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 the school’s values and sets out 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 SSP

  • 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 SEIL are responsible for in the development of the SSP

The principal …

The Senior Education Improvement Leader …

School councillors …

  • briefs the school community about the process of developing the SSP
  • contribute to the development of a long-term view of the school’s directions, based on school review findings

  • assist in setting the school’s purpose and values
  • reviews the findings and recommendations from the self-evaluation and school review

  • identifies key improvement priorities and initiatives, including key risks to achievement

  • develops draft goals, targets, key improvement strategies and actions
  • provides support on reviewing and interpreting findings

  • provides support on identifying key improvement priorities and initiatives 
  • reflect on the findings from the self-evaluation and school review to identify priorities for the school
  • prepares a draft SSP
  • provides support to prepare the draft SSP

  • reviews the draft SSP and provides advice

  • endorse the SSP
  • read and comment on the draft SSP

  • endorse the SSP
  • communicates the SSP
  • communicate the SSP

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.

School council may decide to establish or improve their provision of early childhood education and care i.e. an outside school hours care (OSHC) or kindergarten service, as a part of the strategic planning process. This decision requires an understanding of the legislative framework that applies and the way in which the OSHC service contributes to improving student outcomes. School Council will ensure the policies and practices required under the National Quality Framework (NQF) for the service are compliant.

The NQF provides a national approach to the regulation and quality assessment of early childhood education and care services, which includes OSHC and kindergarten. The NQF operates under the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 (National Law) and the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 (National Regulations).

Engaging the school community

When considering how best to consult with its community, a school might consider what form of consultation has worked well in the past, 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

The president endorses the final SSP, on behalf of the school council, as part of its governance responsibilities. From Term 3, 2018 endorsement of the SSP will occur through SPOT. Councillors need to 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 SSP is a living document and should be reviewed and updated based on the annual self-evaluation. Endorsement by the school’s council and the SEIL is required for significant changes.

Communicating the plan

Councillors support the principal and school leadership team in communicating the SSP 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
Strategic Planning

Risk Management
School Policy and Advisory Guide
National Quality Framework

Guide to Outside School Hours Care Provision


Learning Activity