It is one of the dilemmas of the middle leadership role in primary schools, that monitoring and evaluation is a vital element of the role and yet can be very time consuming and difficult to do it rigorously and effectively.
It is however crucial to have at least some form of monitoring and evaluation in place, so that you know what is happening within your subject, phase or other area of leadership in your primary school. This extract looks at the importance of and methods of monitoring and evaluation in primary schools.
Developing a range of types will give you a breadth of evidence and enable you to collate your findings to gain an overall picture. This is often referred to as ‘triangulating the evidence’ even when leaders are collating from more than three sources!
Your Monitoring & Evaluation Policy will outline clearly which subjects within your school are to be monitored when, and by whom.
Make sure you have a copy of the school’s ‘Monitoring and Evaluation Policy’ or equivalent policy. This will be your starting point and will give you an understanding of how the systems work. In effective schools, this will be well established and you should be able to glean much information and the relevant paperwork from senior leaders.
Some schools do however spend a tremendous amount of time on monitoring in various ways but do not spend enough time evaluating the evidence they have collected.
Monitoring and evaluation for middle leaders in primary schools
So, when you are planning any form of monitoring, ensure you also plan time to evaluate and decide what criteria you are going to base you evaluation upon.
Monitoring without evaluation is just a time consuming way of accumulating paperwork!
It will make no difference to anything in the school. But effective monitoring with evaluation will give you a clear insight into the workings of the school and enable the identification of best practice and inform action planning (Section 5).
Methods of monitoring and evaluation for middle leaders in primary schools
Monitoring is often associated with lesson observations, but these are only one method that can be used in schools.
In fact lesson observations are very time consuming and may not provide the necessary evidence, depending on what you are focussing on at the time.
Which are used in your school? Check this against your school’s Monitoring and Evaluation Policy.
The table will enable you to check which are used in your school and also to tick if they are relevant to your Middle Leadership role.
You can then plan to utilise a range of those relevant strategies over time, to gain a complete picture of standards and outcomes in your area of leadership.
The importance of feedback after monitoring and evaluation
After any form of monitoring, it is vital that you give some form of feedback, even if only to thank those involved and explain the general findings initially.
Your colleagues will want to know the outcomes of any monitoring activity. Feedback lets them know that the monitoring is valuable and brings your work closer to a ‘done with’ model rather than ‘done to’ model from their perspective.
The school’s Monitoring and Evaluation Policy should explain the procedures for feedback so make sure these are followed.
Continue the conversation on monitoring and evaluation for middle leaders in primary schools.
For more information on monitoring and evaluation for middle leaders or any aspect of middle leadership, keep an eye on the Focus Education blog, find us on Twitter @Focuseducation1 or get in touch with the Focus Education office on 01457 821 818.
Middle Leaders Toolkit
Subject Leadership Range
Auditing the Intent, Implementation and Impact of each National Curriculum Subject
Vicky is the Marketing Executive at Focus Education.