Peer Review Networks

In response to the tighter economic constraints placed on schools, the limited availability of school improvement services and the continuing need for mentoring and sharing best practice, The Mulberry Bush Peer Review is a minimal cost system for providing peer support.

Over the last few years over 80 schools from eight different local authority areas have taken part in this work, which has been led by The Mulberry Bush Outreach.

The Peer Review system aims to provide a reflective self-evaluation process, giving insight into individual schools effectiveness in agreed areas, provided by peer colleagues working in a similar situation to your own, in their adopted role of ‘critical professional friend’.

What is it?

It is a visit to your school by two colleagues (this can be virtual if necessary). They will spend a day with you and your school looking at agreed areas of policy and practice at your request. It is an opportunity to network between schools, to share practice, learn from others and build on what works well. It provides a great chance to share professional expertise and improve provision.

What it is not

It is not an inspection and has no legal reporting mechanism to any other organisation or authority. It is not an accreditation system. It does not provide a quality mark. The only exception regarding reporting is that of course, if reviewers felt that there were significant child protection concerns, reporting to the local safeguarding team would be expected.

What are the key principles underpinning the reviews?

The reviews promote some of the values of The Mulberry Bush School such as valuing collaboration, working reflectively and learning from experience, providing strong support structures for staff, and having a non-judgmental approach. The spirit in which reviews are conducted should reflect these values.

What role does The Mulberry Bush play?

We run the virtual support meetings and coordinate the dates of the reviews. If somebody is unable to attend a review at the last moment The Mulberry Bush will try to find a replacement reviewer. We will also collect the reports and impact questionnaires in order to monitor the effectiveness of each review network. We will investigate any concerns raised in the process.

What does it entail?

You will agree to join a peer review network for a year at a time. You are then committed
to the following:

  1. Attending up to 3 virtual leadership peer support meetings with the other heads and deputies from the network. This will include an induction element for new schools joining the group.
  2. Fixing a date with The Mulberry Bush for your school’s review.
  3. Being available for two other full days to be part of a review team in other schools.
  4. Completing a short report about your virtual visit to one of the schools that you reviewed.
  5. A few weeks after your review completing a questionnaire about the impact of the review process on your school.
How to book

For more details please contact Kathy Smith on 01865 594700 or email [email protected]

‘It was a good affirmation of what we are doing, well-delivered by supportive colleagues. It gave me time to talk through concerns frankly with current head teachers who have a good understanding of issues in education.’

Former participant