Weekly Evaluation Sheet: A simple but impactful monitoring tool

Written by: Gavin Hamilton | Published:
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After a ‘requires improvement’ judgement, as part of his school’s response Gavin Hamilton implemented the Weekly Evaluation Sheet to help focus minds, improve monitoring and intervention, and cut workload...

After a judgement of “requires improvement”, I was “invited” to a course entitled Beyond Monitoring by the local authority. I approached it with an open mind as anything that improved the quality of our offer to our pupils was to be welcomed.

The aims were to ensure effective pedagogical leadership at all levels and enable schools to develop their own bespoke procedures and systems to improve learning and teaching.

There were a lot of good strategies to improve our monitoring and more importantly these had been tried and tested and found to be successful. The facilitators had both been involved from inception to delivery so were forthcoming about the pitfalls and positives. Their anecdotes and reflections ensured almost total buy in from the audience.

Back at my schools, I had to temper my enthusiasm somewhat and decide which of the strategies could be introduced quickly to provide impact, which could be parked for a later date and those which would not work in our settings. One of the first things we put into place was a Weekly Evaluation Sheet…

The Weekly Evaluation Sheet

I decided that a Weekly Evaluation Sheet would offer impact and lessen some of the burden on the staff (and myself).

The concept was simple: a succinct and purposeful single side of A4 (click the download button below to see a template of the sheet). It needed to be clear and concise – reams of narrative and description being unnecessary.

The purpose: to enable teachers to reflect on specific practice and feedback to the senior leadership team. These evaluations added to the monitoring cycle and act as evidence that specific pupil needs are identified and met. It feeds into achievement team meetings and pupil progress meetings.

Staff were expected to identify one or two children who had shown barriers to learning that week in each of maths and English. These pupils were not to be SEND, Pupil Premium or part of a group already identified as needing interventions (these groups were already well documented and reported upon).

Teachers would bullet-point the issue, the “in the moment” assessment, what was done during the session (quality first teaching, intervention etc), follow up and next steps. Anything noteworthy that wasn’t captured elsewhere would go in the next row and the final row captured specific issues with behaviour, notes/calls/meetings with parents – a general aide memoir to both the teacher and me.

This sheet would be emailed to me by 9am on the Monday following the week reported on.

The impact

The impact of this was great. Staff had a quick and simple way of recording, and I could use this as part of the monitoring cycle. For some time, I had been doing more informal “drop-ins” to lessons every fortnight. This would be for 10 to 20 minutes and often after brief discussions with staff to agree a general theme.

However, the impact of the monitoring sheets meant I could be more specific and use the time better. Reviewing the monitoring sheets from the previous weeks enabled me to have a more pupil-focused approach to the visits.

In the class, I would be able to speak to the pupils identified as having had barriers to specific learning and ask them what had helped or was helping them to overcome the difficulty. They shared their work with me, and I was able to do a quick assessment by asking them questions and seeing the impact of the next steps or intervention.

Over time, I built an accurate picture of what was happening in the class and what had the most impact on learning. Discussing this with staff enabled us to celebrate and share with others what had been successful, or to find a different approach if things were not going as well.

If the barrier had not been overcome, the teacher was able to seek advice from the staff at our three weekly achievement team meetings for specific children.

This meant that issues were tackled more quickly than if they were left until the end of term progress meetings and resources and interventions could be prescribed quicker. It also gave my visits a greater purpose and staff understood that this was about learning and teaching rather than bureaucracy.


A good, impactful idea, but it didn’t come without its pitfalls. The first was to get “buy-in” from the staff at a difficult time. There was one specific member of the team who could be quite candid with his challenging of new initiatives and decisions. I decided to approach him first.

After having a discussion and explaining the expected impact on pupil progress, he agreed to trial the form and then feedback to the staff in two weeks. It was music to my ears when he said: “I am sorry to say that this is a good idea which will impact positively on the children, is not a lot of extra work, and I think we should all do it!” First hurdle overcome.

Second, I had expected staff to write short, bullet pointed reports which could be done quickly either at the time or when reflecting on the week. This proved somewhat of a difficulty. Staff wanted to write about the positives for each child and the fantastic things they had been doing in class generally.

As such, the amount of time they spent on them grew and I was concerned that it would become burdensome – exactly what I had wanted to avoid. It was also less easy to see the barriers to learning and the outcomes.

Initially, I used exemplars from the Beyond Monitoring training at a staff meeting. These showed a report where too little had been recorded, one where there was too much extraneous information, and the Goldilocks “just right” which was focused and succinct. Eventually there was a compromise set of expectations which also left staff able to add general comments if desired.

Third, although I do not expect this to take too long, it needs to be reflective. A new member of staff appeared to write the evaluation shortly before emailing it on a Monday morning. It was explained that their notes on planning and observations throughout the week should enable them to write it as the week progresses or as they plan for the following week.

Strong evidence-base

By the end of each term, I had a strong evidence-base for the impact of teaching, interventions and assessment on another group of children. This was then used in appraisal target-setting, reports to the school improvement officers and governors. It was also good evidence for Ofsted.

Perhaps the most impactful outcome was that it got staff discussing individual barriers to learning and sharing their vast combined experience in finding solutions. This also meant a more transparent culture and a shared approach to problem-solving.

Most importantly, the use of the sheets was regularly reviewed to ensure they were still fit-for-purpose and tweaked from time to time to continue to capture evidence of pupil outcomes.

In subsequent Ofsted inspections, the weekly monitoring sheets were applauded, and other partner schools saw the benefits of their use and began to trial them.

  • Gavin Hamilton is a former executive headteacher of 15 years, currently working in various roles as an educational consultant.

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