Co-ordinating school-wide self-review

What is the purpose of the SSRT?

The SSRT is essentially an audit tool that is designed to support school staff to review current school practice to identify areas of strength as well as next steps in regard to promoting a safe and caring social climate that deters behaviours such as bullying. The process which schools use to complete the SSRT is as important as the content. The tool aims to encourage dialogue between staff. The SSRT has two components: a School Self Review Tool (SSRT) one copy of which is completed by a review team, and a Teacher Survey for all teaching staff.

The SSRT and the Teacher Survey both include a range of parallel questions about different aspects of school life:

  • school-wide leadership, climate, policies, and practices
  • how teachers teach, and what happens in classrooms
  • student culture and behaviour, and
  • how connections are made with the school community.


The SSRT has fourteen extra questions (Questions 44, 45, 50, 51, 64-67 and 137-142) that staff may highlight for further discussion when completing the SSRT.

What is the Teacher Survey?

The Teacher Survey is one component of the SSRT. It is for all staff who teach students. The Teacher Survey is designed to enable schools with more than 5 staff to systematically collect data on teachers’ perspectives about school life. This data is then used to support the review team to complete the final SSRT. Therefore the Teacher Survey needs to be completed before the SSRT. The Teacher Survey includes a sub-set of the SSRT questions.

The Teacher Survey is completed anonymously. The Survey Administrator will send an email to all teachers. This includes a link to the online survey site. Teachers are asked to register, decide on a password and then complete the survey. Please ensure teachers have the right to opt out.

Teachers responses will be summarised in a Teacher: Items at a Glance report (as long as the number of teachers completed the survey is large enough to ensure anonymity). This can be used to assist the review team to complete the SSRT.

How do we complete the SSRT?

It is up to your school how you complete the SSRT. However, we encourage you to use a process that facilitates reflective discussions between staff. We suggest that you use your usual in-house professional learning processes to complete the tool. Here are some ideas about possible processes:

  • Arrange a professional learning meeting to introduce the self review process and the Teacher Survey.
  • At the meeting, discuss the purpose of the self review, the School Self Review Tool (SSRT), and the Teacher Survey. Provide staff with a hardcopy of the Teacher Survey and Teacher information sheet (ideally all staff, including support and administration staff, as well as community stakeholders, could be involved at this first meeting, although only teaching staff will complete the Teacher Survey).
  • Send the Teacher Survey link to all teachers and give them a timeframe to complete the survey. NOTE: The survey site will only produce reports if 5 or more teachers complete the survey. This cut off point has been selected to ensure anonymity. Schools with less than 5 teachers can use the hardcopy of the Teacher Survey to hold a discussion that contributes to the SSRT process.
  • Organise a smaller review team of school leaders [link], teachers, other school staff, and other stakeholders who are interested in further discussing and completing the SSRT at a review session (it is important that all staff and stakeholders are volunteers and feel comfortable about their involvement).
  • As a group, decide on a facilitator for the review session.
  • Encourage teachers to complete their surveys prior to the review session – this means that you will be able to use the teacher data to assist in completing the SSRT.
  • Send the Teacher: Items at a Glance report to the review team.
  • Hold a review session with the review team to discuss the SSRT items and develop a combined set of SSRT results for your school. Use the Teacher: Items at a Glance report to assist you.
  • Login in to the site ( with your school username and password, make sure you are in your School administration area, select the Survey admin icon for the School Self Review Tool, click on the Survey link, and complete the SSRT. Please note you could enter this information at the time of the school review session.


Assembling a school review team

We suggest that the review team includes:

  1. The principal and at least one other member of the leadership team
  2. At least 2-3 teachers who teach different year levels or have different subject expertise
  3. The person/people with oversight of the health component of the Health and PE learning area
  4. The person/people responsible for pastoral care at your school and the special needs co-ordinator (SENCO).
  5. The review team could also include support and administration staff, Board of Trustee members, parents and whānau, students, and other community members.


