School planning for curriculum implementation

Advice to support school leaders in aligning curriculum implementation to the Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP).

Framing the support

Curriculum reform involves change that spans many aspects of schooling, including teaching, learning, assessment and reporting to parents. School planning for curriculum implementation is a significant, complex and ongoing process. Effective curriculum implementation drives student growth and attainment, and school improvement. New syllabuses provide schools with a unique opportunity to re-focus and place curriculum at the heart of school planning.

This information is designed to support schools in the provision of high-quality educational outcomes for all students by ensuring that school planning processes recognise the centrality of the curriculum to the domains of learning, teaching and leading.

It addresses the following questions:

  • How can schools develop Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP) initiatives that support curriculum implementation?
  • How can schools align curriculum implementation activities to existing SIP initiatives?
  • How can implementation and progress monitoring (IPM) enhance effective curriculum implementation?
  • How can schools map curriculum implementation activities to the School Excellence Framework (SEF)?
  • What questions and data sources are required to support the evaluation of curriculum reform activities?

In the engage phase, you:

  • lead and support staff to explore aspects of the new syllabus
  • identify and plan for changes required for effective curriculum implementation.

Purpose of resource

School planning for curriculum implementation support provides advice for school leaders in aligning curriculum implementation to the Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP) and in developing implementation and progress monitoring (IPM) aligned to the phases of curriculum implementation.

Target audience

The audience for this resource is school principals, executive teams and school staff. Directors, Educational Leadership (DELs), School Leadership (PSLs), Principals in Residence (PIRs) and Principal Coach Mentors (PCMs) can also use this resource to guide schools with their IPM development.

When and how to use

Curriculum implementation is core and ongoing business in schools and effective curriculum implementation drives student growth and attainment, and school improvement.

New syllabuses provide schools with a unique opportunity to re-focus and place curriculum at the heart of school planning. This resource can be used by schools to align IPM activities, resources and evaluation plans in strategic direction initiatives to the essential work of curriculum implementation.

A range of activities have been included as examples to highlight actions schools may undertake during each phase of curriculum implementation.

Evaluation samples are also included to support the iterative nature of the Question, Data, Analysis, Implications (QDAI) process. There should be a logical connection between evaluation questions, the data that is collected to answer those questions, the analysis of the data, the implications determined from the analysis, and the next activity.

Research base

This resource was developed by Curriculum and Reform. The research base used was NESA’s NSW Curriculum and the department’s What works best in practice.

Contact

Email questions, comments, and feedback about this resource to contactcurriculumreform@det.nsw.edu.au using the subject line ‘School planning for curriculum implementation’.

Alignment to system priorities and/or needs

Alignment to School Excellence Framework

Learning domain – Learning culture, Wellbeing, Curriculum, Assessment, Reporting and Student growth and performance; Teaching domain – Effective classroom practice, Data skills and use, Professional standards and Learning and development; Leading domain - Educational leadership, School planning implementation and reporting, School resources and Management practices and processes

Alignment with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers – 6.3.4, 6.4.4 and 7.2.4

Consulted with – Strategic Delivery, Strategic School Improvement and Transformation representatives, Principal School Leadership and Director Educational Leadership representatives.

Reviewed by – CPL Director and CSL Director.

The phases of curriculum implementation

Effective curriculum implementation is best understood as an iterative journey, rather than a single event.

The following phases of curriculum implementation can be used to guide and align curriculum reform to school planning:

  • Engage – explore aspects of the new syllabus to identify and plan for changes required for successful curriculum implementation
  • Enact – teach, assess and report using the new syllabus and evaluate to refine new practices and systems
  • Embed – strengthen and scale to ensure sustainable practices and systems.

Developing a curriculum implementation SIP initiative

The SIP is a working document outlining the steps schools will take to improve learning outcomes and the achievement and growth of all students. It is developed in collaboration with the school community and underpinned by the SEF, SEF Self-assessment Surveys and the external validation process.

As schools undertake external validation and have the opportunity to develop a new SIP, they should consider including SIP initiatives specific to curriculum implementation or embedding curriculum reform activities in initiatives related to excellence in teaching and learning.

