Strategic directions template

School planning and monitoring is supported by a clear and structured interface in the SPaRO software.

Your school can enter improvement measures, initiatives, success criteria and an evaluation plan for each strategic direction using the SPaRO interface. The following example is for Strategic direction 1: Student growth and attainment.

Image: SPaRO interface

Improvement measures and targets

Improvement measures and targets support you and other school leaders to lead improvement in your unique school contexts, and to have sharper, more focused conversations about school improvement.

They inform the setting of clearer goals and better guide the assessment of progress, further supporting the work that school leaders, staff and their communities do every day to improve outcomes for every student in every classroom.

Terms and definitions

  • Improvement measure: an improvement measure is a statement of the impact that will be achieved by the expected year of the School Excellence cycle through your Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP).
  • Target: a target is the measurable value or impact that the school is aiming to achieve. It can also be stated as a range from the baseline to the target value.
Your school will use 2 categories of targets:
  • System-negotiated targets - these are a specific set of targets determined by the principal in consultation with their Director, Educational Leadership, and aligned to the Premier's Priorities and targets within those priorities. Some system-negotiated targets are 2 or 3 year targets, but will be published in the 'Improvement measures' field of your Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP).
  • School-determined targets - these are determined by the school.

From 2021, if your school has a sufficient student cohort it will, through consultation with your Director, Educational Leadership (DEL), use the system-negotiated targets established to set challenging and achievable improvement measures in your Strategic Improvement Plan.

Strategic direction 1: 'Student growth and attainment' may contain specific system-negotiated targets. Your school context will guide the development of your Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP), and system-negotiated targets can be placed in the most relevant strategic direction.

Further information

For further detail regarding what system-negotiated targets should be included as improvement measures and where in your Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP) they should be located, please refer to the system-negotiated targets table.

When entering your system-negotiated targets in the 'Improvement measures' field in SPaRO, ensure that you select the correct 'Achieve by year'.

Note: For small schools, special purpose schools (SSPs) and newly opened schools, please refer to Strategic planning for unique school contexts for advice on improvement measures.

How are system-negotiated targets included in your SIP?

System-negotiated targets must be included as improvement measures in the public-facing section of your school’s plan, alongside other improvement measures identified by the school as appropriate.


  1. Option 1: Schools may state the baseline and agreed range of the system-negotiated target: For example: the % of students achieving top 2 bands in reading increases from 50% (baseline) to 57%-63% (range) by 2022.
  2. Option 2: Schools may state the agreed uplift in their improvement measure as a target. For example: the % of students achieving top 2 bands in reading increases by 7% by 2022.

Your school will identify a minimum of 2 high-impact improvement measures for each strategic direction against which the school’s Strategic Improvement Plan will be monitored and evaluated using annual progress measures. Improvement measures should:

  • include targets and be achievable by the expected year of the 4 year cycle
  • be measurable against baseline data
  • relate to the specific strategic direction and reflect the outcome intended by the purpose statement
  • align clearly to the initiatives, success criteria and evaluation
  • be fair, transparent and easy to communicate and justify
  • reportable at both the local school community and system level.

  • How do the improvement measures relate to the needs we identified in the situational analysis?
  • Does the measure reflect and effectively capture the intent of the purpose statement?
  • Is the improvement measure specific, measureable, relevant and achievable within a realistic time frame?
  • How has baseline data, research, evidence and policy informed the improvement measure?
  • Are the improvement measures high-level statements against which we can monitor and evaluate the impact of the processes?
  • How have system-negotiated and school-determined targets been considered and included in the improvement measures?
  • Are the improvement measures clearly linked to the initiatives?
  • Does the measure align with the success criteria?
  • Will the improvement measures capture what we set out to improve and the impact on students?
  • Does the improvement measure accurately quantify or qualify the expected change?


Initiatives are:

  • high-level projects and/or processes that schools undertake in order to achieve the improvement measures
  • high impact statements that describe how the strategic direction purpose statement is going to be achieved
  • planned, monitored and evaluated through implementation and progress monitoring section of the school plan in SPaRO.

Each school will:

  • consider quality over quantity through a narrow and deep lens
  • include the high level strategy or overview of how each initiative will be achieved across the 4 years.

  • How do the initiatives clearly align with the strategic direction?
  • Do the initiatives describe how the strategic direction purpose statement is going to be achieved?
  • Will the implementation of these initiatives achieve the improvement measures and success criteria for each strategic direction?
  • How have the initiatives been broken down into significant activities across the 4 years covered by the plan?
  • To what extent will the initiatives lead to transformational change in our school?
  • How do resources strategically support the initiatives? Does our needs-based funding support initiatives that will impact on student learning?
  • What professional learning is required to support our students, staff and community in achieving the initiative/s?
  • How is high impact professional learning for our staff linked to the initiative/s?
  • Have we ensured a narrow and deep focus within our initiatives?
  • Are any of our initiatives too big? Do we need to break them down further?
  • Are any of our initiatives too small and are there too many of them to track?

