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Finding the evidence:

School libraries and self evaluation

Kathy Lemaire OBE BA DipLib MCLIP


Former Chief Executive,
The School Library Association

Conference on self evaluation of school libraries


Lisbon
3rd November, 2008
€ What is self evaluation?
€ Why self evaluation is an essential tool
€ Thedrivers for school and school library
improvement
€ How the UK model came about
It is not enough to understand what
we ought to be, unless we know what
we are; and we do not understand
what we are, unless we know what
we ought to be.
T.S. Eliot
The political background

Education law is created by :


€ The Scottish Parliament
€ The Welsh Assembly
€ The Northern Ireland Assembly
€ The UK Parliament (England)
and managed by
€ Local Authorities
€ Individual schools
School libraries in the UK

€ Non-statutory status
€ Most schools have libraries
€ Most provide books, magazines,
CD-ROMs, Internet access
€ Most give some training to students on
research skills and using the library
€ Often targets for budget cuts
UK school libraries
ƒ Most actively
support
development of
literacy and
reading for
pleasure
UK school libraries
ƒ Most give
some training
to students on
research skills
and using the
library
UK school libraries
Primary schools
ƒ usually open only
part of the day
ƒ usually run by a
teacher, teaching
assistant or
volunteer
UK school libraries
Secondary schools
ƒ may be run by qualified or
unqualified librarian or a
teacher, often with student
helpers
ƒ usually open longer
hours, often before
and after school for
homework and
reading clubs
Review of standards in schools
€ External review – Inspection by official
bodies
€ Internal review – carried out by the school

Internal review is becoming more formal


and extensive
Inspection of schools
€ England: The Office for Standards in
Education (OFSTED)
€ Wales: ESTYN
€ Scotland: Her Majesty’s Inspectorate (HMIE)
€ Northern Ireland: The Education and Training
Inspectorate (ETINI)

All have been moving towards a model of


schools evaluating their own performance.
Developing self evaluation
1. Evidence gathering and description

Evaluation

2. Input

Impact
3. Occasional inspection

Continuous self assessment
New Haven public school criteria
for libraries:
€ Relationships: with students, staff, principal,
parents, etc
€ Role: as teacher, education leader, manager
€ Services: newsletters, email
€ Facility: layout, desk, seating, access, scheduling
€ Programmes, collaboration, research methods
€ Collection: resources, reference, periodicals
€ Technology: number of computers, online and other
technology
Self Evaluation Model - Scotland
€ How Good is Our School?

€ How Good is Our School Library


€ Taking a Closer Look at the
School Library Resource Centre
Self Evaluation Models - England
based on Ofsted themes

Improve your
library:
a self-evaluation
process for
primary schools
Self Evaluation Models - England
based on Ofsted themes

Improve your library:


a self-evaluation
process for
secondary school
libraries and learning
resource centres
Self Evaluation Models:
based on Ofsted themes

Improve your library:


a self-evaluation
process for
secondary school
libraries and learning
resource centres
Self Evaluation Model Themes
1. How high are standards?
2. How well are students’ attitudes, values and
personal qualities developed?
3. How effective are teaching and learning?
4. How well does LRC provision meet pupils’
needs?
5. How well are pupils guided and supported?
6. How effectively does the school work with
parents and the community?
7. How well is the LRC led and managed?
Other drivers for self evaluation

€ Accountability and transparency


€ The expectation of continuous
improvement
€ Demonstrating the value of the library
Self evaluation
€ Range of activities – assessing, appraising,
monitoring, auditing etc
€ Undertaken from within – looking inwards
and outwards
€ Reviewing the past, taking stock of the
present and planning for the future
Development planning
“Policies are helpful management tools;
development planning is management
itself…...Development planning helps
schools determine priorities for action and
turn good intentions into actions”
Stewart Robertson HMI
What does self evaluation involve?

€ Agreeing focus – on specific areas of work


€ Deciding indicators – activities that
demonstrate success
€ Gathering evidence – how you know they
are taking place
€ Planning development – taking place after
evaluation to improve service / activities
Focus of evaluation
How the library / librarian might:
€ support teaching and learning
€ develop students’ information literacy skills
€ help raise standards
€ support students’ reading for education and
for pleasure
€ affect students’ learning outcomes
Why evaluate your school library?
€ Develop a shared vision
€ Transparency
€ Demonstrate your value
€ Support whole school strategic planning
€ Basis for development / improvement
€ Support budget bids
€ Evidence for school Inspectors, school Governors, SMT
€ Salary and status
€ Comparison with national/local benchmarks
And finally . . .

™ Remember to record everything

™ If possible make use of a ‘critical friend’

™ Make good use of your findings


Weblinks
http://www.informat.org/schoollibraries/

http://www.hmie.gov.uk/documents/publication/hgiosjte3.pdf

http://www.slainte.org.uk/slic/schoollibs/performance.htm

http://www.hmc.org.uk/publications/Making-self-evaluation-
work.pdf