Working with Independent School Review
Introduction and overview of Independent School Review features The options and benefits of scoring management practice
Help, advice and guidance Managing performance using balanced scorecard principles
The self-evaluation structure Outputs from the Balanced Scorecard feature
Department self-evaluation and improvement Strategic analysis using S.W.O.T. principles
Collated self-evaluation and improvement options at school level


Department self-evaluation and improvement action plans


Initially, it is expected that the majority of schools will use Independent School Review (ISR) to initiate, or improve the management of self-evaluation and improvement in departments.

This process will use appropriate workbooks, in MS Word, to identify and record self-evaluation information. This information can be summarised by the Head if Department to create, what is in effect a self-evaluation report.

The information can then be transferred to the software where improvement action points can be identified and action plans compiled. These action plans can be monitored over time with reports being produced.

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The workbooks are accessed either by clicking the Text button on the QuickStart screen or by clicking Help>View Workbooks on the main menu bar.

The range of workbooks includes relevant quality statements in either boarding or day only terminology for academic or non-academic departments or Department/ House Management of the school as a whole. Workbooks should be selected and saved, under appropriate file names, as required.

Department teams should debate the quality statements by the groups set out. This will avoid repetitious debate. Strengths, evidence, improvements in the last 12 months, further areas for improvement and summary comments should be entered in the appropriate text box.

All workbooks are in MS Word table format and the text boxes are coloured to help ensure that text is put in the correct box

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There is space at the start of each section for the author to summarise the position for each section. It is possible, therefore, to use the workbooks at department level as a framework to compile a well thought through self-evaluation report with full team involvement

Self-evaluation reports in this format can be produced for academic departments, non academic departments and, for boarding schools, houses. There is no need at this stage to use the ISR software, only MS Word using the workbook templates.

Each workbook has a column where the short heading of the stated quality statement is listed with an asterisk. Other, possibly relevant, quality statements may be listed without an asterisk. If, in debate, it is identified that the self-evaluation information noted is relevant to one, or more, quality statements an asterisk should be added.

The purpose of the asterisks is to support the Import Workbook Text feature in the software which can be used to transfer text from workbooks into the 'Notepads' of quality statements in a software file at the click of a mouse.


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To reach this stage in the Department self-evaluation and improvement process Departments will only have to have used the Workbooks in MS Word format. To move to the next stage the Independent School Review (ISR) 'champion' in the school will need to introduce the full ISR software for the Department's use.

The first task is to save a department file in the ISR software and transfer the self-evaluation text from the workbook. using the feature located at File>Import Workbook Text.

In the scoring screens for the quality statements the text that has been transferred can be accessed by clicking the button Strengths and Areas for Improvement. If there is text for the quality statement the button will bit lit up in yellow.

Reviewing the identified areas for improvement will enable priorities to be set for the period ahead. Action Points can then be set by clicking the Action Points button.

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It may be helpful when seeking to identify the areas of improvement that should be selected for action to be able to review all the self-evaluation information, as now entered in the software in hard copy format.

To compile this document, automatically, go to Support>Automated Self Evaluation>All Notepad text by issue. This document which is in MS Word will show all the identified areas for improvement in the order of the quality statements. Those selected for action could be highlighted.

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Selected areas for improvement for each quality statement (issue) can be turned into Action Points by clicking the Action button on the scoring screen for a quality statement.

The action points screen enables up to 5 action points to be stated for an issue (quality statement) together with the person, or team responsible for the action point and relevant dates.

It is also possible to group action points into useful catagories by allocating a 'mini plan' heading.

This action point detail should be entered for all quality statements selected for improvement action.

Over time a progress report can be entered, with a date, for each action point. A completion date can be entered where appropriate.

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There is an action plan feature which organises the action points into a range of action plans. This feature is accessed by clicking Improvement>Action Plan on the main menu bar.

The drop down boxes at the top of the action plan screen determine how the action points are organised, e.g. by

Issue sections External quality standard criteria
ISC Inspection criteria Responsibility
CSCI Inspection criteria Mini Plan

A wide selection of action plans is, therefore, available. Action plans can be organised in date order and, importantly can be compiled by responsibility or mini plan. Where progress reports are evident these are shown on the action plans compiled.

The selected action plan in MS Word table format is automatically produced by clicking the Compile button on the action plan screen.

An illustration action plan can be viewed by clicking Help> Report Documents on the menu bar, highlighting Illustration Action Plan.doc and clicking Open

Independent School Review provides, therefore, the framework for setting and monitoring improvement action points


For product background details, prices etc. go to the website product page. Click here to download Independent School Review 3.4 and here to access a rapid software evaluation routine in .pdf format for department self-evaluation.