Unit 2 – Understanding the South African educational goals and the dynamic context of South African schools

The learning outcomes for this unit are:
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the South African education goals and the dynamic context of the South African Schools.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the Nine Areas of Evaluation.
  • Identify and understand the NINE Areas of Evaluation as they relate to Whole School Improvement.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the process involved in conducting a SWOT analysis.
KT0102.1: Understanding the South African education goals and the dynamic context of the South African Schools

The heterogeneous landscape of communities within South Africa lends itself to diverse learner populations at schools in terms of socio-economic context. The focus here is to provide school principals with an understanding of the school evaluation and planning processes which will assist them to identify their school’s contextual development needs and manage the processes required for improving the manner in which their schools function in order to provide quality education for their learners.

Whole School Improvement is designed to guide schools on processes which are aligned to Planning, Reporting and Accountability which will not only enhance the preparedness of schools for the beginning of each academic year, but if properly done, will enable schools to create an environment that will allow the provision of quality teaching and learning experiences as well as support for learners.

In line with this the National Policy on Whole-School Evaluation [Government Gazette Vol.433, No. 22512 of July 2001] places particular emphasis on the need to use objective criteria and performance indicators consistently in the evaluation of schools. Recognising the importance of schools as the place in which the quality of education is ultimately determined, focus is primarily on the school rather than simply on individuals and their performance. The multi-sources of evidence that are used enable valid and reliable judgements to be made and sound feedback to be provided both to schools and to the decision-makers. The findings are be used to re-orientate efforts towards improving the quality and standards of individual and collective performance. This makes the model less punitive and more supportive, with a feedback mechanism that enables schools and their support structures to agree on improvement targets and developmental plans.

The School Self Evaluation (SSE) or Internal Whole School Evaluation (IWSE) should be completed by the school manager and SGB Chairperson in consultation with the school staff (PS and CS), SMT and SGB annually. The circuit manager is to provide oversight and verification of the process.

a)        The SSE should be done as part of the evaluation exercise. An annual review that precedes planning is pertinent to take into account changes that may have occurred during the year. In terms of the WSE Policy (2001), all Schools are expected to conduct a baseline assessment by conducting an Internal Whole School Evaluation (IWSE), also called the SSE on an annual basis.

b)        The evaluation must encompass the Nine Areas of Evaluation and the performance management baseline assessments for all employees as outlined in Collective Agreement 2 of 2020 and PMDS (Collective Agreements 3/2017 and 4/2018).

c)        IWSE / SSE must include findings and recommendations from all sources of evaluation such as EWSE, QMS / PMDS, learner achievement based on school- based / standardised assessments and any other investigative, support or evaluation reports.

d)        The process of reflection on school practice must be transparent focusing on improving learner performance and support, teaching, management and governance in an effort to

I.         empower and build capacity in the school community.

II.         encourage the school community to take ownership of, and responsibility for the school’s improvement.

III.           recognise criteria that need to be achieved in effective schools; and

IV.          create a sense of social cohesion towards a shared vision.

  • SSE is evidence-based
  • The IWSE/SSE co-ordinator will ensure that School Improvement Teams (SIT’s) are established that will oversee each Area of Evaluation
  • The outcomes of the SSE process will be used to compile the SIP
KT0102.2: Understanding the Nine Areas of Evaluation and how these areas of evaluation are used within the context of leadership and management 

The 9 Areas of Evaluation covers all aspects of the education spectrum comprehensively

  • These are grouped as follows:
    • Providing the status of teaching and learning

    • Factors that impact on teaching and learning

  • Factors that create a conducive teaching and learning environment

  • Adherence to the 9 Areas of Evaluation ensures that the system addresses successes and challenges comprehensively as opposed to a ‘ad-hoc’ interpretation of the system need
KT0102.3:Understanding the process of conducting a SWOT(Strengths,Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis

SWOT is an acronym for Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. The school’s internal (SW) and external (OT) environment can be analysed in this process.

  • The school engages in this process annually as a pre-cursor to the evaluation
  • The school sets up nine commissions (Areas of Evaluation) to facilitate discussions on SWOT per area
  • The findings of the SWOT will contribute to the SSE process

The SWOT analysis should be coordinated by the Whole School Improvement Team coordinator in consultation with the school staff (PS and CS), SMT and SGB annually. The circuit manager should provide oversight, support and verification of the process.

  • The SWOT must focus on all NINE Areas of
  • The SWOT allows for discussions related to the evaluation exercise that is conducted annually and supports the SSE. The school should conduct the SWOT analysis in relation to the criteria contained in the SSE. It is a useful way for all stakeholders of the school to develop a good understanding of the basic requirements and the current conditions that exist at the
  • Useful background information on the current status of the school can be sourced from the following documents: results of school-based / standardised tasks, development needs based on QMS/PMDS and any external reports such as EWSE or district reports.