Curriculum reform activities may include:

  • engaging staff and managing change
  • planning and programming
  • resourcing
  • engaging students (including assessment)
  • engaging parents (including reporting)
  • embedding evaluative processes for utilising student progress and achievement data to measure impact
  • improving support for students at all transitions through school planning a school-wide
  • planning to ensure teachers understand and explicitly teach literacy and numeracy through the curriculum.

SIP alignment

Curriculum reform activities should be aligned to existing SIP initiatives that focus on school priorities related to continuous improvement and student learning outcomes. Schools need to consider which of their current initiatives best reflects this focus.

Reflective questions to help schools align curriculum reform activities to their SIP:

  • What activities will the school undertake to engage teachers with the new syllabuses and explore the evidence underpinning these changes?
    • How will such a significant change be managed?
  • What activities and professional learning will the school undertake to support teachers in planning and programming for curriculum implementation?
  • What activities will the school undertake to ensure adequate resourcing for curriculum implementation aligned to new syllabuses?
  • What activities will the school undertake to engage students with the new curriculum? (This will include aligning assessment to new syllabus outcomes)
  • What activities will the school undertake to engage parents with the new curriculum? (This will include reporting to parents)
  • How is continuity of learning prioritised in your current transition process?
  • How are diverse learner needs considered in planning for new curriculum? For example
    • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students
    • high potential and gifted (HPG) students
    • students learning English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D)
    • students with disability.

Developing IPM for curriculum implementation

The purpose of implementation and progress monitoring is to ensure the successful implementation of the initiatives aligned to strategic directions within a school’s SIP. Curriculum reform will be a considerable focus for schools and activities should be embedded into SIP initiatives to support the achievement of improvement measures. Curriculum implementation planning support is available for each phase of curriculum implementation – Engage, Enact and Embed – to assist schools to plan, monitor and evaluate activities.

The Curriculum implementation planning template (DOCX 198 KB) can further support this process.

Engage

Planning support for schools exploring new aspects of the syllabus to identify and plan for changes required for successful curriculum implementation. Sample activities centre around ‘school processes for professional learning and curriculum implementation’ and ‘data collection and analysis to inform teaching and learning’.

Engage planning support

Enact

Support for schools planning to teach, assess and report using the new syllabus and evaluate to refine new practices and systems. It expands on the activities in the Engage phase through the inclusion of a range of tools schools can use to support effective evaluation.

Enact planning support

Embed

Support for schools planning how to strengthen and scale sustainable practices and systems. The Embed phase is an iterative part of curriculum implementation and hence the activities reflect the necessity of developing whole school processes to support ongoing curriculum implementation.

Embed planning support

Curriculum implementation and the SEF

The SEF supports all NSW public schools in their pursuit of excellence by providing a clear description of the key elements of high-quality practice across the 3 domains of learning, teaching and leading. By mapping each phase of curriculum implementation to the SEF, schools can ensure curriculum reform activities reflect the needs of their school context and drive student improvement.

Remember, where possible, schools should triangulate multiple sources of data to ensure perspectives are balanced. They should also apply the principles of evaluative thinking when analysing the data. These principles include:

  • suspending judgement (and being aware of potential bias)
  • asking important questions
  • using existing evidence well
  • strengthening the evidence base.

Evaluating curriculum implementation

Guides for schools in using evaluative thinking practices to plan, monitor and evaluate activities aligned to the phases of curriculum implementation.

Data analysis resources

The data analysis resources can be used to guide schools in using data to monitor and evaluate activities aligned to the phases of curriculum implementation.

Teaching and learning resources

Schools can familiarise staff with the new syllabus by prioritising professional learning from the department’s syllabus-specific Professional learning – Curriculum K–12 catalogue and the NESA Online Learning hub.

Teaching and learning resources supporting curriculum implementation from K–12 across all learning areas are available through Curriculum support and teaching resources.

Category:

  • Teaching and learning

Business Unit:

  • Curriculum and Reform
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