Facilitating the review session

The main role of the facilitator is to act as a mediator and consensus builder, and to facilitate discussions in ways that support staff to explore and reflect on their differences in opinions in ways that build understanding of others’ views and experiences. During the review session, the facilitator could facilitate discussion around:

  • Establishing ground rules (e.g., the right to pass, differences in opinions are to be expected and respected, it’s ok to agree to disagree, the process that will be used to make a group judgement about each item)
  • Deciding on roles for the group (e.g., recorder of decisions and items which led to debates)
  • Organising small group tasks (e.g., see below for continuum lines or think-pair-share tasks)
  • Managing the process for making judgements [link]
  • Time keeping and suggesting breaks
  • Wrap-up discussion, next steps, and ensure the SSRT is completed.


Exploring your school data as a team

It is important to develop a sense of shared ownership over school data and the need for change. One way to do this is through sharing and exploring W@S data with staff, students, and the wider school community. To support staff, parents and whānau to understand the findings, W@S data could be interpreted by the review team who could then report back to staff and the wider school community. Alternatively, W@S data could be explored by all staff during professional learning sessions, and parents and whānau during some form of home-school partnership session. Students could also be involved in this process.

Involving everyone is the process can assist you to develop a shared vision for the future and related short and longer-term goals.

Reflection questions to debate with groups

What is the main story (the findings or patterns) in these reports?

Are there differences between groups?

Was there any patterns or findings that were surprising?

Do we have other information or school data about this area?

Do these reports suggest there are areas we might need to explore further?

How could we get more information about this?

What is our vision for the future?

What are some of the short and long term goals that will get us there?


Ideas for exploring W@S data by a review team or during staff professional learning sessions

Each of the different W@S reports could be given to a small group. Each group then works to summarise the main patterns and questions they have about this data to report back to the whole group (e.g., one group could compare the “School at a glance” staff and student data, and other groups could use the “Aspects at a glance” and “Items at a glance” reports to look for patterns in the Student Survey data by year level, gender, ethnicity, or class).
OR, three smaller sessions could be held:

  1. Groups explore the main patterns in the SSRT/Teacher Survey.
  2. Groups could explore the main patterns in the student data.
  3. Groups could compare the staff and student data to look for similarities and differences.


Ideas for sharing the W@S data with students, parents and whānau

Depending on the age group of students, the Student Survey results could be given to groups of students to summarise the main findings and discuss the things they found interesting or surprising. Younger students could be given some of the key findings from the Student Survey and asked for their comments. This exploration could be done as a statistical literacy learning activity. (At levels 3-5: Students could explore the combined Items at a Glance reports (strip graphs), and from level 5 students could interpret and discuss the Aspect reports (box plots). Students could communicate their view of the main findings to their peers and teachers during a presentation, and make suggestions about their vision for the future for student wellbeing at school.

Staff and students’ summaries could also be shared and discussed with parents and whānau. W@S reports could also be shared or summarised for parents and whānau during school meetings and hui, or in school newsletters. Parents and whānau could be asked about their vision for the future and how the community could partner with the school to contribute to this vision.

Processes for making judgements

There are a number of different ways of working towards a judgement on each item:

  • If there are large differences of opinion, the mid-point from the equivalent Teacher Survey data could be used to complete the SSRT.
  • Think-pair-share discussions could be used for items for which there are large differences in opinion so that staff can hear each others’ views. A mid-point between these could be recorded if agreement is not reached.
  • For each item, staff could stand in a continuum line, or use stickies that are placed on a continuum on the wall. The median position could be selected (that is, the position with the most people or stickies).
  • The facilitator or another team member could be designated responsibility for summarising the general position stemming from the team discussions.
  • When developing the ground rules, the team could decide on a process to follow for items for which a shared view is not reached (e.g., the team could agree to always select the middle point from the teacher data, a middle response (if views span all options), or a position at the end-points of the scale (if views are leaning towards responses such as “strongly agree” or “strongly disagree”.)


Completing the SSRT at the school review session

There are many items in the SSRT and it is unlikely that staff will be able to have in-depth discussions about all of them. Therefore, we suggest that:

  • Prior to the review session, the school review team members could look at the Teacher: Items at a glance report and highlight the 5-10 items they most want to discuss.
  • The whole team decides which of the selected items they will debate in more depth.
  • Teachers, school leaders, and pastoral care staff work in separate groups to discuss these items.
  • Following this, the team regroups to feedback to each other.
  • The team records a group judgement on the selected items.
  • The team then works through the other items using the Teacher Survey data as one source of information to record a group judgement. The team can hold discussions when necessary on other items were there are differing viewpoints.