Samuel Whitbread Academy is an upper school and sixth form in Bedfordshire. They have been with Challenge Partners since 2016 and recently had a Quality Assurance Review at the school. They reflect on the experience below.
What have you gained as a school from having a QA Review?
As a school, we have gained an external validation of our own self-evaluation processes as well as valuable feedback and constructive criticism for the future direction of our academy. We have also gained fresh ideas on how to address the key areas of improvement in our school development plan. The Lead Reviewer was extremely supportive but challenging at the same time. We definitely see the value of having a QA Review and would want to keep having them!
What have your Senior Leadership Team (SLT) gained from having a QA Review?
Our SLT has greatly appreciated the opportunity to be challenged robustly by experienced and respected peers from other schools. One of our new members of SLT was initially quite nervous, but after the review she saw the value in having one and said ‘no course could be as beneficial to my professional development as that just was’. In general, our SLT felt the review definitely improved their own practice as they were re-energised with fresh ideas and new strategies on how to deal with the ongoing priorities in the school, and so they took a lot away from having a QA Review.
What is the best thing about the review?
The opportunity to go out and see other schools, as we currently only work with schools in Bedfordshire, so it is nice to feel connected to other schools across the country. We also gain a fresh pair of eyes on our school, as the review team are able to spot things that we don’t, which is extremely valuable.