Questions to guide School Improvement

Questions to guide school improvement in literacy and numeracy


When commencing their participation in the former National Partnership on Literacy and Numeracy, principals needed time to reflect on their school plan for improving literacy and numeracy.

Principals of schools participating in the new Improving Literacy and Numeracy National Partnership face similar challenges in deciding the priorities for their schools and in planning to implement new practices that will be translated into improved student outcomes.

Principals and teachers in all schools may find the following questions useful for reflection or for discussions within the school in order to effectively shape their improvement agenda.

Each question below is directly relevant to one or more of the domains of effective practice.

Questions for principals

Domains of effective practice

Questions for teachers

How do I drive and deliver an explicit agenda to improve literacy and numeracy in my school?

What is the role of effective instructional leadership?

How can I set targets for the performance of my students that are ambitious, realistic and aligned to the school plan?

How can I contribute most effectively to ensuring that the school plan reflects the needs of my students?

How do I build in my school a culture that is driven by the effective use of student data?

What other data should I consider as vital to plan for effective teaching and learning?

What data do I need to collect and how can I use it to best effect?

Do I need to share this data with colleagues or can I use it just in my own classroom?

How can I ensure that my school has a culture of positive and caring relationships between staff, teachers, students and their families?

How can I promote authentic cultural understanding and high expectations?

How do I build a culture of mutual respect and care in my class, so that my students have an optimal learning environment?

Who else in the community, besides the families of my students, could support the teaching and learning environment in my classroom?

How can I decide on priorities for expenditure on technology, programs or human resources?

Should I invest first in new programs, new staff or more professional development?

How can I know which resources I need for my classroom?

How do I decide on priorities  to support my teaching if resources are limited?

How can I determine and systematically address the professional learning needs of my staff?

I manage the "business" of this school well, but do I also have all the skills I need to be an effective instructional leader?

How can I best use the opportunities I have for professional learning within the school?

How can I work with with  my colleagues to share and learn from each other's experiences?

How do I ensure that my school delivers a coherent whole-school plan for delivering a curriculum?

How can I be sure that the curriculum in my school is responsive to community needs?

How can I best work with other staff to ensure that we deliver a structured curriculum across the Stages?

Why do I need to know what other teachers in the school are teaching in their classrooms?

How can I ensure that teaching practices across the school recognise and address each student’s learning needs?

How can I have a whole-school approach that still responds to the individual circumstances of my teachers and students?

How can I ensure that every student has the opportunity to learn what they need to know in a way that makes most sense to them and to their families?

How do I determine the individual learning needs of my students?


How do I support teachers in their selection and effective use of pedagogies that have a strong evidence base?

Do I use robust evidence to support the use of particular literacy and numeracy practices in my school?

What are the best programs and approaches to use for my students?

How can I be confident about which programs to use and whether the "usual" ones are really effective?

How can I most effectively engage my school community in strategic sustainable partnerships that will enhance student learning?

Do all my potential community partners, including families, community leaders, businesses, universities, TAFE colleges etc, understand how they could contribute to this school?

What are my opportunities and responsibilities for creating partnerships with the school community?

Should I be engaging with just the families of my students, or are there others that I could approach?