Embed – planning support

Support for school planning in the Embed phase of curriculum implementation and for implementation and progress monitoring (IPM).

Framing the support

In the Embed phase, schools strengthen and scale to ensure sustainable practices and systems.

The activities support school planning and, if used, should be adapted to meet the individual needs of each school. The resource is not intended as an exemplar of best practice, but as a sample that includes a breadth of activities and data sources that schools can draw from and contextualise.

The curriculum implementation planning template (DOCX 198KB) is a complementary resource to guide school planning and the contextualisation of activities, resources and professional learning.

Target audience

The audience for this resource is school principals, executive teams and school staff. Directors, Educational Leadership (DELs) and Principals, School Leadership (PSLs) can also use it 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 current 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 the Embed 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.

Theory of Action

High-level planning for the Embed phase.

Need – to ensure new practices and systems are strengthened and scaled to support improvement in student learning outcomes

If we – sustain a culture of effective, evidence-based reflective teaching and evaluation

And – provide ongoing professional learning

Then – all staff will be able to embed effective curriculum implementation processes and structures across the school

So that – staff development and continuous improvement of student learning outcomes is at the core of teaching and learning.

Planning and evaluating activities

The following activities can be used to support schools to plan, monitor and evaluate activities aligned to the Embed phase of curriculum implementation.

A sample initiative is provided to demonstrate how activities can be aligned to SIP initiatives. The questions and data sources provided are suggestions only. The analysis and implications are included as modelled examples to help guide the QDAI process.

Sample initiative – Effective teaching practices for curriculum implementation

SEF elements – Curriculum, Learning and Development, Data Skills and Use, Educational Leadership, Effective Classroom Practice, School Planning, Implementation and Reporting

Staff engage in professional learning and collaboration to sustain a culture of evidence-based reflective teaching and ongoing improvement of curriculum implementation.

School development day

  • Executive presentation – Evidence-based reflective practice and evaluation. Entry and exit slip survey on staff understanding of and school structures to support reflective practice.
  • Executive team outline model for ongoing reflection – Staff meetings to include regular updates on what is happening across stages and faculties for new syllabuses, with reflection and feedback cycle including staff PMI.
  • Stage or faculty teams plan schedule for reflective practice discussions at stage or faculty meetings and choose reflective questions to support ongoing reflection and improvement of curriculum implementation.
  • ‘Buddies’ complete reflection and evaluation activity using teaching and learning program – identifying strategies and key points for reflection and iterative improvement of programs.

Staff meetings

  • Regular agenda items in staff meetings to support effective communication of system requirements for ongoing curriculum implementation: school Curriculum Reform Coordinator’s CRC report, department policy implications, relevant teaching association and state-wide staffroom updates. Staff meeting minutes template used to ensure reliable data collection.
  • Reflecting on syllabus implementation: Collaborative brainstorm (butchers’ paper or digital tool). Stage and faculty teams rotate around, adding their responses to the questions.
    • What key actions (interventions) supported you to implement the new syllabus?
    • What difference did these actions (interventions) make to teaching and learning?
    • What have we learnt from implementing a new syllabus?
    • In what ways did the team use a solution-focused mindset during implementation?
    • How did the new curriculum impact school planning and resourcing?
    • How can we scale best practice for new syllabuses?

  • Gallery walk or digital sharing of responses – focus on celebrating success and leveraging learning to guide improvement.

Executive meetings

  • Regular item – principal updates executive team on key messages from principal network meeting (DEL communications pack)
  • Reflection on PMI results – what’s working in each stage or faculty and what needs exist?

Stage or faculty meetings

  • Staff professional learning on evaluation tools for curriculum implementation (Resource: ‘How to Use Data for Effective Evaluation’).
  • Stage or faculty teams collaboratively create checklists for evaluation tools (consistent criteria to support triangulation of data).
  • Create evaluation schedule (document analysis and lesson observation – sample documents or lessons only).

Executive team

  • Conduct focus groups with teachers on curriculum implementation – what's working, what’s not, how can we strengthen it?
  • Review collaborative brainstorm and identify key actions needed to support new syllabuses moving forward.

P&C meeting – executive report to parents and carers on key lessons learned from syllabus implementation and reflective practice model for ongoing improvement of curriculum implementation.

Community of Practice meeting (CRC or other)

Sharing what’s working in curriculum implementation across schools to collaboratively strengthen practice. Key themes and actions are recorded on meeting minutes.


Question – In what ways are staff engaging in reflective practices to continually build their capacity and improve curriculum implementation?

Data – Staff meeting entry and exit slip data on reflective practice and school support structures. Stage/faculty reflective practice schedules. Staff PMI results. Collaborative brainstorm. Stage or faculty criteria checklists and evaluation schedules. Teacher focus group notes. Community of Practice meeting minutes.

