School Improvement and Governance Network

Four Key Areas


This guide discusses the things that principals, teachers, parents, students and community members do to improve a school and education. Based on the ideas and experiences of schools and their communities and supported by the research, these good practices are grouped into four key areas:

  1. Local decision-making, i.e., a school's leadership, vision, governance and management
  2. Powerful learning for all - how schools personalise learning and develop the curriculum and the use of technology
  3. Partnerships for change - how schools build partnerships to bring about systemic change and improve outcomes
  4. Resources and facilities.

Improvement teams

Some schools create a school improvement team - a group that may develop recommendations for the school council/board. This team may produce an in-depth picture of the school’s strengths, needs and challenges and a set of practical recommendations. Schools report that building an effective school improvement team involves a balance between two things:

  • Not being too big and unwieldy. A smaller group of people may be relatively easy to convene for meetings and may provide more opportunities for participants to drill down deeply into the key issues and challenges.
  • Being as inclusive as possible. Different stakeholders from the school community - including the principal, business manager, teachers, parents and students - participate in the team's work.

What is achieved

Through local creative efforts backed up by adequate resources and suppport from governments and education departrments, schools and their communities work toward achieving the educational goals in the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. These goals are:

  1. Schooling promotes equity and excellence
  2. All young people become:

    – successful learners
    – confident and creative individuals
    – active and informed citizens.

Practical example - languages education

A practical example of the four key areas of school improvement is provided in the Languages education – four great practices paper. This paper is relevant to all learning areas. Corresponding to the same four areas but using a single word for each area, the four practices discussed are:

  1. Autonomy
  2. Personalisation
  3. Community
  4. Time.