Emergency notice

This policy is current as at 30/10/2020 03:29am, AEDT. Please refer to policy library website (https://education.nsw.gov.au/policy-library) for an updated version.

School Excellence Policy

Direction for schools on school planning, ongoing self-assessment, annual reporting and external validation.

  1. Policy statement
    1. NSW public schools are committed to pursuing excellence and providing high-quality educational opportunities for all students. This policy provides direction for schools to lead strategic improvement planning and annual reporting, to self-assess, and undertake external validation using the School Excellence Framework.
    2. Schools engage in all aspects of the School Excellence cycle comprising of the Situational Analysis, Strategic Improvement Plan, implementation and progress monitoring of the plan, and an annual reflection of progress and impact.
    3. Strategic improvement planning, implementation and progress monitoring, self-assessment, situational analysis, annual reporting, external validation and school development reviews will be undertaken in accordance with the School Excellence Procedure.
    4. All schools will use the School Planning and Reporting Online (SPaRO) software to undertake and complete their Strategic Improvement Plan, implementation and progress monitoring, self-assessment, situational analysis, annual reporting including reporting on equity, targeted and initiative funding linked to effective practice and improvement measures, and external validation.
    5. All schools will consult their community. Community consultation is embedded in all phases of the School Excellence cycle.
    6. Schools will develop a four-year Strategic Improvement Plan in consultation with their community. The plan has up to three strategic directions with a minimum of two high impact improvement measures for each strategic direction linked to school based targets. These form the basis of the planning cycle in accordance with the purpose and specific context of each school.
    7. For schools with an on-going cohort, Strategic Direction 1 in the Strategic Improvement Plan will be Student growth and attainment. The remaining strategic directions are selected by the school to reflect and respond to their unique context. Schools without an on-going cohort will develop strategic directions related to the broad educational delivery to a range of students within a short time frame rather than a set point in time.
    8. Schools will monitor the progress of their Strategic Improvement Plan in SPaRO. It is best practice for schools to review their activities at least twice a term in SPaRO. All schools will annually evaluate against their progress measures.
    9. The Strategic Improvement Plan will be published on the school’s website by the end of Term 1 in the first year of the 4 year School Excellence cycle. The plan is required as a state record.
    10. Each year, schools will undertake a self-assessment of practice and development, using the School Excellence Framework to identify areas of strength and areas to improve. This will include completing the School Excellence Framework Self-assessment Survey (SEF S-aS) and reporting the findings in the school’s annual report.
    11. Once during the four-year School Excellence cycle, each school will undertake an external validation of evidence of their school self-assessment. Schools engage in discussions with an external panel and have their self-assessments validated using the School Excellence Framework. A panel report will be provided to the school following external validation.
    12. Schools report annually to their communities and the system in the school’s annual report. Schools will publish the annual report on their website by the end of Term 1 of the following school year, which is a state record requirement. The latest annual report will be publicly available.
    13. The School Excellence policy recognises that some schools may require targeted assistance at any point in the School Excellence cycle. Where the Director, Educational Leadership, in consultation with the principal, identifies that a school requires significant assistance in its pursuit of excellence, a school development review may be undertaken.
    14. Recommendations from school development reviews will inform the school’s strategic improvement planning and focus on supporting the principal to shift the school onto a sustainable path of performance and improvement.
  2. Audience and applicability
    1. This policy applies to all staff and communities of NSW public schools.
  3. Context
    1. The NSW Government and the department are committed to providing the highest quality of education for NSW children and to be Australia’s best education system and one of the finest in the world.
    2. The School Excellence Framework is a statement of what is valued as excellence for NSW public schools, both now and into the future, and provides guidance on achieving this. It identifies quality practice across the three key domains of learning, teaching and leading. School excellence is pursued through the components of strategic improvement planning, self-assessment, reporting and external validation to support ongoing school improvement.
    3. Schools will engage their communities in developing a shared vision, identifying strategic directions, and tracking and reporting progress as the basis for achieving school excellence.
    4. Objectivity, transparency and consistency are important elements for ensuring a system-wide approach that supports schools to achieve excellence. The external validation process provides assurances to the school and the community that progress aligns with the expectations articulated in the School Excellence Framework.