Analysis – To be completed at this point in time

Implications – Drawn from the analysis and used to inform next actions.

Staff evaluate processes and structures to monitor planning, programming, assessing and reporting.

Stage and faculty meetings

  • Implement evaluation tools schedule (document analysis and lesson observations) using criteria checklist. Schedules include sessions to collect and analyse data from evaluation tools.
  • Discuss and collaboratively analyse implementation data from evaluation tools (document analysis of teaching and learning programs, planning documents or assessment schedules, reporting templates and classroom observations). Identify strengths and processes or structures to scale best practice.
  • Develop an evaluation schedule for student data (formative and summative assessment data (including Check-in assessment), time for data talks, student focus groups on student engagement).
  • Regular meetings focused on student data and reflective practice – sharing what’s working well and what needs exist, recorded using stage or faculty meeting minutes template.

Staff meetings

  • Stages or faculties share key findings from evidence of implementation. Collaborative discussions re best practices to strengthen and scale.
  • Executive presentation – Triangulated TTFM student engagement data and student focus group themes.

School development day or staff meetings

Stages and faculties reflect on barriers and enablers to curriculum implementation, including planning (resourcing, structures in place), programming, assessing and reporting. What communities of practice or collaboration avenues have assisted?

Executive team

  • Analyse stage or faculty meeting minutes about what’s working and needs to identify staff professional learning requirements and refine curriculum implementation plan.
  • Review stage or faculty evaluation tools data.
  • Review student focus group notes.

Parent and community survey to monitor parent and community perceptions about new curriculum implementation, including assessment and reporting.

Executive presentation (to staff and P&C) – Tell Them From Me (TTFM) and internal student engagement data.


Question – To what extent have school processes and structures enabled effective planning, programming, assessing and reporting?

Data – Implementation evaluation data (samples: document analysis of teaching and learning programs, planning documents, assessment schedules, reporting templates, classroom observations). Stage or faculty meeting minutes. TTFM student engagement data, student focus group notes. Parent and community perceptions survey.

Analysis – To be completed at this point in time

Implications – Drawn from the analysis and used to inform next actions

Staff engage in ongoing professional learning and reflective practices, and refine whole school processes to support effective curriculum implementation

Staff feedback session

  • Representatives from stages or faculties who have implemented a new curriculum showcase structures and processes that worked well (gallery walk or presentation)
  • Collaborative discussion focused on enablers, barriers and lessons learned to identify effective curriculum implementation practices and strengths for scaling across the school. Recorded using staff meeting minutes template.
  • Buddies or mentors identified and schedule created to share effective implementation strategies and to establish feedback loops and check-in points (recognising importance of reflection and that different syllabuses may have different enablers/barriers).

P&C or community meeting

Stage or faculty teams showcase successful curriculum implementation and executive team provide overview of how the school is embedding systems and processes for continuous improvement and future strengthening of implementation practice.

Executive team

Plan induction requirements for new staff on effective curriculum implementation to embed sustainable practices. Allocation of experienced mentor, PL on reflective practice and familiarisation with department and school support structures.

Review SIP and consider changes needed for further syllabus implementation (refer to School planning for curriculum implementation).


Question – What are the enablers and barriers for future curriculum implementation?

Data – Staff meeting minutes on enablers, barriers and lessons learned. Buddy or mentor check-in schedule. P&C or community showcase and overview of school processes for continuous improvement

Analysis – To be completed at this point in time

Implications – Drawn from the analysis and used to inform next actions

Staff collect and analyse student and teacher data to evaluate the impact of curriculum change on student learning and strengthen and scale effective curriculum practice.

Executive team

Review stage or faculty student achievement data (NAPLAN, Check-in assessment, formative and summative assessments). Compare with baseline data collected during Enact phase.

P&C meeting

Executive team report to P&C, parents and carers on student data – impact of curriculum change.

Staff meetings

  • Ongoing focus on sharing best practice across KLAs, faculties and stages to strengthen and scale what’s working.
  • Embedding support structures to showcase successful practices and leverage what’s working across areas of the school to support the implementation of new syllabuses as they land.
  • Ongoing use of staff exit slips about confidence and needs – recognising needs, resources and staff capability may be different across KLAs, faculties or stages.

Executive team

  • Analyse staff meeting exit slip data to identify professional learning needs and allocate buddies or mentors as required.
  • Review stage or faculty evaluation tools data to refine implementation plan and IPM activities.


Question – What has been the impact of curriculum change on student learning?  

Data – Student data (NAPLAN, Check-in, internal formative and summative assessment data), baseline student data collected during Enact phase. Staff exit slips on confidence and needs. Stage or faculty evaluation tools data.

Analysis – To be completed at this point in time

Implications – Drawn from the analysis and used to inform next actions


  • Teaching and learning

Business Unit:

  • Curriculum and Reform
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