School operations

School Review

3. Preparing for a school review

This chapter provides information on the notification process and how to prepare for the review, including professional learning and establishing the review panel. For information on completing the pre-review self-evaluation, refer to the Pre-review self-evaluation guidance chapter.

Notification about the review

The School Review Unit emails principals by the end of Term 2 in the year prior to review to confirm:

  • the allocated term of review, noting senior education improvement leaders (SEILs) will discuss suitable timing with the principal and communicate preferences to the School Review Unit in advance
  • how to register for school review professional learning
  • any additional supports or flexibility that are available for specific school contexts and settings. For more information refer to the Advice for small schools and Advice for specialist and specific purpose school settings guidance chapters
  • the date when the school’s PRSE template will be available in the Strategic Planning Online Tool (SPOT). For more information refer to the Pre-review self-evaluation guidance chapter.

Reviewers will contact principals and SEILs 2 terms before the review to introduce themselves, arrange the preparation meeting and set specific school review dates.

The school’s SEIL and reviewer will advise the principal of their school’s number of allocated fieldwork days for the review.

Professional learning for principals and school leaders

Professional learning is offered to principals 2 terms before their review. All sessions are optional, and principals can choose to invite other members of the leadership team or staff to attend.

Professional learning includes:

  • webinar overview of the school review structure and process
  • PRSE-specific workshop with activities to assist schools to plan and commence their PRSE. A tailored workshop is offered to schools with 200 enrolments or fewer.

For schools with 30 enrolments or fewer, a special half-hour pre-review briefing for the principal, SEIL and reviewer is held online and coordinated by the School Review Unit the term prior to the review.

Principals unable to attend the professional learning can email to request session recordings and a short individual briefing from the School Review Unit if required.

Preparation meeting

The preparation meeting is usually scheduled one to 2 terms prior to the review and is for the principal, reviewer and SEIL to:

  • develop a shared understanding of their roles
  • discuss and book dates for the review (if not agreed sooner)
  • plan the first in-school review day (the validation day), including the agenda and a schedule and questions for classroom observations and any focus groups. For more information on the validation day refer to the What happens during a school review guidance chapter
  • discuss the status of the PRSE and any additional data and supporting evidence.

Other school staff can be included in the preparation meeting if desired.

For shorter (2-day) reviews, the terms of reference focus questions are developed during the preparation meeting (for other schools, these are developed during the validation day).

Communicate with the school community about the review

The school principal should use their existing communication channels to let the school community, including staff, students, families and school council members know about the review and how they can contribute, including:

  • the purpose and benefits of school review
  • when the review is scheduled
  • opportunities for school community members to get involved with the PRSE and the review (for example, focus groups, interviews, surveys)
  • how review findings will be shared back to the school community and used after the review.

For advice on engaging the school community in preparation of the PRSE refer to the Pre-review self-evaluation guidance chapter. School community members should also be engaged in the review through fieldwork, described further in the What happens during a school review guidance chapter.

Guidance chapter on preparing for a school review

Reviewed 22 February 2024

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