    5. An additional process involving school development reviews enables appropriate intervention and support for schools requiring targeted assistance.
  4. Responsibilities and delegations
    1. Principals are responsible for pursuing school excellence and the provision of high-quality educational opportunities for all students by:
      1. leading the school community in developing and successfully implementing the four-year Strategic Improvement Plan
      2. endorsing the strategic improvement planning process as an accurate representation of community consultation and evidence-informed decision-making
      3. confirming the completion of each aspect of the Strategic Improvement Plan using the conversation guide in SPaRO, with their Director, Educational Leadership
      4. publishing the Strategic Improvement Plan on the school’s website by the end of Term 1 at the start of a School Excellence cycle. Publish any updates made to the plan during the cycle annually, by the end of Term 1 of the current year. The plan will be archived as a state record
      5. leading a collaborative, ongoing process of self-assessment that involves critical and authentic reflection of the school’s progress supported by evidence collected over time
      6. monitoring the implementation of the Strategic Improvement Plan and making necessary adjustments as required
      7. using the School Excellence Framework to lead the ongoing assessment of the school’s practices to inform the Strategic Improvement Plan and the annual report. This includes the annual completion of the School Excellence Framework Self-assessment Survey by the end of Term 1 of the following school year
      8. leading the preparation of the annual report, which reflects the school’s achievements and meets the department’s reporting requirements
      9. publishing the annual report by the end of Term 1 of the following year. The document will be archived as a state record.
      10. leading the preparation of a submission for external validation. The submission will include evidence from the school’s self-assessment processes on the school’s achievements and ongoing progress using the School Excellence Framework
      11. taking appropriate action following an external validation
      12. actioning any recommendations from school development reviews, if undertaken.
    2. Principals, School Leadership are responsible for pursuing school excellence and providing high quality educational opportunities for all students by:
      1. supporting the school in the strategic improvement planning, self-assessment and annual reporting processes
      2. working collaboratively with principals and school teams (when requested), to prepare the school’s external validation submission
      3. leading external validations with a principal colleague. Principals, School Leadership only lead external validation panels for schools they have not previously supported in preparing the school’s external validation submission.
    3. Directors, Educational Leadership are responsible for pursuing school excellence and and providing high quality educational opportunities for all students by:
      1. supporting principals to engage in all aspects of the School Excellence cycle
      2. engaging in regular professional conversations with the principal regarding the school’s Strategic Improvement Plan, self-assessment and annual report
      3. confirming the completion of each aspect of the Strategic Improvement Plan using the conversation guide in SPaRO with the principal
      4. approving the school’s Strategic Improvement Plan before it is published
      5. monitoring the implementation of Strategic Improvement Plans and annual reporting processes for compliance with legislative and policy requirements
      6. working collaboratively with principals and school teams to prepare the school’s external validation submission
      7. affirming the school’s external validation submission as being a true and accurate representation of the school’s processes in strategic improvement planning, self-assessment and reporting
      8. nominating schools to the Executive Director, School Performance for a school development review, where appropriate and following consultation with the principal
      9. leading a team to undertake a school development review and determining appropriate strategies for implementation at the school, in consultation with the principal
      10. producing a school development review report for the principal and the Executive Director, School Performance with the findings and recommendations of the review
      11. supporting the principal to take appropriate action following an external validation and to implement any recommendations from a school development review, if undertaken.
    4. The Executive Director, Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation liaises with the Executive Director, Leadership and High Performance to report to the Secretary on data from the School Excellence Framework Self-assessment Survey and external validation process.
    5. The Director, High Performance provides digital copies of the annual report and strategic improvement plan of all government schools to State Archives and Records each year, as required by the State Archives and Record Authority of New South Wales Functional Retention and Disposal Authority: FA387.
  5. Monitoring and review
    1. The Director, High Performance monitors the implementation of this policy and reviews its contents for relevance and accuracy every three years or as needed.
  6. Contact
    1. Director, High Performance
      sparo@det.nsw.edu.au

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