School development planning is a process that seeks to achieve
quality by addressing the inputs, processes, outcomes and outputs
of the school. Its aim is to create an atmosphere of transparency
and accountancy in management that will improve both the efficiency
and effectiveness of the school.
Development planning entails a process of continuous evaluation
to identify, in the school, strengths that can be built on
and weaknesses that need to be remedied. This brings about
the changes necessary to enhance quality.
It should be clear to you, as head, that change is a process
that cannot be achieved overnight. An important consideration
for you to bear in mind is that when you assume the responsibility
of heading a school, you will ultimately answer a simple question:
What did you do for your school?
What will be your answer?
You kept it as it was?
You made it better?
You ran it down?
Your choice should be obvious.
By the end of this unit, you should be able to:
explain the meaning of and different stages in the
school development planning process
express and translate the school mission statement
into an action programme that works according to set targets
define ways to work with colleagues, parents and pupils
understand the factors that lead to the creation of
a learning environment that is conducive and transparent
identify and compile indicators of an effective school
explain barriers to change and suggest relevant remedial
identify staff and school development programmes to
redress identified areas of weaknesses.
On pages 3-7 of Module
6, Unit 1 the following concepts are defined and discussed:
effectiveness, efficiency, accountability and evaluation.
This is intended to create, in you, an awareness of the increasing
need and demand for effective schools in our societies.
Apart from the contribution made by such inputs as school
buildings, textbooks, furniture, qualified teachers and many
others, effective schools are also to a very large extent
a result of quality assurance processes.
Quality assurance processes
Quality assurance processes are procedures that facilitate
a high level of achievement of school goals. They may be initiated
either by an external agency or internally by the school itself.
(1) Identify one externally initiated qualit y assurance process
in a school.
(2) Discuss its advantages and disadvantages as a means of
achieving school goals.
In answer to Question 1, you may have identified the inspectorate
(see Module 6, Unit
3, page 25) or, 'peer evaluation' -an evaluation system
arranged and run by a team of heads, in a cluster of schools.
Externally initiated quality assurance processes have two
important advantages as a means of achieving school goals:
They provide an independent assessment of a school's
They facilitate the cross-fertilisation of ideas.
However, since they are not initiated within the school:
They are an expensive means of assessing school performance.
Evaluations may not be carried out regularly.
Findings may not be so readily accepted by the school
School development planning
School development planning is one process of quality assurance
that is initiated from within the school. It is a continuous
school self-evaluation programme geared towards the achievement
of school goals and implemented deliberately and collectively
by the whole school or sections of the school.
It starts with the formulation of the school mission and
objectives. These are derived from national goals and related
to community and individual pupil's needs. This is followed
by an analysis of the level of achievement of school goals
in relation to the whole spectrum of school activities, facilities
and personnel. This analysis is called an audit evaluation
or stock taking.
(1) Identify five major possible areas of school audit.
(2) State five benefits of school audit to staff.
You may have indicated that the major areas of school audit
include the following:
the quality of the curriculum:
(a) teaching and learning
(b) courses/subjects offered
pupils' progress and attainment
management of resources including staff, equipment
school ethos and discipline.
The school audit will enable staff to:
determine how well the school is performing in relation
to its goals
identify strengths on which to build
identify areas of concern requiring improvement
identify priorities for subsequent action
report the school performance to appropriate bodies
such as the school board, the local education authority and
the Ministry of Education
provide the education authority with valuable information
on which to base its decisions, for example, targeting resources
answer questions concerning the accountability of the
school to interested groups
detect improvement or lack of it in performance since
the previous audit
contribute to the identification of staff and school
You have noted that the audit practice establishes the school's
level of operation- its strengths and weaknesses. The strengths
provide the springboard for continued improvement and development
while the weaknesses are prioritised and translated into individual
projects with targets for implementation, completion and achievement.
This implementation forms the development section of the school
During, or after, the period of implementation, landmarks
are pegged for monitoring progress. This is also called an
'audit'. The process of school development planning is summarised
in the following cycle of change.
(1) In the boxes in Fig 4 name the stages of the school development
(2) Discuss at least two merits of school development planning
and quality assurance.
You will probably have identified that the school development
planning process or cycle is composed of the following stages:
This process has a number of advantages as a school practice
it is locally based and therefore easily lends itself
to continuous application
it is implemented by those who should be conversant
with the programme.
Integrating self, staff and school development in school
You may note, on pages
27-28 in Module 6, that for a school self-evaluation programme
to be effective, the head and the staff must co-operate and
work as a team. This support creates a mutual climate that
fosters collaboration, innovation and free expression of ideas.
Opinions are thus formed on current educational development
needs through rational arguments, reflective practices and
researched information. School development planning as a process,
aims at exploiting available local resources and expertise
which, in turn, integrates self, staff and school development.
Identify some aspects of the climate, culture and practice
of school development planning which promote the integrated
development of the head, staff and the school.
You may have identified some of these aspects:
working as a team
a climate of openness (transparency)
free expression of ideas
Integrated development is particularly enhanced where:
there is easy access to information on current educational
thinking and development
the use of local resources and expertise is encouraged
there is a high level of cross-fertilisation of ideas
from all sections of the community.
The change cycle and barriers to change
The change process is one aspect of school development planning
that heads need to view as vital to self, staff and school
development. Module 2, Unit 8 examines, in detail, all the
major aspects pertaining to the management of change. These
are an integral part of quality assurance in the school development
planning process. The crucial points to note here are your
role as a change agent and the types of change likely to occur
at the school.
(1) Describe your role as a change agent
(2) Name the other agents of change in the school development
It would be useful at this stage to compare your answers with
the suggestions given on page
56 of Module 2.
In the first question you may have suggested that as a head
your role is to:
recognise and appreciate the need for change
give leadership and guidance
make sure that the relevant stakeholders participate
in the decision-making process.
You may have mentioned for the second question:
individual staff members
the staff body
parents through PTA
School development planning is a flexible process that allows
continuous change to take place. Special mention must therefore
be made of the types of
change encountered at most schools.
These are a direct response to performance data, environment
changes made to goal settings, for example, the introduction
sessions in response to student enrolment outstripping school
PLANNED CHANGES OR INNOVATIONS
These are a response to the continuing flow of data from within
Barriers to change
The changes introduced in your school, whilst both necessary
may have varying results and you may encounter barriers in
your efforts to
effect them. You need to be aware of these possible barriers,
so that you can
(1) Suggest barriers you may meet, as head, in your efforts
to bring about change.
(2) How would you minimise these barriers to change in school
Change may not always succeed if:
the head's attitude is negative
there is a lot of suspicion among the team or staff
adequate resources to effect change do not exist
there is consumer resistance.
For more information refer to page
60 of Module 2 and page
38 of Module 7.
It is important to realise that the school development plan
is a good example of an innovation that allows change to occur
all the time. Your ability to cope with this change is critical.
Successful change must be based on a sound assessment of the
existing situation and on the nature of the proposed change.
A mismatch between these assessments will be counter-productive.
You can promote acceptance of change, before the implementation
of the plan, by creating a healthy atmosphere to change through:
The stages involved in the process of change in school development
planning are summarised in Fig 5.
In this unit we have considered the nature of change and have
established that school development planning is a part of the
quality assurance process which entails systematic change initiated
and implemented in the school. It must take place in a conducive
atmosphere. You, as head, should be sensitive to the need to
create this atmosphere.