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Core Responsibilities (Primary): Planning for Improvement

Created on 03 November 2009 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 05 April 2013 by ncetm_administrator

It is vital to have a clear idea of where you are as a school/department, what your strengths are and what your areas for improvements need to be.

But this in-depth self-evaluation is not enough if it does not feed a well organised and documented development plan which is shared by the whole team and involves them in its operation.

It is also key to have the senior management of your school on your side in understanding your plans and acting as a support, guide and critical friend to help you drive your developments forward.

  • Have you been through a process to find out where your points for improvement need to be?
  • Have you a clear view of what you need to do?
  • Do you have the full backing of your senior management to undertake these developments?
  • Have you the resources to make these developments realistic and manageable?
  • Are all colleagues involved in the developments with you clear about what you want to achieve, how you are going to achieve it and do they know the part that they play in achieving it?
  • Have you a process for checking that you are on the right track and for monitoring and evaluating the progress you are making towards your stated goals.

This module will help you reflect on these questions. Here is a suggestion of how you might use the materials:

  • look through and discuss (with your line manager/senior leader and your teaching colleagues) the list of example statements (also available to download as a PDF) and decide which best fits your stage of development
  • use the ‘moving to the next level’ questions to identify the steps which will help you and your colleagues move to the next level
  • use the ‘Stories of change’ (reflections and thoughts from other fellow subject leaders explaining how they have worked on these issues) to form your own next steps
  • record your thoughts in your own learning journal and specific actions and developments in the policy to practice pro-forma. You may also wish to use your Personal Learning Space to record your own thoughts and reflections.


Self evaluation is not established as part of the improvement cycle within the school and is based purely on headline figures for standards (e.g. %L4+, %2B+).

 There is no Mathematics Improvement Plan or the Mathematics Improvement Plan that is in place is the result of a paper exercise that does not take account of or support the key priorities for action identified in the School Development Plan. The actions in the plan are not clear or well defined, do not have clearly identified staff responsible for the actions and have no success criteria. There has not been a recent audit of mathematics provision and professional development needs. The subject leader has begun to monitor teaching and learning but purely as a summative action, not to inform future plans.

There is no strategic link between SLT and the mathematics subject leader

Moving to the next level

If you are category 4:
  • Under what headings do you analyse your data?
  • Do you look at your attainment data to identify variations between groups?
  • What is working well in the teaching of mathematics?
  • Do you know, of the aspects that need developing which will have the biggest improvement impact?
  • Would an audit help to identify next steps?
  • What are the key themes of your School Improvement Plan and how will your mathematics improvement plan link to it?
  • In what way will the strands in your mathematics improvement plan result in a more positive mathematics experience for the learners?
  • Are the actions in your plan clear?
  • Can you identify all the actions in your plan that will need monitoring?
  • How will you check that the actions happen?
  • How will you know that you have been successful?
  • What will you do if you have not been successful?
  • How and when will you update SLT?

> Stories of Change


Self evaluation is an annual task for the subject leader. A broader range of evidence is used as part of self evaluation but it does not feed into improvement planning. Data analysis is heavily focused on standards (e.g. %L4+, %L2B+) and the variation between some groups of learners is analysed in more detail – e.g. %L4+ for boys, %L4+ for girls. Data is starting to be used to inform judgements across the school in order to improve standards of teaching and learning.

The Mathematics Improvement Plan is written by the subject leader in isolation and addresses some of the identified priorities in the School Development Plan. The actions in the plan are clear but focus mainly on administrative tasks. The success criteria relate mainly to the completion of isolated tasks and are largely quantitative. The subject leader is unaware of the range of monitoring tools available so often inappropriate tools are used to monitor actions making it harder to evaluate improvements. There is some evidence of evaluating the quality of provision.

SLT imposes a calendar of monitoring for the subject leader to carry out which takes no account of the identified priorities, and findings do not inform improvement planning. The subject leader occasionally updates SLT about completion of actions

Moving to the next level

If you are category 3:
  • How can assessment data be used to develop and raise standards of mathematics teaching and learning in the school?
  • How well do your pupils progress relative to prior attainment?
  • Do some groups of learners do better than others?
  • How do your standards and achievement compare with local and national data?
  • What evidence sources, other than data, could you use to evaluate the quality of provision?
  • To what extent are other colleagues involved in writing the mathematics school improvement plan?
  • Does the Mathematics Improvement Plan address the priorities of the School Development Plan?
  • What proportion of the plan is concerned with administrative tasks compared to actions which will have impact on practice?
  • What are the current initiatives in mathematics teaching and learning?
  • How can you identify the professional development needs of your colleagues?
  • How will you know that you have been successful? What will you expect to see happening in classrooms? What will you do if you have not been successful?
  • Are you using the most appropriate and effective tools to monitor actions?
  • How will SLT support you in delivering and monitoring the plan?
  • What is the difference between monitoring and evaluating the plan?

