Step 1: Planning and preparing for self-review
Step 1: Key points about planning and preparing for self-review
- Lead collaboratively and by example
- Make sure the foundations for change are in place (Are we ready?)
- Assemble a self-review team of key school leaders and community members to start planning
- Raise awareness about the need for change
- Start to develop a shared vision for the future.
Information for Step 1
Step 1 is about getting started with the self-review process. During Step 1, schools assemble a self-review team and put in place the foundations needed for change.
Leading and championing change
Effective leadership of new approaches is vital. The principal and other school leaders need to actively lead or show support for the self-review process. In a self-review process, members of the school community need to feel their voices will be heard. A foundation of trust is important. Consider the learning culture at your school:
- Do staff and students feel comfortable sharing their views?
- Are there mechanisms in place for staff, students, parents and whānau to make suggestions for improving school practices?
- Are the concerns of staff, students, parents and whānau taken seriously and acted upon?
The W@S self-review process is designed to be self-managed by a school. However some schools may want or require external support or facilitation for the self-review process. Depending on your school’s needs, staff from special education may be available to support you.
Contact your local RTLB or you may want to contact local education providers who offer facilitation services.
Your school may also want to work with a critical friend who can give you feedback and support in an ongoing way. You could approach a member of the senior leadership team from a local school to take on this role, or work as a cluster with local schools. Your school may also want to work with a school ambassador or champion who supports the self-review process. Well-known people from your local community could take on this role.
Assembling a school review team
It is important that the self-review process is led by a team and not an individual. This enables different perspectives to be heard and builds ownership by enabling a wider range of people to contribute to the decision-making process. Another reason for using a team is that this supports longer-term sustainability. If activities are managed by a team they are less likely to lose momentum if key people leave.
One way of supporting longer-term sustainability is through having more than one school leader championing changes. The composition of the self-review team will vary depending on the size and context of your school, but it is important to include at least one member of the senior leadership team. Ideally all the key groups that make up your school community could be represented. The team could include:
- The principal and at least one other member of the senior leadership team
- The person/people responsible for pastoral care
- The special needs co-ordinator (SENCO) or your local RTLB
- The person/team with oversight of the health component of the Health and PE learning area
- A couple of deans or teachers who teach different year levels or have different subject expertise
- Student leaders
- Board of Trustee members and parent and whānau representatives
- Support and administration staff who deal with student inquiries
- Other community members or groups which are closely involved with your school
Raising awareness about the need for change
One of the first steps in a self-review process is to raise awareness of concerns or issues. This is one of the first actions the self-review team could plan. Holding community events is a common form of awareness raising. These could take the form of:
- Student assemblies
- Professional learning sessions for staff
- Staff meetings
- Parent information and consultation sessions.
At these meetings the focus of the self-review could be announced, and the consultation process started, starting to create a shared vision. Change is more likely to occur when the whole school community shares a vision about what it wants to achieve and acts in ways that are consistent with that vision. Therefore one focus of these initial awareness raising sessions could be on brainstorming ideas about the big picture or vision for the future, e.g.:
- What sort of school culture do we want?
- How do we want new arrivals and visitors to feel about our school?
- How will we show this?
- Are our school practices inclusive for all students?
What next? Gathering data for a needs assessment
Once your school has started the self-review process, the next step is gathering data for a needs analysis. The aim of a needs analysis is to give you an overall picture of school life and evidenced-based data about practices that could be strengthened (next steps). The W@S/Inclusive Practices tools can be used to collect data to contribute to this needs analysis.