School Development Plan
The Department for Education’s (DfE) ‘Every School a Good School – A Policy for School Improvement’ guidance aims to raise standards and promote equality in all our schools. Its vision is to embed across all schools the characteristics of effective schooling: effective leadership; child- centred provision; high-quality teaching and learning; and a school connected to its community. At the core of the policy is self-evaluation, using performance data and other information, leading to sustained self-improvement.
The guidance emphasises that school improvement is first and foremost the responsibility of the school. It is based on the premise that schools themselves are best placed to identify areas for improvement and to implement changes that can bring about better outcomes for pupils.
Self-evaluation leading to sustained self-improvement is therefore at the core of the school improvement policy. Effective self-evaluation, and the actions that flow from it, should deliver improved educational outcomes and experiences for all pupils. Self-evaluation must be an integral part of the school development planning process with the resulting actions and targets captured in a School Development Plans (SDP).
The SDP is a strategic plan for improvement. It should bring together, in a clear and simple way, the school’s priorities, the main measures it will take to raise standards, the resources dedicated to these and the key outcomes and targets it intends to achieve. It will set out the overall ‘roadmap’ for the three years ahead, with a focus on the school’s key priorities, identified following a process of self-evaluation. It will be evidence based and clearly linked to the school’s policies and action plans, but these do not have to be included in the actual SDP document itself. It should be a living document that all members of staff will use as a reference point in evaluating, developing and improving their work.
Roles & Responsibilities
The Governing Body and the Headteacher play a vital role in leading school improvement. It is therefore essential that Governors and the Headteacher, the leadership team and all staff demonstrate commitment, engagement and involvement in the development planning process.
They ensures that effective arrangements are in place to support self-evaluation and action to bring about improvement at all levels in the school.
The Governing Body has a legislative duty to prepare and revise the SDP, although Governors may choose to delegate the preparation of the plan to the Headteacher. However, it is the Governing Body that must formally approve the plan and in doing so their formal approval should be recorded and dated (eg in the Minutes of a Governors’ meeting or on the plan itself). The Governing Body must also ensure that effective arrangements are in place for monitoring and review and approve formally any subsequent revisions to the plan.