2.2 Prioritise and set goals

Why is this topic important?

The school strategic plan is the school’s statement to its community about what it stands for and intends to do over the next four years to improve student outcomes. It defines what the school values most and sets out the school’s goals, targets and key strategies for improvement. It also influences resourcing priorities. It provides an important means for involving the school community in setting the school’s directions.

On completing this unit, school councillors should be able to:

  • support the development of a long term view of the school’s direction
  • help engage the community in the development of the strategic plan
  • provide feedback on the draft plan
  • consider the plan for endorsement
  • help communicate the plan to the community.

The following table shows what councillors, the principal and leadership team, and the Senior Education Improvement Leader are responsible for in the development of the school strategic plan.

The principal …

The Senior Education Improvement Leader …

School councillors …

  • briefs the school community about the process of developing the strategic plan
  • develop a long term view of the school’s directions
  • assist in setting the school’s purpose and values
  • reviews the findings and recommendations from the self-evaluation and review process
  • identifies key improvement priorities and initiatives
  • develops drafts goals, targets key improvement strategies and actions
  • provides support on reviewing and interpreting findings
  • provides support on identifying key improvement priorities and initiates
  • reflect on the findings from the self-evaluation and school review to identify priorities for the school
  • prepares a draft
  • provides support to prepare the draft strategic plan
  • reviews the draft strategic plan and provides advice
  • obtains endorsements for the plan by the Regional Director
  • read and comment on the draft plan
  • endorse the plan
  • communicates a draft plan
  • communicates a draft plan

Strategic Planning

Councillors make an important contribution to the strategic planning process through their contribution to determining a long-term view of where the school is headed, and why.

They can do this by:

  • contributing to the development of the school’s purpose and values
  • reflecting on the findings and recommendations of the school’s self-evaluation and school review ensuring that the school’s profile and environmental context is considered
  • supporting the identification of environmental factors likely to influence the way the school operates over the next four years such as changing demographics, employment patterns and student and parent expectations
  • assisting in the identification of goals, targets and improvement strategies, and advising how success can be measured
  • assisting in the identification of key risks and mitigation strategies
  • checking there is a clear line of sight between the findings of the school review, and the goals and actions
  • testing that effective implementation and monitoring can occur as a result of strategic planning.

Engaging the school community

When considering how best to consult with its community, a school might consider what form of consultation has worked well before, the resources available to the school for consultation, and the geographic spread and diversity of the community.

Opportunities for face-to-face consultations include forums, small group discussions, working groups and inviting observers to relevant parts of council meetings. Other opportunities for consultation include surveys of parents/guardians, coverage of the planning process in the school newsletter with an invitation to readers to comment, and suggestion boxes.

Endorsing the school strategic plan

School council must endorse the final plan as part of its governance responsibilities. To do so, councillors must assure themselves that the plan:

  • reflects the community’s values and views about the school’s purpose and direction and that the goals and targets in the plan are consistent with these views
  • draws on the findings of the school self-evaluation and review
  • provides a concise and clear picture of what the school wants to achieve over the next four years and the broad steps that will be undertaken to achieve this.

The school’s strategic plan is a living document and should be reviewed and updated based on the annual self-evaluation. Endorsement by the school council and the Senior Education Improvement Leader is required for significant changes.

Communicating the plan

Councillors support the principal and leadership team in communicating the plan to the school community.

They can do this by:

  • drawing on information in the plan when discussing issues with the school community; for example, to answer questions about what the school is doing to improve numeracy levels
  • referring to the plan when opportune; for example, in meetings with parents/guardians and at open days
  • supporting the principal at formal community reporting meetings; for example, when the annual report is presented to the community
  • making reference to the plan when writing reports in school newsletters
  • displaying the plan in school reception areas, on notice-boards, in offices, in classrooms and on websites
  • encouraging celebration of important achievements, for example, at assemblies, in the newsletter or at a special function.

Resources and links



Framework for Improving Student Outcomes

Framework for improving Student Outcomes-internal eduGate site

Risk Management


Learning Activity