School operations

Flexible Learning Options (FLOs)

3  Quality in Flexible Learning Options

As with all educational settings within the Victorian government system, the focus for Flexible Learning Options (FLOs) should be on student achievement, wellbeing and engagement. FLOs should strive to set high expectations and achieve progress in outcomes for every child or young person, regardless of their starting point, and utilise a range of qualitative and quantitative methods to measure this.

The Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO) provides a basis for education settings to effectively plan and target their resources towards initiatives that will have the greatest impact on improving student outcomes. It is expected that all education settings, including FLOs, engage with FISO to drive student progress.

The expectations of FLOs outlined in this section are closely aligned with evidence of best practice within FLOs across Australia. Specifically, research shows that the following elements are evident in high quality FLOs:

  • students can plan and influence their learning, and have a say in programs that respond to their needs and goals
  • staff build positive, caring relationships with students and take a student-sensitive approach to wellbeing
  • teaching and support assesses and responds to the needs of individual students
  • flexible and challenging curriculum leads to recognised achievement and accreditation
  • strong relationships exist with referring schools, enabling successful student transitions back into mainstream education, training and work
  • teachers are of high quality; knowledgeable, skilled and empathetic, and are provided with ongoing professional learning
  • there is a culture of high expectations for growth, development and achievement for every child or young person
  • targeting of support and resources is systematic and focused on meeting students’ needs
  • effective partnerships provide students with personalised, holistic support, and post-program pathways for success
  • there is strong leadership and governance across partnerships that are committed to improving programs and outcomes for students.

Implementing the FISO Improvement Model

FISO is an evidence-based, system-wide, school-led improvement framework to increase the focus on student learning and build the capacity of the school system in Victoria. Every Victorian government school is supported to implement FISO by focusing on key areas of school improvement known to have the greatest impact.

The FISO Improvement Model has been designed to lift student achievement in all education settings, including FLOs, and for all students, including those with additional needs. Leaders and staff in FLOs should be using FISO to focus their efforts on evidence-based initiatives that will deliver the greatest improvement in outcomes for their students.

FISO Improvement Model

Circular graph showing state-wide priorities that are proven to have a strong bearing on the effectiveness of a school. Described under View FISO Improvement Model In table format
FISO Improvement Model


The graph shows priorities that are proven to have a strong bearing on student achievement, engagement and wellbeing.

There are 4 key priorities which include relevant FISO dimensions. These are:

  • Excellence in teaching and learning​​
    • Evidence-based high impact teaching strategies
    • Curriculum planning and assessment
    • Building practice excellence
    • Evaluating impact on learning.
  • Professional leadership​
    • Building leadership teams
    • Instructional and shared leadership
    • Strategic resource management
    • Vision values and culture.
  • Positive climate for learning
    • Empowering students and building school pride
    • Health and wellbeing
    • Setting expectations and promoting inclusion
    • Intellectual engagement and self awareness.
  • Community engagement in learning​
    • Parents and carers as partners
    • Global citizenship
    • Networks with schools, services and agencies
    • Building communities.


The graph is circular and contains 3 circles. The first circle contains the words 'student achievement, engagement and wellbeing'. Surrounding this, the second circle contains the 4 key priorities broken into colour-coded parts. The third circle contains the relevant FISO dimensions for each key priority, indicated with the corresponding colour.

Download FISO Improvement Model

The Department has provided Specific Guidance to Assist with the Implementation of FISO (login required) within FLOs. The guidance supports the application of the 8 Essential Elements (login required) and provides practical examples of key improvement strategies and actions for FLO environments as a starting point for FLOs as they undertake the stages of the FISO Improvement Cycle.

The 8 essential elements are:

  1. documented curriculum plan, assessment and shared pedagogical approaches
  2. school-based professional learning program developed and implemented that supports the school’s identified improvement strategies
  3. school improvement team formed to develop, oversee and evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the annual implementation plan: for improving student outcomes
  4. student voice, leadership and agency in own learning activated so students have positive school experiences and can act as partners in school improvement
  5. whole school approach to health, wellbeing, inclusion and engagement
  6. moderation of common student assessment tasks
  7. data collection, analysis and evaluation of student learning growth over time
  8. explicit use of evidence-based school improvement strategies and teacher professional practice activities.

FISO Improvement Cycle

Flowchart showing continuous improvement cycle for students. Described in FISO Improvement Cycle link below

The FISO Improvement Cycle allows FLOs to implement a more effective continuous improvement cycle by focusing on better outcomes for students. The pre-review self-evaluation, school review, SSP and AIP all form part of the four-year strategic planning cycle. It is expected that FLOs are incorporated into this cycle through this process.

School strategic plan and annual implementation plan

FLOs should always be captured within the school’s SSP and AIP through key improvement strategies that encompass actions, evidence of impact, activities and milestones, responsibilities, timelines and indicative budget.

School leaders should integrate FLO improvement strategies within the existing school AIP template, or develop a standalone AIP. These are captured using the Strategic Online Planning Tool (SPOT). This decision should be agreed between the principal and the senior education improvement leader (SEIL), based on the:

  • type of FLO (see Table 3 for guidance)
  • size of FLO
  • level of difference in key improvement strategies and FISO focus areas between FLO and host school
  • ability to plan and monitor progress across school. 

It is expected that SSPs and AIPs are regularly updated in line with changing priorities and progress, and should incorporate FLOs where applicable.

Refer to: Annual Implementation Planning (AIP).

Indicative AIP treatment by FLO type*

Flexible government school

AIP to be developed as per existing process and requirements

Flexible learning campuses
  • Separate AIP to be developed for FLO or
  • FLO to be integrated into AIP of host school with separate key improvement strategy element
Flexible in-school programs

FLO to be integrated into AIP of host school with separate key improvement strategy element

*This is intended to be indicative guidance only. Professional judgement of SEILs and principals should always be exercised in determining treatment of SSPs and AIPs for schools with FLOs.

School review process

From 2018 onwards all FLOs will be explicitly included in the school review process. Each year, the Department will identify schools in cycle for review that have an existing FLO campus or in-school program and work with the host school to determine how this FLO setting will be included in the school review process. Flexible government schools will continue with their existing review process arrangements.

Reviews include compliance with the Minimum Standards for School Registration, and take account of the school’s progress towards, and achievement of the goals and targets outlined in their SSP and AIP.

Generally, FLOs will be considered during the review of their host school in cases where they are incorporated within the host school’s AIP. Conversely, in cases where the FLO develops a separate AIP, the review process will be undertaken separately.

However, in all cases the decision for the review process to be undertaken will be based on agreement between the school principal and senior education improvement leader (SEIL), or escalated to the relevant Executive Director, School Improvement if required.

Chapter 3 of the Flexible Learning Options Mandatory Guidance and Procedures on the operational requirements of FLOS, including implementing FISO, school strategic planning, the school review process

Reviewed 10 May 2021

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