You are here:

Departmental and subject action plan template

Ref: 1294
Last updated on 27 June 2018
School types: All · School phases: All
In-depth article
Download our departmental and subject action plan template to help you plan and evaluate improvements in your department or subject. You’ll also find out what to consider when developing and embedding your plan.

Article tools

This is a sample article from The Key

Become a member to get full access to over 3,000 practical articles on all aspects of school leadership and management.


  1. 1 Downloadable departmental/subject action plan template
  2. 2 How to develop and embed your action plan
  3. 3 Examples from schools

Downloadable departmental/subject action plan template

Use our action plan template to set out your long-term and short-term priorities, and any associated actions, to help you plan improvements in your department or subject. 

English department action plan example

Use the following sample action plan to give you an idea of how the details for one priority in a secondary English department action plan might be filled in. It is intended as an example only. 

Our contributing associate experts

Our template and sample plan were developed in collaboration with Trevor Bailey

David New, Jeremy Bird and Sue Rogers also helped us write this article. 

How to develop and embed your action plan

The plan should reflect whole-school priorities

Your action plan should not be set in stone as it will be changed and updated regularly. You should also ensure it links with other documents, such as:

  • Curriculum maps
  • Departmental/subject self-evaluation
  • Records of training
  • The school improvement plan (SIP)

For example, your departmental/subject self-evaluation results and the priorities in the school improvement plan will feed into the long-term plans and short-term priorities of your subject or department. 

You can find out more about linking subject plans to the school improvement plan in a further article. 

The plan should be costed into the budget

If the action plan is ready prior to your school's budget-setting process, it can be costed into the budget.

This makes it possible for senior leaders to allocate money to things they know are making a difference. For this reason, you should try and align the departmental review process with the school’s financial cycle. 

The plan should include professional development actions 

Performance management of staff should feed into professional development for the next academic year, and you should include actions related to this in your departmental action plan.

For example, one action could be to raise standards by having a particular teacher attend a course.

Examples from schools

Primary schools

Thorney Island Community Primary School in West Sussex has published action plans for subjects such as maths, English and science. 

For each key objective, it sets out desired outcomes and associated tasks.

Cranmer Primary School has also published subject action plans which outline:

  • Key objectives
  • Success criteria
  • Actions
  • Persons responsible
  • Resources
  • How progress will be monitored

Each action is red, amber, green (RAG) rated to indicated whether it has been achieved, partially achieved or not achieved. 

Secondary school example

Helston Community College in Cornwall's literacy and numeracy action plan outlines:

  • Actions that need to be taken, the key person leading on the action and the staff involved
  • Timescales for completion and evaluation, and when updates will take place
  • Criteria for evaluating impact
  • Funding 

The action plan can be downloaded from the school's 'policies' web page.

Special school example

As part of its school development plan for 2018/19, Amwell View School in Hertfordshire has budget action plans for different subjects, including:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science
  • Computing


Trevor Bailey has extensive experience in school leadership and management. He was a secondary school headteacher for 14 years.

Jeremy Bird has extensive experience of primary headship. He has also worked with local authorities and published guidance for new and aspiring headteachers and senior leaders.

David New, an education consultant, was the headteacher of a large secondary school for 9 years. He has particular expertise in lettings, staffing, academy conversion and the secondary curriculum.

Sue Rogers is an education consultant. She has been the headteacher of 3 schools, worked as an adviser to local authorities, and taught in the primary and secondary phases. She is also a former inspector.

The Key has taken great care in publishing this article. However, some of the article's content and information may come from or link to third party sources whose quality, relevance, accuracy, completeness, currency and reliability we do not guarantee. Accordingly, we will not be held liable for any use of or reliance placed on this article's content or the links or downloads it provides. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence.