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Developing a school development strategy: advice from the principal

Developing a school development strategy: advice from the principal
Developing a school development strategy: advice from the principal

A quality school is the result of the head’s work on the development of the institution. The way a principal adjusts management processes directly affects the quality of education in the school he or she heads. The State Service for Educational Quality has prepared a plan for school principals on how to properly develop a school development strategy. Developing a school development strategy.

To motivate teachers, work on their professional development and improvement of work, improve the educational environment, cooperate with the founder on the development of material and technical base, form a transparent system of assessment of students’ learning outcomes, arrange a child-friendly school life – an inexhaustible list of tasks and responsibilities.

An important part of the work of the principal as a manager is the formation of a strategic vision of school development. Strategic management is a continuous process, a mandatory part of which is the development of an educational institution development strategy. The development strategy makes it possible to determine the directions of movement of the educational institution to achieve the main goal – to ensure the quality of education.

Strategic management of the school is implemented through two areas – the development of an internal system of quality assurance in education and strategic planning. The first allows studying and evaluating the educational process as a system, and the second – to determine areas of activity in the medium and long term. These areas are reflected in the Regulations on the internal quality assurance system of education and the Strategy for the development of educational institutions.

Development of school development strategy

The development strategy of the institution is an important conceptual document of the educational institution. Therefore, the school principal involves stakeholders in the strategy development process.

One way to develop a strategy may be to brainstorm to develop proposals in certain areas. A working group with the participation of the head, deputies and representatives of the teaching staff, students can be created for this purpose.

The working group, in turn, develops a draft strategy, and then the document is submitted for consideration and discussion by the pedagogical council. It is important to remember that some of the goals of the strategy will require the support of the founder of the institution. It is the development strategy of the institution that should be developed in close cooperation with the founder.

The structure of the institution’s development strategy

The development strategy of the educational institution should include the following blocks:

Values ​​of the institution. Values, in fact, are a filter of behavioral patterns of all participants in the educational process. They determine what human and social values ​​are important to the school.

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For example, among the values ​​of the school – the safety and comfort of the child. In this case, in the process of implementing the strategy, special attention should be paid to creating a safe and comfortable environment, building trusting relationships between students, teachers and school administration.

The mission of the school. The mission answers the question why the institution exists, what is the purpose of its activities and for whom educational activities are carried out. It details the status of the school and provides direction and guidelines for determining the goals of the institution. For example, the school’s mission may be to ensure equal access to education for all children.

Vision of the school. The vision determines where the educational institution is moving, where it wants to be. The formulation of the vision will make it possible to answer the questions of what goals the school seeks to achieve in the medium term, at what level it wants to be, what it aspires to. For example, creating an inclusive educational environment in which every child, regardless of gender, special needs, social status or other characteristics, will be able to learn comfortably.

Strategic goals of the educational institution. Strategic goals determine what the school should look like in a few years, set directions for development and record what the school seeks to achieve. They identify areas in which the efforts of the school administration and teaching staff should be focused. Strategic goals must be correlated with the vision, as their implementation brings the institution closer to achieving it. For maximum effectiveness, goals should be formed on the basis of SMART criteria and, accordingly, be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and defined / limited in time.

Operational goals. Operational goals determine how the institution will achieve its strategic goals and what steps need to be taken to do so. For operational purposes, the institution’s strategy shifts from general to specific. For example, operational goals in school strategies may be:

  • develop a forecast of the expected number of children with special educational needs;
  • to establish relations with the inclusive resource center;
  • to adapt the educational space;
  • provide the necessary organizational and methodological training;
  • develop the necessary adaptation measures for students and parents;
  • teachers to undergo advanced training in areas related to working with children with special educational needs.

When working on a school development strategy, it is very important to take into account the real state of affairs and resources of the institution. The SWOT analysis tool will help the head to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the school, as well as the opportunities that open up to the institution and the existing or potential threats.

For the successful implementation of strategic management, it is important to convey the development strategy of the educational institution to all participants in the educational process, especially those who are directly involved in its implementation.

Strategic management also needs to change approaches to interaction with teachers. They should be directly involved in defining the strategic and operational goals, mission, vision of the institution, take them as personal. Only in this way can they become partners of the director in achieving these goals.

The development strategy of the institution is also an important guide for the founder: what development points the school has, what the institution needs resources for, what areas of school work the founder needs to strengthen, and so on.