School self-assessment is a key component of the School Excellence cycle. As a reflective process, the school regularly collects, analyses and evaluates a range of qualitative and quantitative evidence to inform their overall performance in relation to the desired improvements in their Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP).

Self-assessment and School Excellence

All schools self-assess their practices using all the elements of the School Excellence Framework. Ongoing self-assessment is pivotal to School Excellence and is embedded in the situational analysis, development of the Strategic Improvement Plan, implementation and progress monitoring and annual reflection components of the School Excellence cycle as it:

  • informs the school’s annual report
  • supports the on-balance judgements made in the SEF S-aS
  • assists in the development and adjustment of activities towards achieving improvement measures
  • supports the external validation process
  • is a foundation for continued school improvement.

Most importantly, ongoing self-assessment provides information for future decision-making.

Effective self-assessment practices

To support effective self-assessment processes, it is recommended that schools:

  • develop processes that build capacity to regularly reflect on implementation and impact of improvement strategies using the School Excellence Framework
  • embed strategies that enable staff to engage in formative self-assessment and evaluative processes towards achieving improvement measures
  • establish systems for collecting and storing evidence for annual reporting and external validation
  • reflect on and evaluate achievements over time using the School Excellence Framework
  • communicate across the school community results of ongoing self-assessment to motivate and encourage staff
  • ensure results of ongoing evaluations and adjustments to the Strategic Improvement Plan are conveyed to the school community.

External validation

Once, during a four-year cycle, schools undergo an external validation of the evidence of their school self-assessment.

Each year approximately 25% of schools are selected as a representative sample across School Performance Directorates. Schools engage in discussions with an external panel and have their self­-assessments validated using the School Excellence Framework (SEF).

The panel, comprising of a Principal School Leadership (PSL) and a peer principal, meet with the school external validation team and determine whether the school's evidence supports their self-assessment using each element of the SEF. An external validation panel report, which includes the school-determined next steps in the self-assessment process, and school-determined future directions to support school improvement, is provided to the school following the external validation.

The School Planning and Reporting Online (SPaRO) software is used by:

  • schools - to prepare the external validation submission
  • Directors, Educational Leadership - to review and affirm the external validation submission
  • panels - to view validate and report on the external validation submission.

External validation guidelines are available on the School Excellence Policy webpage. These comprehensive guidelines provide more detail on the implementation of the external validation process.

School Excellence Framework Self-assessment Survey

The School Excellence Framework Self-assessment Survey (SEF S-aS) has been designed to support schools to capture a 'point-in-time' judgement that has been informed by their ongoing self-assessment processes using the School Excellence Framework (SEF).

This SEF S-aS requires school leadership teams to work collaboratively to:

  • collate and reflect on evidence gathered as part of their ongoing self-assessment using the SEF
  • provide an on-balance judgement of which stage best describes the school's practices for each element of the SEF.

Each year schools complete the SEF S-aS within the School Planning and Reporting Online (SPaRO) software. SPaRO is available to schools through the department's staff portal.

Learn more


  • Teaching and learning


  • Compliance and audit
  • Educational accountability
  • High performance
  • Leadership and management
  • Planning
  • Reporting and performance
  • School Excellence Framework
  • Teaching
  • performance

Business Unit:

  • Public Schools
Return to top of page Back to top