Strategic Improvement Plan

This working document details the steps your school will take to improve learning outcomes and the achievement and growth of all students.

Image: Planning for improvement in a strategic and collaborative way

Why does your school need a Strategic Improvement Plan?

It is a requirement that all NSW government schools develop and publish a Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP).

A Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP) is a working document that details the steps your school will take to improve learning outcomes, and the achievement and growth of all students. To ensure continuous improvement, the Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP) reflects where your school is at and how it will further improve learning, teaching and leading.

For school support for the Strategic Improvement Plan, visit the school excellence in Action support page.

Policy and context

Schools engage in all aspects of the School Excellence cycle. This includes developing a Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP) in consultation with their community. The SIP has up to 3 strategic directions and associated improvement measures which form the basis of each planning cycle. One of these strategic directions will be ‘Student growth and attainment’ for all schools. The remaining strategic directions are chosen by each school to reflect and respond to their unique context.

The Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP) is approved by the Director, Educational Leadership and published on the school’s website by the end of Term 1 at the commencement of a planning cycle. The Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP) is also required as a state archive.

Your school will develop a comprehensive Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP) in consultation with the school community, identifying student outcomes to be achieved and connected to the budget.

The Strategic Improvement Plan

The Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP):

  • is underpinned by the School Excellence Framework (SEF), SEF Self-assessments and the external validation process
  • clearly identifies the expected improvement in learning, teaching and leading aligned to specific strategies, initiatives, resources and professional learning
  • includes strategic directions and the improvement measures against which your school's impact will be monitored and evaluated
  • clearly reflects the department’s strategic plan and Premier’s priorities
  • demonstrates your school’s commitment to excellence and equity as part of NSW public education
  • is clearly linked to the school budget, reflecting the resources that will be used to achieve the planned improvements
  • is underpinned by high impact teacher professional learning to build the capabilities of teachers and school leaders.

The School Excellence Policy provides direction for schools on school planning, ongoing self-assessment, annual reporting and external validation.

Animation - Resourcing your SIP

A school's Strategic Improvement Plan maps the steps towards improved student outcomes. Find out how your SBAR allocation can resource your SIP to deliver school improvement and excellence.

When we work towards being a great school that meets the needs of all of our students, we focus on creating the best conditions for student growth, attainment and wellbeing. In so doing, we consider the most effective use of needs-based funding and the strategic allocation of our resources.

Our resources need to be targeted to the school initiatives within the Strategic Improvement Plan, then monitored and evaluated regularly throughout the year.

New guides and online tools have been developed to support schools in using the available resources effectively, to best meet student needs. This creates strong links between the effective use of school resourcing, the school’s Strategic Improvement Plan and improved student outcomes.

Effective resourcing considers your school’s context and needs, and focuses on the impact funding has made on achieving your strategic directions and improvement measures.

Unpacking your School Budget Allocation Report (SBAR) will identify the human and financial resources available to support your school’s strategic directions and other priorities.

A funding source table has been built into the School Planning and Reporting Online tool to assist with planning and monitoring your SBAR allocations and to help evaluate and adjust resources throughout the year. It’s important that the funding is used for students in the year in which it is allocated.

When developing your four-year Strategic Improvement Plan, it’s essential to describe the measurable impacts you’re aiming to achieve, and to ensure that the needs of all your students, including equity groups, are considered.

Allocate the available human and financial resources to the planned activities within your evidence-based initiatives. If needed, you can reallocate resources to achieve your annual progress and improvement measures.

During your annual reflection, ensure that needs-based funding aligns with improved student learning and wellbeing outcomes.

Publish your annual report before the end of Term 1 each year.

It is essential that accountability for the effective use of needs-based funding extends well beyond financial expenditure to evaluating the impact of these funds on student learning and wellbeing.

In doing so, we can reduce the impact of disadvantage and support a brighter future for all of our students.

Visit the NSW Education website and search ‘School Excellence’ to find the School Excellence in Action website and refer to the guide for resourcing your Strategic Improvement Plan.

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What the SIP is and what it isn't

  • based on your school's situational analysis and the School Excellence Framework
  • recognises the importance of a sharp, deep focus on strategic areas to address improvement
  • improvement focused with a clear vision for student achievement
  • a consultative process including all stakeholders
  • based on authentic school practice and reflections on practice
  • focused on collection, analysis, reflection and evaluation of evidence
  • based on improvement measures aligned to your school's current state.
  • based on opinion and personal preferences
  • focused on validation or external views
  • for school leadership teams exclusively
  • part of an inspection process
  • leading to external rankings for schools.

Strategic Improvement plan support

Support for the Strategic Improvement plan including SIP samples and the process document for Principals and DELs is available on the Strategic Improvement plan support webpage (staff only).

Learn more

Find more information about School Excellence in Action or contact the team at

Strategic Improvement plan support (staff only).


  • Teaching and learning


  • Educational governance
  • High performance
  • Leadership and management
  • Planning, budgeting and forecasting
  • Reporting and performance
  • School Excellence Framework
  • Teaching

Business Unit:

  • Public Schools
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