Which SEO will be deployed to my school?
SEOs typically work with schools for two to three years, before being redeployed. This enables us to strike a balance between having enough time for an individual SEO to have a positive impact on a school over time, while allowing a fresh perspective on school improvement at regular intervals. All SEOs have experience as school leaders and are trained to support schools of all types and age ranges and are always up-to-date with emerging changes in the education sector. Additionally, SEOs are in the unique position of working with a wide range of schools and are able to share good practice from other settings.
Is the SEO like an Ofsted inspector?
No. While SEO visits may include some similar activities to those conducted during an Ofsted visit, and will evaluate aspects of school provision, this is intended to support and guide leaders, as part of ongoing school development rather than forming summary judgements. In LA maintained schools, SEOs and leaders will come to joint agreement throughout the year as to whether the school is likely to achieve “good” or better at their next inspection and adapt the support accordingly. SEOs do not give schools Ofsted judgements.
Do SEOs train my staff, or deliver sample lessons?
No. SEOs can work with key staff members e.g. through joint monitoring activities etc. However, they do not deliver whole-school training or classroom teaching. Responsibility for training and school improvement lies with the school leadership team; the SEO is a “critical friend” whom school leaders can work with for support and guidance but does not replace the role of any member of staff in the school.
Why is there a combination of virtual and on-site visits? Why doesn’t my SEO visit the school every time?
Our work with school leaders is flexible and agile to ensure the best format for our joint work is used- sometimes it may be agreed this should be on site, in the school, sometimes it may be agreed that this would be virtual. This is to make sure that school leaders’ time is used efficiently. In 2020, Suffolk County Council declared a state of “climate emergency” in response to the national and global crisis we currently face. Working virtually where appropriate is one way in which the council and our staff can reduce our carbon footprint for the environment, as well as being more flexible in terms of when visits can be arranged. In some cases, it may be more convenient for governors to attend virtual meetings also. However, we recognise that for many activities, there is no substitute for a face-to-face school visit, and so these will still form a regular and integral part of SEO support.
How are SEO visits documented?
The SEO will document the visit on the Rolling Record. This document captures an evaluation of the strengths and areas for development in the school, as discussed and agreed during the visit. The next steps agreed at each visit are also included and are followed-up on subsequent visits. Each time a visit takes place, the record is updated so school leaders can see the progression of visits over time. The rolling record will be uploaded to Perspective Lite. All schools are allocated a Perspective Lite account where LA visit records can be accessed at: Perspective (angelsolutions.co.uk). If you are unsure of how to access your Perspective Lite account, please contact Angel Solutions at: firstname.lastname@example.org
What happens if the school is not on track to achieve “good” or better at the next Ofsted inspection?
In LA maintained schools, where it is agreed that the school is not on track to achieve “good” or better at the next Ofsted inspection, the number of SEO visits to a school may increase. This is to enable leaders to access more targeted support. Where the pace of school improvement does not bring about the necessary changes, school leaders will receive intensive time-limited support to improve their school through the LA High Level Action process (See flow chart). This additional support is based on the role and responsibilities for Local Authorities in LA maintained schools as set out in the DfE School’s causing concern guidance (See document link). The LA does not have this role in academies which sits with the trust and the Regional Schools Commissioner.