Overview: What is SSE?

School self-evaluation empowers our school community in St Brigid’s Girls’ NS to identify and affirm good practice, and to identify and take action on areas that merit improvement. School self-evaluation is primarily about schools taking ownership of their own development and improvement. School self-evaluation was formally introduced into the Irish school system in 2012 as a collaborative, reflective process of internal school review, focused on school improvement.

School self-evaluation is a collaborative, inclusive, reflective process of internal school review.

During school self-evaluation the principal and teachers, under the direction of the board of management and the patron and in consultation with parents and students, engage in reflective enquiry on the work of the school.

It is an evidence-based approach which involves gathering information from a range of sources and making judgements with a view to bringing about improvements in students’ learning.

Self-evaluation requires a school to address the following key questions with regards to an aspect or aspects of its work:

  • How well are we doing?
  • How do we know?
  • How can we find out more?
  • What are our strengths?
  • What are our areas for improvement?
  • How can we improve?

The Six-Stage approach:

The first three steps of the framework outline the investigation phase of the process. This stage can be used for scoping out and developing the improvement plan and preparing for its implementation.

The school self-evaluation process begins with the identification of an area for focus and inquiry through teachers’ own understanding and knowledge of their school context. This is followed by the gathering of evidence with regard to the area chosen. The evidence is then analysed and judgments are made regarding the school’s current strengths and areas for improvement.

The next step ensures that schools retain a record of the evaluation and describe the actions for improvement. This takes place during, or at the end of, the investigation phase. The resulting school self-evaluation report and improvement plan is shared with the school community.

The improvement plan is then put into action and is monitored and evaluated over the course of its three-year implementation until practice becomes embedded. The cycle can then begin again, focusing on either a new area which has been identified, or returning to the same area to seek further, deeper improvement.