Age range: 11-19
Number of pupils: 843
Self-review framework lead: Serle Frazer
Self-review framework completion: April 2006 with the ICT Mark assessment in June 2006

Ongoing self review, quality assurance and celebration of good practice and achievement are key aspects of Kesteven and Sleaford High School. Headteacher Alison Ross says,

“When the Becta self-review framework and the possibility of ICT Mark were brought to my attention, I immediately identified the synergy between this exciting ICT development and our whole-school approach to self-review and development. It obviously fitted naturally with what we already do and is so well aligned with Ofsted’s SEF [self-evaluation form] – we embraced the Becta self-review framework with real enthusiasm. I am quite sure that the process helped us with our subsequent Ofsted inspection.”

Prior to engaging with the framework, the school had invested significantly in ICT equipment, resources, staff training and management.

“The school had really moved forward quickly with ICT and the self-review framework gave us a wonderful opportunity to review what we had done, and to celebrate our achievements to date,” says ICT Systems Manager Serle Frazer.

“As we worked through it we not only readily identified areas of excellence which gave confidence to staff, but also noted areas for development which we might have overlooked without the help of the self-review framework. The whole process made a crucial contribution to the next iteration of our school development plan.”

The review process was led by Serle but involved the whole school. Staff including the senior leadership team, the head of ICT, subject leaders and teachers, worked together to provide the necessary evidence to support the review. In so doing, staff became really enthusiastic about the impact that ICT was having across the school and relished the opportunity to celebrate how they had embraced ICT effectively in their areas.

“It was a corporate effort which has led to sustained momentum for ICT,” says Alison.

Governors and parents were fully involved. An existing ICT Parents’ Working Group proved really valuable in testing the school’s aspirations for the future from a parental point of view, and in providing evidence of the real impact of ICT for the pupils.

One outcome of the review was that there is now a revised structure of management of ICT in the school. Element 1 of the self-review framework, Leadership and Management, significantly helped the school in its thinking about ICT leadership and the development of the next stage of the vision.

The school saw the review process leading seamlessly into a successful submission for the ICT Mark.

“It’s a natural progression,” says Alison. “Once the evidence is in place for the self-review framework, the ICT Mark process is easy. We take a pride in what we achieve as a school and the ICT Mark is an excellent independent way of signalling our achievements in ICT to the world at large.”

Reflecting on the two years since Becta’s self-review framework was first completed; the school sees the key benefits in terms of staff ownership of ICT and a sustained momentum for ICT development. There has been a knock-on benefit from the school publicly celebrating its achievements with ICT in that it is now engaged in international dialogue and research on ICT, is involved in the Becta Leading Leaders initiative and is in dialogue with the local authority on ICT issues.

For schools currently considering embarking on the Becta self-review framework, Kesteven and Sleaford High School offers the following advice:

•If you are leading the process, don’t try to do it on your own. Involve the whole school in a systematic way and consult as many people as possible.
•Along the way, ensure that staff feel valued about their contribution to success. This will help to sustain the momentum for ICT development in the longer term.
•At first sight of the self-review framework, there is a temptation to be daunted by the size of the task. But don’t worry – it really isn’t as bad as it looks. The framework is in fact very user friendly and the whole process is not onerous.
•Look on completing the self-review framework as a rewarding and enjoyable activity!
Effective use of ICT to support learning is a key priority for Kesteven and Sleaford High School. Becta’s self-review framework has made a significant contribution to its overall processes of self-review and has been crucial in celebrating achievement and planning for further development. “We are really glad we did it!” says Alison