation is insightful. It identifies where progress has been made and it also identifies why. Improvement depends on leaders knowing how to capitalise on skills that already exist in the school. They make brave decisions to empower colleagues and bring about change.
Christian values offer a unique vehicle for evaluating how well schools shape the attitudes of students to their learning and to life in the wider community. Schools already recognise this potential but have been uncertain about the techniques they might employ.
This new section of the website is written in response to the growing demand for a self-evaluation tool that uses Christian values as a driver for school improvement.
Schools are currently navigating their way through a changing educational landscape. For church schools the review led by Priscilla Chadwick has made a timely entrance. It provides a clear evaluation of where church schools stand a decade on from the Dearing Report (The Way Ahead 2001) and its recommendations lay out a path through the challenges they face.
'The underlying assumptions behind curriculum content and delivery should be examined in the light of Christian theology.' 3.13
'At a time of educational change and challenge, the need to be unambiguous and explicit about the key characteristics of church schools becomes a priority.' 3.2
The report recognises the need for clarity in what a community can expect of its church school. It describes the promotion of a distinctively Christian vision of education as the responsibility of all within the system. 3.2. The evidence gathered as part of self-evaluation has greater credibility if it reflects the opinions of groups across the school. It carries even more weight if it is collected and evaluated by the pupils themselves.
Christian values offer adults and children essential vocabulary and a set of benchmarks against which they can assess their experience of school life. Here, in fact, is a vehicle for monitoring and evaluation that holds schools to account. 3.3
The report calls for a clear pedagogy for the curriculum 3.13 and a pilot study of well-being indicators relevant to church schools. 3.16. It recognises that the SIAS* framework offers clear criteria against which schools can assess their effectiveness and distinctiveness. Changes being made for 2013 will ensure it is strongly aligned with the Chadwick recommendations.
From its start, the Christian Values for Schools website has stood for a distinctively Christian understanding of values to shape all aspects of leading and learning. It never deviates from setting high expectations and raising aspirations. The website is well placed, therefore, to support church schools in responding to the demands of this next stage in their development.
*Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools
Outstanding leaders of church schools have certain characteristics in common. They show humility, vision and determination, always act with integrity and are willing to make courageous decisions. Where student leadership is taken seriously we see the same features emerging. As the recommendations of the Chadwick Review unfold, leaders of church schools will require these qualities in full measure.
The theological background to the values of integrity and courage, together with that of humility and service, may be explored by clicking on the links below.
This falls into three stages. (Learn more)
Strategic planning depends on accurate information about what is, or is not, currently working well. Too often it is based on ideas that are insufficiently rooted in reliable evidence. To identify exactly where action is needed requires listening to others, reflecting on their views and analysing what has been learned. This will happen most effectively when the listening and learning happens in the course of a range of well-chosen and imaginative activities. (Learn more)
Photography & Video
Debate & Discussion
Take a look at some inspiring examples of how schools have used
christian values to tackle self evaluation.
Early in the project we ran a professional development day for the project schools. This has been re-created here in order to provide support and guidance to those schools wishing to organise a similar day for themselves. Here you will find everything that is needed to plan your day.