Success criteria

Success criteria articulate observable characteristics of the intended future state for the school once their improvement measures in the Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP) have been achieved. They describe what success looks like in line with the descriptors within the School Excellence Framework (SEF).

Success criteria may include:

  • sustained learning, teaching and leadership behaviours
  • changed practices of your students, staff and leaders
  • a shift in your school learning culture
  • improved student outcomes
  • enhanced teacher capability
  • effective use of available resources within a set period of time (as in the school calendar year) to drive desired improvement.

Examples of school’s identifying improvement measures

  • An increase in the percentage of Year 9 students achieving or exceeding expected growth in Numeracy from 59.7% to upper bound target of 65.8%. The success criteria could be ‘Reliable formative and summative assessment supports learning across the school and forms an integral part of daily classroom instruction’.

Note: This success criteria is a combination of sustaining and growing and excelling within the learning domain element of ‘assessment’.

  • ‘Excelling in Data skills and use’ as measured by the SEF. The success criteria could be ‘Student assessment data is regularly used school wide to identify student learning and progress, reflect on teaching effectiveness and inform future directions’.

Note: This success criteria has come from the statement of excellence for the teaching domain element ‘data skills and use’.

  • Do the success criteria provide a clear statement of what we will do differently and what we will observe when this occurs?
  • How has data, research, evidence and policy informed the success criteria?
  • How will transformational change come about due to these success criteria?
  • Do the success criteria reflect the School Excellence Framework?
  • How do the success criteria clearly identify changes in behaviour practice and student learning in and across our school community?
  • In what ways do the success criteria align with the whole strategic direction?
  • Is there strong alignment between the improvement measures and the success criteria?
  • Can the success criteria be achieved by the identified initiatives?

Evaluation plan

The evaluation plan outlines the strategies that will be used in self-assessment processes to determine the progress and impact of your strategic direction. The data and evidence identified in this section provides information to assist in decision-making.

The approach for measuring achievement of the strategic direction should be entered in the evaluation column.

The evaluation plan is part of your published, public-facing SIP and should address:

  • What is being evaluated?
  • What data will be collected to evidence this?
  • How and by whom will this data be collected?

Regular gathering of data for evaluation may include:

  • analysis of your school-based data
  • external assessment data
  • feedback from your project teams, staff, community and focus groups
  • surveys
  • photos, video and other media
  • analysis of flexible school budget spend – have we used needs-based funding for the purpose it was intended and do we need to adjust our budget?

The data should correlate with and validate your school’s improvement measures and include:

  • qualitative and quantities sources
  • internal and external sources.

Evaluative thinking process

‘Question, Data, Analysis, Implications (QDAI)’ is an example of an evaluative thinking process. The QDAI approach has been included in some of the sample Strategic Improvement Plans.


To what extent have we achieved our purpose?


We will use a combination of data sources, such as:

  • internal assessments
  • external assessments
  • PLAN2
  • surveys
  • observation
  • focus groups
  • interviews
  • document analysis
  • resource allocation analysis


Analysis will be embedded within the project through progress and implementation monitoring. Annually the school will review progress towards the improvement measures.


  • The findings of the analysis will inform future actions.
  • Annual reporting on school progress measures - published in the annual report and published on the school website at the end of Term 1 each year.

  • Is the purpose of the evaluation clear?
  • Does the evaluation include relevant processes, practices and evidence sources that can be used to monitor progress and impact?
  • What qualitative and quantitative data sources are available and are these relevant to the improvement measures?
  • Will the evaluation plan allow us to determine the extent to which the purpose of the strategic direction will be achieved?

Where to next?

Your Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP) will need to be finalised for school website publication before the end of Term 1 in the first year of the plan. This will involve developing some implementation and progress monitoring processes that are not included in the public facing part of the plan. See Implementation and progress monitoring and the following information.

  • Backward map annual progress measures from the improvement measures to give annual steps that are achievable, logical, aligned and clear.
  • For system-negotiated targets, backward and forward map annual progress measures depending on their 'Achieve by year'.
  • Monitor the Funding source table in SPaRO as required. Annual budget allocations from your SBAR for all needs-based funding will pre-populate the Funding source table, to more easily monitor funding sources, such as equity loadings and initiative funding, when linking funded activities to initiatives.
  • For each initiative, determine the year’s activities required for the achievement of the annual progress measure.
  • For each activity, determine the:
    • implementation team (who)
    • commencement timeframe (when)
    • resources (funding allocations)
    • links to SEF themes.
  • For each activity, consider the evaluation and sources of evidence.

Learn more

Find out more about School Excellence in Action.

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