Review of

As a dimension of school improvement in Sandhurst school, Leadership will be reviewed every five years. Learning and Teaching Scotland’s professional learning resource, The Journey to Excellence, shows how schools can improve their good leadership practice and make it flourish.

Some of the following review prompts and questions are adapted (with permission) from that resource and from the work of Sandhurst leaders.

The Quality Indicators of the Leadership Dimension describe what we want our leaders to do.

The self-review process involves the school exploring this dimension, making judgements about performance and illustrating those judgements to the validation panel. Discernment about culture and performance will guide further planning and action in the leadership dimension.

As they shape culture leaders:

  • live lives shaped by the Catholic tradition; they articulate their faith and their hopes for the Catholic identity of the school
  • ensure Gospel values are lived out in all areas of school life
  • actively build connections with other parts of the Church and community
  • have a coherent vision of what is important for the school and its community
  • co-create vision with and for the school community; and innovate in line with that vision.

As they transform community leaders:

  • reinforce collective responsibility and mutual support among staff and staff, students and students and staff and students. They create, review and improve structures for formal management, learning and support in order to secure these relationships.
  • through their own behaviour, persuade others that core values are shown in daily actions as well as in strategic moral vision. They demonstrate empathy with a range of groups and individuals and they support and challenge individual staff and students.
  • use a range of leadership styles to mobilize people, adjusting these styles to context, setting and relationships. Their styles are mostly consultative and collegial, securing shared commitment and when required, leaders directly drive action forward.
  • establish high levels of personal credibility and gain the confidence of the school community. They demonstrate a willingness to learn from others and to acknowledge mistakes. They convince people and cement the trust of others by their actions. Leaders sustain an optimistic outlook about the potential of the school community to achieve success and to make a difference.

As they develop governance structures leaders:

  • work within guidelines to ensure that opportunities for decision-making are distributed throughout the community
  • align decision making with strategic directions
  • use systematic planning and evaluation to ensure governance structures are self-renewing
  • ensure that school procedures are developed in light of system policy and guidelines
  • ensure that responsibilities are clear, documented and well communicated
  • ensure that accountabilities to the school community and to external authorities are met.

As they enhance performance leaders:

  • encourage and enable individuals and groups to engage in innovative activities where evaluation has indicated that this would lead to improvement. They promote the view that ongoing critical inquiry and creative approaches are integral to the thinking and practice of all staff and students.
  • embed planning for improvement across the school. They consistently align the school’s activities with improved student outcomes.
  • guide and manage the pace of change. They win hearts as well as minds. They understand that change management is about people learning and adopting new ideas and changing practices. They develop project management at all levels. They avoid overload, innovation fatigue and potential division among staff.
  • create conditions for all staff to initiate, and be committed to change. They stimulate intellectual curiosity and the creation and sharing of knowledge. At times this involves challenge and creative disagreement as staff come to a shared awareness of the key issues and the way forward.
  • demonstrate the value of quality feedback in growing towards wisdom.

As they focus on learning leaders:

  • make the practical implementation of the school’s vision and the learning and teaching policy the focus of school improvement. These documents inform and connect with all school policies and their principles are translated into daily action
  • ensure that learning is the central focus of all school, domain, Board/Council and team plans; and that learning priorities are linked to classroom practices
  • support and initiate professional development which has a central focus on learning, teaching and student achievement. Staff learning is collaborative and led by valued and respected.
  • ensure practitioners have a strong personal commitment to furthering their own learning and to modeling learning for students
  • are instructional leaders, making class visits, giving feedback, widely sharing insights and stimulating self-evaluation. They prompt an ongoing focus on the craft of teaching. They pursue and share the findings of research.
  • assert and reassert the purposes of the curriculum in developing students’ capacities and attitudes
  • are reflective practitioners and embed such practices into the professional culture of the school
  • create activities and systems which signal to every student his or her worth as a person, enabling all to experience success. They emphasise the capacity of young people to support each other. They set high expectations and lead by example. Leaders give high priority to the student voice within a context of rights and responsibilities. They promote equality of opportunity and encourage the celebration of diversity.
  • retain active personal responsibility for the school’s approaches for promoting positive behaviour, understanding what motivates learners and managing behaviour. They establish coordinated and integrated support for students.

As they build capacity leaders:

  • adjust their effort, energy, work, rest and leisure in order to optimize their effectiveness; monitoring and building their wellbeing and resilience and that of others
  • act with integrity, reassuring people with their high levels of socio-emotional development. They accept responsibility for their part in success and failure.
  • see the development of other leaders as essential for the success of their school. They give honest and constructive feedback. They hold high expectations for themselves and others. They remain hopeful and never give up on the growth of others. They strategize in order to influence even the most resistant.
  • show that all in the community are valued. They draw on the collective knowledge, experience and personal interests of a wide range of staff and on students’ views.
  • reinforce a culture where staff and students feel able and confident to take lead roles within and beyond the classroom. Current and future leaders learn with and from others, formally and informally, prompting reflection and change. Such modeling and training promotes the conditions through which the school sustains excellence.
  • create conditions where staff have confidence in exercising their initiative and in grasping opportunities to share knowledge and assume responsibility. They recognize complementary forms of leadership and the capacity of people and teams to achieve a positive impact on the life of the school.

