19 November, 2012- Minister Ruairí Quinn launches Guidelines on School Self-evaluation

“Self evaluation is vital for school improvement and development” – Minister Quinn

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., launched new school self-evaluation guidelines at Sion Hill College, Blackrock in Dublin today.

The School Self-Evaluation Guidelines will support schools to evaluate their own work and to set targets to improve teaching and learning. This will help to achieve the targets set out in the Programme for Government and in the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy, launched by the Minister last year.

Launching the Guidelines, Minister Quinn said, “We need a balanced and credible approach to quality assurance of schools that involves both external inspection and internal school self-evaluation. That is why I am introducing a new system of school self-evaluation for all schools.” 

Minister Quinn said that all effective organisations are constantly asking themselves searching questions about how well they are doing and how they can improve.

“Schools are no different,” said Minister Quinn, “That is why I want to put school leaders and teachers at the centre of developing a culture of quality and improvement in their schools.”

School self-evaluation gives principals and teachers more responsibility for the quality of what they do, said Minister Quinn.

“Teachers need to ask themselves searching questions, reflect on their teaching and get the views of students and parents about their work. This will help them to identify what they are doing well and what needs to improve. They can then plan carefully to bring about change and better outcomes for their students.”

The Minister announced formally that all schools would be required introduce self-evaluation in the school year 2012-13 and build capacity to evaluate their own work in the years ahead.

Over the next three years, schools are expected to evaluate and report on their work in literacy, numeracy and one other area. The process will involve schools in gathering information from a range of sources, analysing the data and identifying the strengths and areas for development and improvement. 

“The most important outcome of the self-evaluation will be a plan for improving aspects of the school’s work,” said Minister Quinn. “The real benefits will come when the school implements its own improvement plan.”

Schools will record their findings in a short school self-evaluation report and they will develop a three-year school improvement plan, which should contain specific and measurable targets for improving learners’ outcomes.

They will provide a summary of the school self-evaluation report and their school improvement plan to their communities.  

The introduction of school self-evaluation will complement significant improvements that have been made to the inspection of schools in recent years. Inspections are now more frequent and most are unannounced.

The School Self-Evaluation Guidelines issued today provide comprehensive information about the school self-evaluation process.

A range of other supports has also been developed to assist schools in their self-evaluation. These include An Introduction to School Self-Evaluation of Teaching and Learning, seminars for school principals delivered by the Department’s Professional Development Service for Teachers, and advisory visits to schools by the Inspectorate.

A dedicated website, www.schoolself-evaluation.ie has been developed to support the implementation of school self-evaluation.  These contain online supports including evaluation tools, presentations and short video clips.