School excellence

School Excellence is at the core of all work across NSW Public Schools, focusing on continuous school improvement. School excellence encompasses all areas of school planning, ongoing self-assessment, reporting and external validation.

School Excellence policy

The School Excellence policy provides direction for schools in planning, self-assessment and annual reporting, and is supported by implementation guidelines. The amended policy, released in Term 3, 2017, strengthens the roles and responsibilities of principals and Directors, Educational Leadership in the pursuit of school excellence and incorporates the use of School Planning and Reporting Online (SPaRO) into the requirements.

See a vodcast below by Murat Dizdar, Deputy Secretary, School Operations and Performance, introducing the amended policy and School Excellence implementation guidelines (6 mins 35 secs).

School Excellence policy amendment.

Transcript of School Excellence policy amendment vodcast.

School Excellence approach

The approach to school excellence is built on a single, integrated school plan and annual report that incorporates a strong self-assessment process. The School excellence diagram (PDF 323KB) highlights the process that schools engage with to pursue growth and excellence. It brings together the components that make up the School Excellence reform. It illustrates the ongoing cycle of self-assessment, reporting, planning and external validation.

In addition, schools may engage in a school development review. These reviews must be conducted in line with the School development review procedures (PDF 194KB). A School development review manual (staff only) (DOCX 418KB) has been developed to provide further support..

School excellence flow chart
Image: School excellence flow chart.


  • attract funding
  • engage in changed practice
  • measure the impact of their practices on a regular basis.

The school excellence cycle includes:

  • needs-based funding
  • evidence
  • community consultation
  • school plan and budget
  • self-assessment
  • external validation
  • annual reporting.

The following video 'The journey to School Excellence' (2 mins 13 secs) is an animation demonstrating the link between Local Schools, Local Decisions (LSLD), RAM and School Excellence.

The journey to School Excellence.

Transcript of 'The journey to School Excellence' video.


System requirements

System requirements for viewing the SPaRO software are:

  • Internet Explorer 11
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Chrome
  • Safari.

Schools should ensure that they are using the DoE Standard Operating Environment (SOE). Schools that do not have the latest operating system and associated software are advised to use the department's software catalogue to bring their machine/s in line with DoE standards. Schools should contact their field services IT team or EDConnect for assistance.

School Excellence Framework

The school planning and reporting approach is underpinned by the School Excellence Framework (SEF), found on the School Excellence policy site. The School Excellence Framework, supports all NSW public schools in their pursuit of excellence by providing a clear description of quality practice across the key domains of education - learning, teaching and leading - to inform and guide decision-making by principals. The framework is evidence-based and identifies explicit school practices that are directly related to continuous, school-wide improvement and better student outcomes.

Further information

The My School Website is a resource for parents, educators and the community to receive information about individual schools.

Schools can refer to the ACARA website for information on school curriculum, assessment and reporting.

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