School operations

School Review

2 Aligning school reviews and the Education State

2.1 Planning with purpose

We share a common purpose to develop a Victorian school system in which all students are empowered to learn and achieve, experiencing high quality teacher practice and have the best conditions for learning which equip them with the knowledge, skills and dispositions for lifelong learning and shaping the world around them. With this as our focus, we create pathways for all students to succeed regardless of background or circumstance.

To achieve this vision, ambitious Education State school targets focus our efforts on the range of factors that allow students to develop and achieve their best. The targets promote excellence in our curriculum, resilience in our students, pride in our schools and strengthen pathways towards better outcomes.

The new school review model for Victorian government schools is a collaborative and transparent process to improve learning outcomes, promote excellence across the curriculum and enhance the health and wellbeing of students. The model acknowledges that placing high achievement in the grasp of every student requires planned and deliberate improvement in every school. Every review informs the development of an evidence-based and collaborative four-year School Strategic Plan that guides each school’s improvement journey.

2.2 Education State targets

Education State targets are school targets

The Education State targets focus efforts on supporting students to achieve their best. The four aspirational target areas outline what Victoria wants to achieve and give schools direction on what to accomplish for students.

Accelerating momentum, maintaining effort

The Education State targets facilitate a shared objective for Victorian schools and their communities. To achieve these targets, schools complete a school strategic plan to identify priorities for the next four years. These plans are operationalised through Annual Implementation Plans (AIP).

The review model supports schools with an agile and open approach to achieving the Education State targets.

To construct a School Strategic Plan, schools evaluate current practices and receive feedback from educational experts, school leaders, the school community and its students. Support and advice will be available to all schools through this process to promote effective leadership, best teaching and the design and implementation of an innovative curriculum. Creating a high performing school system is a collaborative effort.

Education State targets

Education State targets
Education State targets

Education State targets

Each element is in a continuous circle

Pride and confidence in our schools

  • Raise the level of community pride and confidence in Victorian schools

Happy, healthy and resilient

  • More students will be physically active
  • More students will be resilient

Learning for life

  • More students excel in scientific literacy
  • More students develop strong critical and creative thinking skills
  • More students excel in the arts
  • More students excel in reading and mathematics
  • More students students stay in education for better pathways
  • Reduce the impact of disadvantage
Download Education State targets

While there is a shared responsibility across the government school system for realising Education State targets, the new school review model also recognises that every school is different.

Each school reflects the aspirations and needs of its students and local community and differs in its performance across the dimensions of school improvement. Schools need to have the flexibility to develop plans for improvement that are best suited to their situation.

‘A school as a learning organisation has the capacity to change and adapt routinely to new environments and circumstances as its members, individually and together, learn their way to realising their vision.’

Responding to change

There is a radical shift happening in the workplace that will change the fundamental skills required of prospective labour markets. Our students are preparing for workplaces that require broad and adaptable skills, knowledge and competencies. Our education system requires bold, far-reaching reforms to empower our students for future opportunities.

‘Teachers do what they do to prepare the next generation to be fully realised individuals and to create a better society — the heart of what education is for.’ii

New evidence about learning is also deepening our understanding of what works in education. The Education State targets establish an agenda for change to produce life-long learners, who are knowledgeable, self-assured, creative and resilient citizens. School reviews emphasise change that realises that agenda.

The FISO improvement model

The FISO improvement model diagram
The FISO improvement model

Student achievement, engagement and wellbeing

Each of the following elements is in a continuous circle

Positive climate for learning

  • Empowering students and building school pride
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Setting expectations and promoting inclusion
  • Intellectual engagement and self awareness

Excellence in teaching and learning

  • Evidence-based high impact teaching strategies
  • Curriculum planning and assessment
  • Building practice excellence
  • Evaluating impact on learning

Community engagement in learning

  • Partners and carers as partners
  • Global citizenship
  • Networks with schools, services and agencies
  • Building communities

Professional leadership

  • Vision values and culture
  • Strategic resource
  • Networks with schools, services and agencies
  • Building communities
Download The FISO improvement model

Improvement cycle

Improvement cycle
Improvement cycle

Improvement cycle

  • Evaluate and diagnose
  • Prioritise and set goals
  • Develop and plan
  • Implement and monitor
Download Improvement cycle

The FISO improvement model identifies priority areas known to improve student outcomes. The improvement cycle steps out the process that brings FISO to life by progressively enriching our understanding of how school practices influence their performance.

2.3 Framework for Improving Student Outcomes

The Education State school targets express our shared purpose to create and sustain a Victorian government school system in which every student is stimulated to learn and achieve. The Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO) distils what we know, through research and practice, to support schools in how best to achieve this purpose. FISO increases the focus on student learning and the areas known to have the greatest impact on school improvement.

The key elements of the framework are:

The improvement model provides a common language for school improvement across the Victorian government school system. It is structured around four state-wide priorities that are proven to have a strong bearing on the effectiveness of a school:

Improvement cycle

Improvement cycle
Improvement cycle

Improvement cycle

  • Evaluate and diagnose
  • Prioritise and set goals
  • Develop and plan
  • Implement and monitor
Download Improvement cycle

‘Over the long term, the primary standpoint for judging any school reform is very clear: have substantial improvements in student learning occurred?’iii

School review is a key component of the ‘evaluate and diagnose’ phase of the improvement cycle. Leading into the school review, schools conduct an in-depth pre-review self-evaluation (PRSE) of their practices and data, determining their progress against the four-year goals and targets in their School Strategic Plan.

The self-evaluation is a key focus of the review, providing a basis for the school review panel’s (the panel) discussion and exploration of the school’s performance and practices. The review provides recommendations of key directions for the school’s improvement journey, which leads into the ‘prioritise and set goals’ phase of the improvement cycle. These goals, targets and key improvement strategies (KIS) inform the new School Strategic Plan, with the priorities flowing down into AIPs and staff performance and development plans.

The improvement measures are a range of data sets across various aspects of schooling that provide schools with a reliable instrument to evaluate and monitor the effect of their self-improvement efforts on student outcomes. The measures assist schools in implementing the improvement cycle, providing a common evidence base for self-evaluation, strategic planning and assessment of the school’s performance against the School Strategic Plan and AIPs.

FISO is supported by the Continua of Practice for School Improvement, which includes the essential elements for school improvement. By describing a range of proficiency levels, the Continua assists principals and teachers to identify areas of practice that require attention and constructive change in order to deliver improved student outcomes.

The Continua assists principals and teachers to:

  • use evidence and observations to self-evaluate their current practice
  • locate their performance on an improvement-focused continuum
  • understand what improved practice looks like develop a shared language for describing
  • educational practice
  • engage in conversations about improving professional practice

Each continuum describes a range of practices across four proficiency levels (Emerging, Evolving, Embedding, Excelling).

Cohesion and consistency in planning for improvement

There is clear alignment between the Education State targets, the school review process, and school planning for improvement. The PRSE and school review inform the development of the School Strategic Plan goals and targets.

The Education State targets also guide the goals and targets, which in turn contribute to the achievement of the Education State targets. The School Strategic Plan’s goals and targets are operationalised and monitored through AIPs and shape performance and development plans for all school staff.

Guidance chapter on aligning the school review with the Education State

Reviewed 13 June 2020

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