In support of strengthening accountability and promoting functional schools, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) hosted training for 22 newly-appointed WSE supervisors in Centurion, Gauteng, from 22 to 27 February, 2015. The training covered the WSE policy and guidelines and informed the supervisors – including a number of former school principals and deputy principals – on how to conduct credible assessment using rigorous assessment tools. The newly trained WSE supervisors will be part of the teams that will evaluate sample schools in Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, North West and KwaZulu-Natal.
Whole School Evaluation, guided by the national department is a quality assurance system that enables schools and external supervisors to provide an account of the performance of various schools. The policy seeks to improve the overall quality of education and also aims at increasing the level of accountability within the education system. It strives to ensure that all learners are given an equal opportunity to make the best use of their capabilities. This is achieved by evaluating the effectiveness of schools in terms of the national goals, using national criteria. The policy highlights nine key areas for evaluation:
· Basic school functionality;
· Leadership, management and communication;
· Governance and relationships;
· Quality of teaching and learning, and educator development;
· Curriculum provision and resources;
· Learner achievement;
· School safety, security and discipline;
· School infrastructure; and
· Parents and community.
During on-site evaluations, supervisors engage in the following activities:
· Examine the School Self Evaluation (SSE) report;
· Scrutiny of relevant school records;
· Lesson observations;
· Conduct interviews with relevant stakeholders;
· Analyse questionnaires; and
· Provide feedback to the school.
“The key area of the training was to introduce supervisors to the WSE policy and to ensure they are familiar with the instruments used to conduct the evaluations”, said Dr Shimane Mataboge of the WSE directorate. “The supervisors will be tasked with conducting school and classroom visits at the sample schools as well.”
Whole-school evaluation is not an end in itself, but the first step in the process of school improvement and quality enhancement. The National Policy on Whole School Evaluation is designed to achieve the goal of school improvement through a partnership between supervisors, schools and support services at one level, and national and provincial governments at another.