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Schools in Scotland – are you struggling to tame the HGIOS beast? We have developed a version of iAbacus that uses the themes from How Good is Our School (HGIOS),* making it easier for schools to use HGIOS to self-evaluate their provision and develop action plans.

As we talked to heads in Scotland, it was evident pretty quickly to us that the HGIOS document is double edged sword. On the plus side it is a high quality self-evaluation framework with depth and rigour, which works for leaders at all levels in the school.

However, with 48 different themes and over 500 challenge questions and features to benchmark against, clearly it has the potential to be overwhelming – especially for busy school leaders and heads of department already running at full capacity.

That’s where iAbacus comes in. It is an online tool for strategic action planning which is preloaded with the HGIOS framework and is easily customised to suit a school’s requirements.

It empowers staff with everything they need to create a self-evaluation and action plan for any HGIOS theme.

We’re already working with number of schools that are focusing on specific HGIOS themes, and we’re delighted with the response so far.

Louise Moir, Head Teacher of Mackie Academy in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire told us: “As a head teacher of a large school I could find no effective way to self-evaluate the progress of the school given the number of people and teams I am trying to draw down evidence from.

“What I am trying to achieve is a smart and efficient way to do this to which people can contribute, whatever their role, and I can then see the big picture.  That is what led me to iAbacus.”

iAbacus presents senior leaders with information in an immediate, visual overview where they can quickly identify strengths and weaknesses across the school, then dig down into the detailed diagnostic and action planning.

Louise said: “If I am honest I have come across nothing else that works like iAbacus. What I saw was straight forwards and could be personalised to our needs.  The fact that we can overlay different pieces of evidence to make whole school statements and/or decisions is an aspect of this tool which really excites me.

Braes High School in Falkirk is another school that has started using iAbacus. David Ironside said: “We were looking as a school at ways to further engage with HGIOS and felt the iAbacus software gave staff an easier format to play with.

“We were also looking from an inspection perspective. We felt that the general ease of gathering evidence and storing it electronically in iAbacus gave us a good starting point for any inspection of performance that might be happening.”

We’ve created a series of 30 second videos showing how iAbacus is being used with the HGIOS framework. You can find them at www.iabacus.co.uk/scotland

We’re also offering free, no-obligation trial to schools in Scotland. You can sign up on the website or contact us by phone or email. Let us know which HGIOS themes you want to focus on and we’ll get your free 30-day trial up and running today.

* For anyone who hasn’t heard of it, How Good Is Our School (HGIOS) is the Scottish Government’s framework for school self-evaluation and improvement. Now in its fourth edition, it has been around for over 20 years and is a nationally and internationally recognised brand.