As they steward resources leaders:

  • recruit, appoint, induct and review staff to ensure that students have access to high levels of care and professional practice. They actively and visibly care for staff and monitor their wellbeing and security.
  • work with the whole school community to create safe and engaging learning environments; and ensure that students have the requisite resources to support learning
  • ensure that financial decisions are made to support educational goals. They monitor administrative and financial procedures to ensure alignment with strategic directions.
  • assist the community to connect more meaningfully with the environment and make environmentally sustainable decisions.
  • manage information through high quality data collection, storage and retrieval. They analyse, evaluate and use information in purposeful ways, mindful of privacy and other guidelines.

These questions, based on the Quality Indicators for Leadership and others identified by the school community, will assist in the self-review process. They are not designed to be asked and answered in a checklist approach, but rather to guide a process of discernment about leadership at the local level.

Shape culture

  • What processes do we use to co-create a vision with, and for, the school?
  • How do we ensure the Catholic identity of the school at all layers of leadership?
  • In what ways do we intentionally build trust and collaboration within our school community?

Transform community

  • What processes do we employ to interact with respect and compassion?
  • How do we lead cycles of strategic renewal?
  • In what ways do we partner with parents/carers and the broader community?

Develop governance structures

  • How do we establish and maintain a culture of co-responsibility?
  • How do we establish agreements about responsibilities and accountability across all layers of school life?
  • What processes do we use to ensure practice is aligned with policy?

Focus on learning

  • How do we ensure rich and purposeful pedagogy and assessment?
  • How do we plan, enact and evaluate curriculum?
  • In what ways do we promote educational accountability?

Build capacity

  • In what ways do we share leadership in order to contribute to school improvement?
  • What strategies are in place to develop leaders?
  • What opportunities do we provide for community members to develop self – body, mind, spirit and soul?

Enhance performance

  • How do we seek to communicate with influence?
  • In what ways do we engage people in planning and implementing practices leading to school improvement?
  • What processes do we employ to give feedback, coaching and mentoring?

Steward resources

  • What processes are in place to ensure the safety and care of people?
  • How do we design engaging learning environments?
  • How do we ensure effective and sustainable management of resources?

Documents to be provided to the Panel Chair through the CEO two weeks prior to Validation Day.

Please use electronic templates provided as a starting point.

For All Reviews


Completed School Profile . May be supplemented/personalised from other school documents to assist Panel to gain an understanding of the school community.


Current School Improvement Plan and this year’s Annual Action Plan


Current Identity Statement, Vision Statement and Graduate Outcomes


Current Strategic Improvement Plan and this year’s Annual Action Plan


Most recent Annual Report to the School Community


Program for the review day (As negotiated with the chair of the Validation Panel)



Documents and/or evidence to be made available to the Panel on Validation Day.

These may be located in various school documents.
Please provide clearly marked materials to the Panel.

Compliance and School Review


Previous Validation Report


Insight SRC data for current and previous 2 years (if available) and the ways this has been communicated and used


Evidence of how the school and teachers use data to develop evidence-based practice around improved student learning


Records that provide evidence of the school’s compliance with the Minimum Standards of the VRQA.


Records that provide evidence of compliance with the leadership requirements of Occupational Health and Safety legislation, including evidence of delegated of responsibilities, OHS Committee operations, incident & hazard reporting & investigation procedures, and active OHS Consultation processes.

Leadership and Organisational Structure


Role descriptions for Principal, Leadership Team and any other role descriptions relevant to Leadership review


Overview of school Leadership and Organisational Structure (including parental involvement)


Records of any team or leadership reviews that have occurred in the last 2 years


Mapping of leadership formation opportunities available to staff and Board/Council in last 2 years


Induction processes for new staff and new leaders


The Consultative Committee’s operation in accord with the guidelines established in the Multi Employer Agreement. Include Minutes from Consultative Committee Meetings for the last 12 months


Staff selection, appointment, induction and monitoring procedures in accord with the Victorian Catholic Education Industrial Agreement, the Standards of Professional Practice of the Victorian Institute of Teaching and the SSEB Teacher in a Catholic School, including Letters of Appointment, Annual Review Meetings, Due Processes, staff record keeping, VIT registration and Working with Children Check records



Copy of Catholic Identity


Copy of Pastoral Wellbeing


Copy of Learning & Teaching


Copy of Stewardship of Resources


Copy of Enrolment

School Community


School profile statistical data (Crichton Smith material)


Information about your school’s foundation and history


Copy of School Calendar of rituals/celebrations and events relevant to Catholic Identity & Leadership review


Copies of promotional material and enrolment brochures for your school


Example of School Newsletter and/or School Magazine

Board/Council and Parent Association


A Board/Council Constitution (where appropriate) aligned with the guidelines in Chapter 7 of the Charter for Governance and the Minimum Standards of the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority, together with details of practice


Copies of Minutes of Board, Leadership Team and Staff meetings


Signed financial delegations providing authority to the principal and other designated leaders in line with diocesan financial guidelines


Parent Association Constitution and details of practice


Other evidence in support of the Self-Review Report


There are three parts of the Self-Review Summary that are to be emailed to the Chair of the Validation Panel two (2) weeks prior to the Validation visit:

  1. Exploring the current reality: documented understandings in summary format (1 or 2 pages)
  2. Gauging the current reality against the School Vision and CoSSI Quality Indicators
  3. Identifying priorities for the next cycle of school improvement.

Note: Parts 2 and 3 to be documented in the Self-Review Documentation Guide provided (Download, complete and email).