Peer review

Peer review

The peer review is a visit to your school by two colleagues. They will spend a whole day looking with you 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.

Download the protocols and templates here

Agreed protocol and proformas


  • This is a supportive process designed to support leadership development
  • All are equal, colleagues are there as critical friends to provide an external view
  • Schools decide who they involve and whether they extend the review to include governors / senior staff
  • The summary report is confidential and is for schools to do with as they wish
  • Specific outcomes will not be shared with any outside agencies including Buckinghamshire Council however outcomes will form the basis of an anonymous summary report for Buckinghamshire Council
  • Any safeguarding concerns must be fed back to the Headteacher or the LADO if they concern the Headteacher.

Therefore reviewers please:

  • Realise that it is likely to be a big deal for the school you are reviewing
  • Stick to the commitments you have made, including completing paperwork on time
  • Remember that it is about supporting each other, sharing ideas and learning – not about being harshly critical

When you are invited to review another school it is always your responsibility to leave the school in better shape than you found it.


The school being reviewed:

  • Spend time looking at the outcome of your current self evaluation to identify one or two areas which you would like to focus your review on. Try to be brave and focus on things that you don’t do so well in. Involve your staff team in thinking about the best way to use the day – what are their thoughts about what needs focusing on?
  • Share the ideas behind the Peer Review process with all staff prior to the visit to help everyone share the principles of the process. Make it clear that this is not an inspection. It is an opportunity to share the school’s work with critical, experienced friends.
  • Encourage your staff to be as open and honest as they can be in order to get the most from the process.
  • Try to not make any changes to the normal routine of the day to enable the team to see you as your normally are.
  • Try to provide the review team with a base which they can use throughout the visit.
  • Communicate to your staff team that the review team will try to be as unobtrusive as possible. If their presence causes difficulties at any point in the visit it is fine to ask them to leave that situation and find something else to do.

The team completing the review:

  • Arrange several times throughout the day when the review team can briefly share their observations and emerging thoughts. Use the meeting at the end of the day to work together to agree the key findings.
  • The team’s key role as critical friend is to support the host school to accurately reflect on and self assess its own performance in order to identify areas for development. The review can share ideas of how this development might be achieved. A major challenge for the review team is to assist the host school to experience the peer review process in a non judgemental and supported way, leaving them in better shape to face the challenges ahead.
  • The feedback you provide should focus on the qualities and development needs of the school as a whole, and should not identify individual members of staff.
  • Any concerns during the review should be raised with Headteacher and it is for them to decide how they proceed in addressing the issues raised.
  • Any concerns about the well-being of the Headteacher should be fed back to Chair of Governors.


Pre- visit

  • Using the BASL website the school requesting the review will select two colleagues as reviewers and email them.
  • Once availability is confirmed a three way email will agree dates
  • Requesting school completes the proforma in Appendix 1, this includes:
    • A brief outline of context
    • Areas of focus for visit
    • Senior staff to be involved in the visit
    • Hoped for outcomes
  • Agree the documents to be shared and provide them 5 days prior to the review taking place
  • Agree the monitoring activities, timetable for the day and formats to be used for evidence gathering
  • Agree if any SLT from the reviewing schools are welcome to attend as part of their CPD

Every effort should be made not to cancel the agreed day and any re-scheduling should be agreed in good time. Only emergencies should result in cancelling on the day.

Review day

  • Arrive 8:30am - finalise arrangements for the day
  • 9.30am -12.30 – monitoring activities
  • 12.30 – Discussion around the mornings’ findings and additional evidence that may need to be gathered
  • PM additional evidence gathering if required
  • 3pm - Summary discussion, possible next steps and sign posting. Complete the findings section of the review document in draft, this can contain more detail and specifics as it’s intended audience is the Headteacher / SLT.
  • Draft the contents of the final letter (Appendix 2) and agree who will complete the final letter. This letter will speak in more general terms so it can be shared with a wider audience.


  • Circulate the letter and review documents for final agreement
  • Facilitate contact with schools / agencies that could provide support
  • On-going email/telephone support
  • An anonymised version of the final letter should be sent by the lead reviewer to the Co-Chair of BASL Janice Freeman, and also to
  • All involved complete the feedback section and return to

Quality assurance

  • All heads available for review receive annual training
  • All involved complete the evaluation in Appendix 3
  • BASL board will collate these evaluations and address any issues they raise

Complaints / Grievances

Any concerns should be raised with the Co-Chair of BASL Janice Freeman

Janice can also be contacted for guidance and support during the review process.

Contact details: Janice Freeman, King’s Wood School and Nursery, 01494 521401

If reviewers do not adhere to the above principles, guidance and agreed protocols they may be asked to step down from the role.

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