Parallel Session I: The 25 Characteristics of High-Performing Schools
The 25 Characteristics of High-Performing Schools – A School-led Improvement System
In order to find an answer to the question “What makes an effective school?” EES for Schools worked during 2014-15 with leading academic Professor David Hawker and a number of outstanding headteachers on a comprehensive review of the international evidence base into high-performing schools and systems. Our findings from the nine month review were captured in the School Effectiveness Research Executive Summary we published two years ago.
The research uncovered a set of 25 key characteristics that, together, define a high-performing school. These 25 characteristics are in effect the DNA of school effectiveness. They include characteristics such as “leadership of learning”, “performance management” and “formative assessment and feedback”. Together, they provide a clear, evidence-based framework for understanding what makes a school effective. We developed an investment case and secured funds for the development and productisation of these insights into a unique new school improvement system called School Effectiveness+.
School Effectiveness+ (SE+) supports a school-led improvement system, allowing schools to evaluate themselves, identify their strengths and weaknesses, prioritise improvements, benchmark against other schools, work collaboratively, deliver good outcomes and evidence progress to Ofsted.
SE+ enables the senior leadership team to carry out a comprehensive evaluation of the school in one single diagnostic process. School self-assessment is combined with the views of pupils, parents, staff and governors which are electronically gathered and analysed. The result is a detailed ‘Maturity Profile’ which identifies the school’s strengths and priorities for development. The resulting analysis can automatically populate a School Development Plan and be presented as an electronic Self Evaluation Form (SEF) organised under the current Ofsted schedule headings.
Schools in Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) or clusters can also benchmark and compare performance with partner schools, leading to enhanced collaborative improvement work within a common framework.
Over 300 primary and middle phase schools nationally are currently using the EES for Schools SE+ approach at the core of their school improvement work and the approach is already making a difference. 50% of schools involved in both the pilots who have subsequently been inspected have moved up a grade and 97% of schools believe the impact of SE+ on educational outcomes to be good or better. The impact that SE+ is having has also been recognised by Education Investor who selected it for the 2016 School Improvement Service award. It has also been shortlisted as a finalist for a number of other prestigious awards.