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School improvement plan: template and checklist
Download our school improvement plan (SIP) template and a checklist to help you evaluate your SIP. You'll also find out how you can monitor its implementation.
Schools use a variety of terms to describe their whole-school plan, including 'school improvement plan', ‘strategic plan' and 'school development plan'. Here, we use 'school improvement plan' (SIP).
Use and adapt our template SIP to support your school’s planning. We’ve developed it with the help of one of our teaching school partners and our associate education expert, Neil Hemmings.
There’s space for you to record:
- Contextual information
- Your school’s objectives
- Further details for each objective
We also have a template based on the 2019 Ofsted framework.
Tips for writing your SIP
Your SIP should:
- Form the "mechanism" through which the governing board holds school leaders to account
- Enable evaluation of the impact of the school's improvement strategies
- Be a "living document", used routinely by all members of staff as a point of reference
As part of the planning process, the selection of areas for improvement may be based on:
- Changes to the intake and the families the school serves
- Changes to statutory requirements (for example to the National Curriculum or Ofsted's inspection frameworks)
- Key issues identified in the school's most recent Ofsted report or in a local authority review
These tips come from East Sussex County Council's guidance on writing a SIP.
Evaluating your SIP: downloadable checklist
Use our checklist to help evaluate your SIP and make sure it's comprehensive.
There are 2 parts to the checklist:
- A list of information you might expect to see in a SIP
- Pointers to help you review the structure of your SIP
Remember to base your SIP on the context and strategy of your own school. Use this checklist as a guide rather than a proforma.
Examples of completed SIPs
Have a look at our other articles to see examples of SIPs from:
How to monitor implementation of your SIP
The following advice comes from our two associate education experts, Gulshan Kayembe and Jeremy Bird.
Choose your approach
The method you use to monitor the implementation of your SIP will depend on:
- How you want to operate
- How much consistency your headteacher would like there to be in the way staff record progress against actions
The first thing you could determine is whether you want:
- Everything to be recorded in a single document, or
- A summary for key stakeholders, with further detail then being recorded by individual leaders in separate documents
Make sure the staff responsible for particular actions know they’re accountable. The questions you need to ask, whichever method you use, are:
- Does the method work?
- What impact does the method have?
Develop a proforma for tracking progress
You can devise and adopt a model for tracking progress against targets that suits the way you work, and design a proforma appropriate for the method you choose.
Use our template for tracking progress against targets in a SIP as a starting point.
Record monitoring methods on your SIP
Have a space in your SIP to record how your plan is being monitored and implemented across the school.
Record who is responsible for monitoring each target, as well as how the monitoring will actually take place (for instance, meetings, regular feedback, or data analysis).
Hold termly reviewing meetings
Many schools use termly reviewing meetings to record progress against their SIP.
Make sure you:
- Minute these meetings to clearly show the progress being made
- Arrange for meetings to take place according to specific actions and timescales (for example, a school judged ‘requires improvement’ or in special measures will need to show progress faster)
Education consultant Neil Hemmings is a former secondary headteacher. He specialises in pupil wellbeing, school improvement and the professional development of staff.
Mark Trusson is a headteacher and National College accredited school improvement partner. He has previously served as the principal and director of a multi-academy trust, and has expertise in the innovative use of ICT with pupils and leading church schools.
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.
Gulshan Kayembe is an independent consultant who has experience of inspecting schools. As a consultant, she provides mentoring for senior leaders and has worked as an external adviser on headteachers’ performance management.
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