> Stories of change


Self evaluation is an important element of the school improvement cycle. A range of evidence is used to establish a picture of the current mathematics provision. Data analysis focuses on attainment and achievement, the variation between some groups of learners and comparisons with local and national data. The information gathered informs the improvement plan.

The Mathematics Improvement Plan is written by the subject leader having taken the views of other stakeholders into account. The plan balances the key themes of the School Development Plan and the vision for mathematics. Actions in the plan clearly articulate and offer support for changes in practice. The success criteria describe the desired impact, including both qualitative and quantitative measures. Key members of staff are involved in monitoring the plan and if necessary, the plan is adjusted to reflect the findings from the monitoring process. Teachers are supported to identify their own professional development needs and there are opportunities for professional development within the school community.

There is good communication between the Subject Leader and the Senior Leadership Team. Monitoring the plan is a regular discussion item of SLT meetings with the subject leader where constructive feedback informs and supports further development. SLT share National and local priorities with the subject leader in order to keep them up to date with developments.

Moving to the next level

If you are category 2:
  • Do all your pupils progress at the same rate relative to prior attainment?
  • Do assessment and data analysis identify areas of the mathematics curriculum which need improvement?
  • Is pupil voice used as an evidence source to inform your priorities for improvement?
  • Does the improvement plan capture the decisions that have been made as a result of self evaluation?
  • Is the provision for all learners effective and challenging?
  • Does mathematics have a high enough profile in the school improvement cycle?
  • How can the plan be used to inform the agenda for school meetings?
  • Are you addressing and developing appropriate current local and national initiatives?
  • To what extent is the professional development of your department a reflection of the department’s improvement priorities?
  • Which parts of the plan need specific monitoring? Which parts of the plan can be monitored as a continuous cycle of reflection and development?  Are other members of the school involved in its monitoring?
  • How will you know that you have been successful? What changes in teaching and learning would an external observer notice? What will you do if you have not been successful?
  • When meeting with SLT what is the ‘support’ versus ‘challenge’ ratio? 

> Stories of change


Self-evaluation is undertaken as an integral part of the school improvement cycle. Different types of evidence, including pupil voice, establish an accurate picture of the current mathematics provision. Data analysis focuses on progress and attainment, the variation between groups of learners, trends over time and comparisons with similar schools and national data. The information gathered informs the improvement plan.

The mathematics improvement plan is written collaboratively by the subject leader and SLT and demonstrates a clear vision and direction. Potential development strands are prioritised to produce an achievable yet challenging plan. The success criteria vividly describe the desired impact. All members of the school are fully involved in monitoring the plan and other stakeholders are invited to monitor/ evaluate aspects of the plan. The plan informs the agenda for school meetings throughout the year, is reflected upon and forms a part of a process of ongoing CPD which includes a recognition and celebration of success.

There is a commitment by SLT to support the Subject Leader with driving improvements in mathematics and an expectation that this will be done pro-actively. Planned meetings encourage a supportive, yet challenging dialogue between the mathematics subject leader and the SLT. Regular contact with SLT ensures that monitoring, evaluation and review of the improvement plan is effective.

Moving to the next level

If you are category 1:
  • How does the guidance within Ofsted’s evaluation schedule inform your judgements and planning?
  • How does the school’s vision influence the improvement plan?
  • If an outsider saw mathematics being taught what would they see that reflects your school’s priorities and/or vision?
  • How do your standards and achievement compare with schools of similar contexts? Is it worth visiting one of these schools?
  • How might you involve a range of stakeholders and external partners in the monitoring and evaluation of the plan?
  • What external stimuli might you use to further your vision/ suggest alternative ways of working?
  • Are there any aspects of your good practice you can share within local networks?

> Stories of change

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27 April 2010 15:09
I need to look at walton samuels and see how it helps us scrutinise levels and progress and how we could develop this further. To make self-evaluation more part of our circle.
By kaz9840
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