Completing the ‘About our school’ commentary in SPOT
The ‘About our school’ commentary is prepared in SPOT by the principal, supported by relevant leadership staff.
Schools should use the ‘About our school’ commentary to give further context to data contained in the Performance Summary.
Schools are required by legislation to address the following areas in their ‘About our school’ commentary:
- school vision and values
- commentary on progress towards strategic goals
- commentary analysing student attendance for the year.
While the Annual Report is a legislated requirement, it is also a meaningful opportunity for schools to communicate with their community. Schools are encouraged to write their ‘About our school’ commentary in a simple and succinct narrative style. Importantly, schools should articulate their responses using plain-English vocabulary, avoiding jargon and other terminology that may be unfamiliar or inaccessible to the audience.
The ‘About our school’ commentary contains the following sections, with further detail outlined below:
- School context
- Progress towards strategic goals, student outcomes and student engagement:
- Other highlights from the school year (optional)
- Financial performance
Completing the ‘School context’ section (approximately 300 words)
This section of the ‘About our school’ commentary introduces the school and its key contextual factors.
When completing the ‘School context’ section, schools should provide a clear and simple overview of key information about their school. The vision and values of the school should provide framing for this section.
Schools should include the following information in this section:
- an outline of the school vision and values
- school size and structure, including the number of staff
- geographic location
- social and enrolment characteristics
- brief mention of any other notable features of the school (can be elaborated on in upcoming sections if desired).
Completing the ‘Progress towards strategic goals, student outcomes, and student engagement’ section (approximately 900 words)
This section of the ‘About our school’ commentary presents highlights related to the school’s progress towards the goals, strategies and student outcomes outlined in the school’s Strategic Plan and Annual Implementation Plan.
This section provides context for the school community to easily interpret the data featured in the performance summary component of the Annual Report.
Schools should aim to outline approximately 2 to 4 ways the school progressed their strategic goals and supported improvement in learning and wellbeing outcomes. Where appropriate, schools should reference learning and wellbeing data from the performance summary (or other sources as appropriate) to illustrate highlights.
Similarly, schools should aim to outline approximately 2 to 4 highlights related to engagement, which is a key enabler of both student learning and wellbeing, in line with FISO 2.0. Schools should include commentary analysing student attendance for the year, and may also reference other activities related to attendance and retention, student voice and agency, or extracurricular activities and events that support engagement.
Completing the optional ‘Other highlights from the school year’ section (approximately 200 words)
This section of the ‘About our school’ commentary provides an optional opportunity for schools to share other highlights from the school year that may not fit in the above learning, wellbeing or engagement sections.
When completing this optional section, schools could consider significant activities or highlights that brought positive benefit to their school, students or local community, focusing on those things that they are most proud to share with their community
Schools may choose to comment on:
- school camps and excursions
- school productions
- whole school events and/or celebrations
- sporting achievements
- activities undertaken as part of community partnerships or school grants
- environmental programs.
If schools choose not to complete this optional section, their Annual Report will be published with this section hidden.
Completing the ‘Financial performance’ section (approximately 150 words)
This section of the ‘About our school’ commentary outlines the school’s financial position at the conclusion of the previous year. It should support the school community to understand the financial data available through the performance summary.
When completing this section, schools should aim to:
- provide an explanation of the schools’ overall financial position
- identify any extraordinary revenue or expenditure items
- detail any contracts, agreements or arrangements entered into by the school council
- explain the sources of funding the school received, for example, equity funding, special grants or fundraising initiatives, as well as details of any additional state or Australian Government funding the school received beyond the School Resource Package.
Reviewed 27 February 2023