Step 3: Using W@S reports and modules to develop an action plan

Step 3: Key points about next step planning

  • Use W@S data to identify next steps
  • Use the W@S Action plan template to develop a plan for change based on these next steps
  • Decide on short and long-term goals
  • Use the W@S Next step modules and other sources to decide on actions that work towards school goals
  • Allocate resources to fit the plan
  • Review the plan to make sure it is balanced and do-able
  • Share the plan with the school community.

Information for Step 3

Step 3 is about developing a plan for change. During Step 3, schools use the W@S data reports and information from other school data and consultations to develop an action plan.

Planning for change

During Step 2 of the self-review cycle, you will have collected W@S and other data and interpreted the W@S reports from your school. This will have given your review team an overview of current practice at your school, and some ideas about areas that could be strengthened (that is, next steps).

During Step 3 you can use this information to develop an action plan. Two W@S resources are designed to assist you. These are the:

  • W@S Action plan template: This Word Document is designed for schools to adapt. It provides a format to support you to consider goals, actions, resources, and how you will assess change.
  • W@S Next step modules: These resources are designed to support schools to plan next steps. Each module offers suggestions for next step activities linked to each W@S aspect.

Developing an action plan

The action plan template is designed to model the idea that effective plans for change are multi-faceted. They include different approaches and strategies that target different dimensions of school life. This is more effective that using a single strategy. Therefore, the template prompts you to consider developing actions relating to each of the W@S aspects.

The first section of the plan encourages you to think about the bigger picture, that is:

  • What is your school vision for social and emotional wellbeing?
  • What are your main short and longer-term goals? What is the timeframe?
  • Do you have related planning and reporting targets?

The action plan template is focused on social and emotional wellbeing, but other aspects of wellbeing could also be included, for example, you could add in goals and activities that relate to physical health and wellbeing (e.g., healthy eating and active lifestyles).

The template encourages evidence-based planning through use of the following prompts:

  • What does W@S data and other school evidence say about current practice?
  • What does the data suggest are next step goals?
  • What activities, programmes, or strategies are we going to use to action these goals?
  • Who is leading the activities and who else is involved?
  • Are resources allocated?
  • What is the timeframe?
  • What criteria or data will we use to show we have met our goals?

Deciding on actions: The W@S next step modules

The W@S Next step modules offer suggestions for some of the activities, programmes, or strategies that could be included in the action plan.

What are the ideas underpinning the modules?

The modules are designed to model systems-thinking and the idea that a school has many different dimensions of practice that can be aligned to work towards the same vision.

The modules also promote the idea that effective change processes involve collaboration between school staff, students, parents and whanau, and others. The ideas and initiatives suggested in the modules mostly focus on strategies that can be used across a school for all staff or all students (that is, rather than targeted or small groups).

How are the modules set out?

The modules are structured using the W@S aspects and sub-aspects from the Student Survey and SSRT. For each aspect or dimension, some research-based key ideas about this aspect are presented along with a few possible next steps or strategies (called “ways of working”). As a starting point, some related reflection questions, readings, and resources that are aimed at school leaders and teachers are also included in each module.

These key ideas, “ways of working” strategies, and the readings and resources in the modules were selected to reflect key findings and evidence from international and NZ research literature as well as current NZ policy directions.

How can we use the action plan and modules to plan next step activities?

First, complete the first page of the W@S Action plan template, and the first column of the template (summarising the findings from your W@S data). Use these summaries to identify next steps (aspects or sub-aspects of school practice that could be strengthened).

Use the information you have gained from sharing the W@S data with students, staff, parents and whanau to create a shared vision for change and some short and long term goals. Then, to design next steps relating to these goals, use the W@S modules to provide a starting point for ideas about actions that could build school approaches.

When deciding to adopt new approaches or particular programmes it is important to select a few key approaches to focus on that fit with your school values, current approaches to learning, and other ways of working. It is also important to select approaches that are developmentally appropriate for students at your school.

Reviewing and sharing your action plan

Once you have developed a plan, review it to ensure it includes activities that address different dimensions of school life, and that it is achievable. The following reflection questions may assist you. At this point, you could also share the plan, or a summary of key actions, with the wider school community so that all those involved have a clear idea of the school vision, goals, and priorities.

Reviewing your action plan: Reflection questions

  • Is the plan BALANCED?: Does the plan contain a range of actions that cover a range of W@S aspects? (NOTE: An effective plan is multi-faceted and addresses different dimensions of school life.)
  • Does the plan assist you to build shared LEADERSHIP and a sense of OWNERSHIP?: Are all stakeholders involved in the process (school leaders, staff, students, parents and whanau, and professional partners)? Are different people given opportunities to lead? Are key school leaders involved?
  • Is the plan RESOURCED adequately?: Are enough resources allocated? Is time set aside for meetings and planning? Are professional learning opportunities planned for all (staff, students, parents and whanau)?
  • Is the plan SUSTAINABLE?: Are the goals and planned actions realistic and do-able in the timeframes suggested? If key people leave, are there other team members involved in each action?

What next? Implementing the action plan

Once you have developed an action plan the next step is to implement this plan.

See Implementing the action plan: info for Step 4.