21st Birthday of the Naace SRF - A look back over the developments

Due apology for any errors

Back in 1998 Naace launched the Self Review Framework, so this year the SRF is 21!! (And so is NaaceMark!) So congratulations to all the schools, teachers, advisors, consultants and schools who have been part of our journey together! It has been interesting, even bumpy at times, but here we are, still supporting each other on our journeys with technology inside and outside the classroom. The technology has changed – to say the least, but the underlying will of all of us to get the best out of the technology, whatever it may be, for our pupils hasn’t – and to be fair I don’t think ever will!
Back in 1998 I remember sitting in a room near Nottingham (Naace’s home at the time) with Julie Frankland and Chris Stott as part of the Naace Quality Assurance Group. Other colleagues were with us and apologies to them but 21 years of change and now being 64 their names escape me – sorry! We were meeting with colleagues from Cambridgeshire Education Service, Barry Dowler and Dorothy Davis who had been developing a review system for schools reflecting on their progress with computers. From this discussion emerged the Naace SRF.

Initially the SRF was a paper based system, where you literally filled in your notes around the printed pages! This made it particularly interesting for the assessor coming to visit a school with a view to recommending the school to receive the NaaceMark Award.
Over the twenty one years in between the SRF has changed ownership to BECTA, the Award became the ICT Mark and then, following the demise of BECTA, returned to the ownership of Naace in 2010/11. This year the Award returns to its original name NaaceMark. In between the SRF became an online system to allow schools to record their progress, but a free paper copy is still available. One of the changes from the original model was the introduction, with the online system, of guidance materials available to help schools decide where they are in the levels and how to develop onwards.

Since 2004 when the first online system came into existence some 14,000 schools have used the SRF. Not all of them went on to apply for the Award because they had gained the support they needed from just using the Framework. It is always good to reward schools who apply for NaaceMark, but essentially Naace is a charity and its charitable aims include helping schools to get the best from their educational technology. So in using the Framework a school is helping Naace achieve its charitable goal – so thank you to all schools who have used the SRF, you’ve helped Naace fulfil one of its goals.

The SRF has been updated a number of times to better reflect both the technology and how schools are using it. Recently the updates in 2014 for Computing Curriculum were massive and have been followed in 2018 with considerable updates about the types of technology, how schools use it and a massive change to the Digital Safeguarding section.

You can find the current paper copy of the SRF (free) and support documents at: https://www.naace.org.uk/naace-srf-guidance

You can also find the online system for the SRF (available to Naace Advocate or school members as part of their membership) at: https://www.naacesrf.co.uk/

The updates are written by the SRF Writing Group who are all members of Naace and between them have vast experience of headship, school leadership, ICT Advisory Work, Digital Safeguarding, Professional Development, resource development, classroom practice and assessment. So thank you to among others, Allison Allen, David Whyley, Simon Shaw, Anthony Hunt, Mike Hamilton, Steve Johnson.

The whole scheme was built on and remains a maturity model for schools to decide where they are in their use and understanding of technology – not for others to decide! The basis of the NaaceMark Award was and still is for Naace to confirm the decisions a school has made about its own development. But of course behind these simple explanations rest a whole plethora of systems and quality assurance processes to ensure that the decisions made are fair, balanced and consistent. To this end the new SRF system has built in processes to ensure consistency when it comes to the NaaceMark Award. As well as the visiting assessor, who still provides contact with the school, all their decisions including the questions to ask before and during the visit are discussed with a second assessor, who, whilst they don’t visit the school, has access to the schools data and will contribute to the whole process in a supportive way. This will also bring greater consistency to the award process. We hope in 2020/21 to apply for ISO9001:2018 Quality Assurance Certification. Who knows we might be the first schools award provider to gain the qualification. In honesty, NaaceMark is a QA award, so really the organisation awarding it should be QA’d themselves – shouldn’t they?

So where do we go next? Well Naace has revamped its membership arrangements as well as launching a new web site. We are making large cuts in the cost of most membership categories, particularly schools membership. As part of the reduced cost to schools, access to the SRF is automatic and allows up to three members of staff to use the SRF as part of the £75 per year school membership (it used to be £250 + £50 for the SRF tool!!). We are also hoping that there will be a number of half day events during the year, around the UK to introduce schools to the SRF who haven’t met it before, or whose access has lapsed over the years. The first events are in Durham and Newcastle in March.

The advent of the DfE’s Ed Tech Strategy earlier this summer has again focussed attention on technology in schools after a ten year famine of interest. It should be noted that there is now a strategy which is a considerable step forward in providing support for schools regardless of individual’s views about the content of the strategy itself. The underlying need for schools, in order to get the best out of the strategy is to understand ‘where they are’ with using the technology in their school, how staff and pupils adapt to changing situations, and is everybody safe. Of course the easiest way to do that is to use the Naace SRF online system!!!!!!
Why not join the journey and benefit from using the SRF, and, of course help plot its next 21 years!

Thanks for reading.

Author: Phil Blackburn
Date: 25th September 2019. Update February 2020.