Ethos SSE communities of practice

Rozz Lewis, Portlaoise Educate Together NS  

In the school year of 2022-2023, our school applied for and was selected as one of a group of six schools to take part in the Ethos School Self-Evaluation Communities of Practice group that Educate Together had established. 

Educate Together offered four training sessions online, designed to help schools develop their capacity to engage in School Self-Evaluation (SSE) in a relevant area of interest using the Educate Together Ethos Quality Framework. These sessions really helped guide us in terms of where to go next. They also gave us every document and survey we might need to begin our SSE of our ethos. 

I was really encouraged to get a positive response from my teaching colleagues and we established our Ethos SSE team very quickly and with bounds of energy and caffeine! We met four times a year and we focussed on the area of ‘Equality’ taken from the standards of practice on the Ethos Guidance Platform. 

Within the year, we carried out a wide range of tasks such as identifying what data to gather, collation and analysis of data to completing reports like the SSE report and School Improvement Plan. We held our final meeting for the year in April 2023.  

We have found the process extremely positive and a unique chance to connect with staff members that we just don’t get to in terms of discussion of the ethos. It was wonderfully affirming to receive positive feedback from the parents, staff, board members and students alongside useful, well-thought-out suggestions.  

It is not often we find the time and space to talk about all our school’s strengths in terms of the ethos or receive step-by-step guidance on leading the SSE in our schools and we want to thank Educate Together for having the foresight to roll this initiative out.