The Self-review Framework (SRF) is an online tool that provides a structure for reviewing your school’s use of technology and its impact on school improvement. It is available to all maintained and independent schools and academies both in the UK and internationally. The purpose of the Self-review Framework is to support school improvement through a reflective practice that allows schools to measure and improve their provision against a well-researched and evidenced set of criteria such that students become digitally literate and are, ‘able to use and express themselves and develop their ideas through information and communications technology’.
The six main elements of the framework include the following:
- Leadership and Management. This is to highlight what the school’s overall vision is and how they will use digital technologies to enhance teaching and learning in their school, as well as how it is understood and embraced by the school’s staff and governors.
- Curriculum Planning. This relates to the strategic use of data and the approaches to the use of enabling technologies in the curriculum. It includes planning for digital capability with a wide range of high-quality experiences across the whole curriculum.
- Teaching and Learning. This part of the framework looks at the extent of technology enabled learning taking place in school and in the physical and virtual extended school and encourages ongoing critical evaluation.
- Assessment of ICT Capability. Here, the framework looks at assessment, recording and reporting of digital capability, dialogue with students and self and peer assessment.
- Professional Development. This looks at developing and sharing digital capability, identifying and meeting the school’s needs. It also looks at developing e-safety practices.
- Resources. Considers the management of ICT resources and the procurement of resources and services.
The framework is very beneficial and is there to help schools to develop a clear vision of which technologies will be right for them. It helps to audit their current provision and highlights how technologies could be implemented across the school. Once their evaluation is complete, schools will be able to consider the areas that could be included in an improvement plan. I suggest that schools introduce a long term process plan or a three year rolling cycle of improvement, rather than look at their technological needs on a year by year basis. Use the SRF as an evaluative tool to find out the areas you need to improve upon and it will give you a good indication as to what your needs are and how they can be met.
In terms of the areas the SRF covers, there is a strong focus on e-safety, the curriculum, and on the leadership and management capabilities essential to the effective use of new technologies. The SRF does not just focus on computing the subject but seeks to encompass the wider area technology enabled learning as a whole.
Engaging and understanding the new computing curriculum is a must, but using technology effectively to enable and enhance learning is a crucial part of the Naace mission and an ideal shared by many switched on school leaders, parents and other school stakeholders. It is not just about the classroom side of things but it is also the administrative areas and other aspects of technology in the school.
Applying to obtain a Naace ICT Mark accreditation is another recommendation I would suggest and a natural extension to committing to the use of the SRF. When a school assesses itself to be at a threshold level 2 across the elements of the SRF it can hold this assessment up for external verification and potentially receive the Naace ICT Mark Award. It is a well-recognised accreditation, provided by Naace, and well received in inspections as evidence of effective practice in computing and the use of technology across the school. It is also a good way to benchmark yourself against schools across the country and is valid for three years from the date that the award is confirmed. It does not come at a huge cost and it is certainly worth the investment.
Naace also provides the 3rd Millennium Learning Award which can be the next stage after receiving a Naace ICT Mark Award or, indeed, an alternative way of bringing focus to the holistic development of your school. The aim of the 3rd Millennium Learning Award is to enable schools to demonstrate how they are providing an education fit for the 21st century.
Students today want to use technology to help them with their studies and to take ownership of their own learning, so we need to be able to provide these tools to help them to become better students and to support teachers with the many technological advancements, curriculum changes so they can provide inspiring and interesting lessons.
Taken together these three tools the SRF, the Naace ICT Mark and the 3rd Millennium Learning Award “should be an essential component within the kit bag of school leaders who are passionate about using technology effectively to improve outcomes for young people” says Mark Chambers CEO of Naace, “it’s fine taking an imaginative leap or adopting a flagship initiative that you may have seen at another school but, each of these steps involves the school leader in “risk”; drawing on the solid evidence of a school self review supported by the input of an external critical friend helps greatly in the process of managing that risk and are activities highly recommended to all schools.”