School operations

School Review

5. What happens during a school review

Validation day

The first formal day of a school review is known as the 'validation day' and is where the panel will:

  • validate the pre-review self-evaluation (PRSE) findings through panel discussions, observations, and other evidence. The panel will review and discuss the information and evidence presented in the PRSE, and any other data or evidence presented to the review panel
  • identify specific areas of the school’s practices, particularly related to the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO 2.0) core elements, that require investigation and analysis through fieldwork
  • develop terms of reference questions to guide inquiry and seek to understand how specific school practices in each of the FISO 2.0 core elements are impacting student learning and wellbeing outcomes. These can be developed in advance for shorter (2-day) reviews
  • plan the approach to fieldwork.

The principal chairs the validation day, the reviewer facilitates, and other panel members actively participate throughout the day.


Fieldwork is undertaken to gather further evidence about school practices and identifies:

  • findings against the terms of reference questions
  • other significant findings, including outcomes and supports for priority cohorts
  • implementation progress of professional learning communities
  • practices against the FISO 2.0 core elements and continua of practice self-assessment
  • where needed, evidence to support the Curriculum and Student Learning Minimum Standard compliance assessment.

The reviewer synthesises and reports fieldwork findings back to the panel.

Fieldwork can take many forms and include classroom and meeting observations, examination of documents, and interviews or focus groups with members of the school community.

The reviewer will lead fieldwork activities, supported by panel members including the senior education improvement leader (SEIL) and challenge partners where available. To preserve independence of the fieldwork, principals and other school leaders do not usually participate in focus groups and interviews, but can participate in classroom observations.

All fieldwork should be completed by the morning of the final panel day, so the panel has sufficient time to develop key directions for the next School Strategic Plan (SSP).

Final panel day

The final panel day is where panels:

  • reflect on data and findings from the review process
  • come to a shared understanding of the schools’ strengths and areas for growth
  • finalise any outstanding discussion of the school’s performance against the past SSP and other significant outcomes or findings
  • agree on the FISO 2.0 continua of practice ratings for each core element
  • agree on next steps, and collaboratively develop the key directions for the new SSP, which articulate the most appropriate goals, targets and key improvement strategies.

For further advice, refer to the Developing key directions for the next School Strategic Plan guidance chapter.

Includes information on the validation day, fieldwork and the final panel day

Reviewed 22 February 2024

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