Teaching School Peer Review

The purpose of the Sutton Alliance review system is to foster a sense of local collaboration between participating schools using a peer review model. Four trained senior leaders from Sutton Alliance schools will join with an Ofsted accredited lead reviewer to visit the participating school over three days and work alongside the Head teacher and Senior Leadership Team. We aim to celebrate our strengths and identify future challenges, whilst providing high quality Continual Professional Development for existing and future leaders within the Alliance. Your school will be provided with a final report under four key headings: Student Progress, Learning and Teaching, School Improvement Strategies and an Area of Excellence.

The Benefits of a Review

  • Head teachers have found the process really valuable
  • A review as opposed to an inspection. Fundamentally, the role of the review team is to act as a critical friend and they can be directed by the school being reviewed. Many schools will choose to structure their review in such a way as to focus on an area of particular interest, for example AfL, Key Stage 5 teaching or the MFL department. Others may wish to embrace a more holistic review of the whole school

  • The opportunity to celebrate your school’s strengths and then take these out to other local schools. All schools being reviewed will nominate an area of excellence they would like externally validated which can be disseminated throughout the Alliance via a best practice directory

  • The collaborative  identification of future challenges for the school and the exchange of ideas and strategies

  • An audit trail for Governors and Ofsted 

The Review Process

Pre-Review Analysis

During this process, and guided by the lead reviewer, reviewers will form hypotheses about the school to be reviewed under four headings: Learning and Teaching; Student Progress; School Development Strategies and the ‘Area of Excellence’ nominated by the school to be reviewed. These hypotheses will be informed by existin school data. At the end of the first day the lead reviewer will share the review team’s hypotheses with the Head teacher and any other staff s/he wishes to be present.

The Review

Lesson observations will always be carried out by a reviewer alongside a member of staff from the school. The lead reviewer may also join these in order to moderate evaluations. Reviewers will always use their own Alliance observation forms but members of staff from the school are encouraged to use the school’s model.  Reviewers will not be expected to feedback on lessons to members of staff being observed, all feedback will instead come from staff at the school being reviewed. Individual lessons will not be graded but will be evaluated against the current Ofsted criteria.

Summaries of key findings will be delivered by the lead reviewer to the Head Teacher and any other staff s/he wishes to be present at the end of the second and third day.


The lead reviewer will complete a draft written report and send it to the Head teacher of the school reviewed within one week of the conclusion of the review. The Head teacher should review the report and agree it within two weeks, preferably at the post review feedback meeting organised by the lead reviewer. The lead reviewer may ask reviewers to contribute to the writing of this report.


The Alliance works collaboratively so it is expected that schools will releace Senior Leaders to conduct the reviews for no cost with the expectation that this arrangemetn is recipricol. In addition, the Teaching School will meet the administration costs of the review. The cost is only for the lead reviewer and is projected to be approximately £1500. For schools outside on the alliance we would expect schools to meet the full cost of the review unless the school is currently judged as requires improvement or inadequate in their most recent Ofsted inspection.