Peer review programme: building capacity for sustainable improvement

SSAT’s peer review programme gives school leaders the chance to work together, peer review each other’s schools and plan for further improvement. Working in groups of three, each school participates in a self-evaluating process with two other schools where they take it in turns to host a one-day review. The peer review programme is offered to primary, secondary and SEN schools.

Having received feedback from senior leaders, particularly those from schools already judged to be ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ and who are looking for a developmental approach to complement that taken by Ofsted, this is a structured process for system-led improvement.

The peer review programme provides an objective review of current school performance and helps to create sustainable skills and expertise for the ongoing benefit of each school.

How it works

An initial training day helps you to sharpen your skills for effective self-evaluation, and develop understanding of the protocols and professional practice of peer review. Schools are supported by an experienced school inspector who acts as coach and facilitator.

Schools work in groups of three, in which each school hosts a one-day review and participants from each school undertake a joint review of the other two.

The peer review programme:

  • Provides quality professional development for an agreed number of senior leaders (normally two or three)
  • Supports the professional processes of review, evaluation, and making judgements to ensure reliable feedback allows you to identify the areas you need to focus on
  • Supports you to disseminate learning and build capacity for sustained self-improvement
  • Facilitates a structured review of identified priorities supported by on-site coaching and supervision

Success stories

As a reviewer, I felt it developed my skills to gather, collect and analyse information in a short time frame…I feel I have developed skills on how to give feedback in a constructive way at a higher level than I have done before. As the school being reviewed, I valued the experience of other colleagues looking at our organisation and identified areas.

Jennifer Dunne – New Bridge School


Participants will develop their performance evaluating skills in their own school and will benefit from applying these in the partner school. Schools receive support to help facilitate system-led improvement and will benefit from the strategic analysis of the review outcomes – identifying the next steps for their system improvement work.

Although not designed to replicate an Ofsted inspection, the programme will allow schools to assess the robustness of their self-assessment and improvement planning practice in advance of an inspection.

Each school receives:

  • One day of training in self-evaluation and review for all schools led by an SSAT senior education lead and consultant. Headteacher plus two members of SLT from each school to attend
  • Resources and materials to prepare for and to undertake the review
  • Working in groups of three, a one-day review based on each school’s identified priorities facilitated by the consultant with two senior leaders (one from each of the other two schools)
  • Verbal feedback at the end of the review day
  • A written summary of the oral feedback provided on the day – highlighting performance strengths and areas of development
  • Summarised, anonymised feedback from participating schools via a report that highlights key themes to support further collaboration and strategic planning
  • A formal report and action plan from the consultant for each school
  • A follow-up meeting for all three schools to discuss progress and share experience

Please note a regional cohort of schools is required to run the programme so that schools can work effectively together within a reasonable proximity. The launch date will be confirmed once the cohort is in place. For more information please get in touch with us by email.

Register your interest 

Peer review that is not Ofsted by another name
Download the case studyPeer review that is not Ofsted by another name
Register your interest 

A launch day event followed by individual reviews conducted in participating schools

Ideal for
Headteachers and senior leaders of primary, secondary or SEN schools

£2,750+VAT per member school
£3,300+VAT per non member school

Download the SSAT Peer Review Programme brochure

For enquiries,
get in touch with us by email.