Dimension: instructional and shared leadership

This dimension is part of the Professional Leadership priority.


Leadership is a collaborative endeavour involving leaders, teachers and students. Leaders and teachers build and foster a culture of trust, respect and systematic enquiry. Student learning and achievements are the core priority. Leaders coordinate the planning and evaluation of the curriculum, assessment practices and pedagogies. They discuss the nature of provision, evaluating opportunities for teachers to improve and enhance their practice. This entails a critical focus on student engagement and wellbeing, and the impact of both on achievement.

Leaders hold themselves accountable for collaborative effort, sharing leadership and developing and empowering teachers. They also continuously build their own leadership capabilities. This accountability applies to leadership within the classroom, as well as in the broader school community.

Improvement measures

Results from the School Staff Survey, available in Panorama, may be used to measure progress, and as success indicators. Suggested factors include the 'instructional leadership', 'coherence', 'applicability of professional learning' and 'understand contribution to school improvement' factors.

The 'instructional leadership' factor from the School Staff Survey is used to calculate a school's performance group using the Differentiated School Performance Method (DSPM).

Supporting resources

Communities of Practice

Professional learning Communities

 The Strategic Enablers for Implementation


The Continuum for Instructional and shared leadership describes a range of proficiency levels (Emerging, Evolving, Embedding and Excelling) that assists principals and teachers to identify areas of practice that require attention in order to deliver improved student outcomes. 

Component: School leaders lead teaching and learning


Leaders occasionally share their knowledge of the curriculum and pedagogical and assessment practices with teachers. Leaders occasionally lead staff professional learning. Leaders respond to teachers seeking advice on the school’s curriculum, pedagogy and assessment priorities and practices.  


Leaders participate in and lead professional learning for staff, sharing research, evidence and knowledge of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment. Leaders support teachers to review their classroom practice using a range of reflective activities. Leaders analyse data to plan and evaluate teaching and learning. Leaders ensure that PLCs/PLTs have allocated meeting time to evaluate the impact of their teaching on student learning and achievement. Leaders have a strong connection with their staff built on a culture of trust and mutual respect.  


Leaders act as ‘challenge partners’ for teachers and PLCs/PLTs. Leaders and teachers together systematically visit and review classroom practice. Leaders and PLCs/ PLTs routinely collect, analyse and use data to measure the impact of teaching, adjusting curriculum and strategic planning, content, processes and documentation accordingly.  


Leaders guide and challenge staff to use data and other sources of evidence to plan learning and teaching, and to evaluate the impact of their teaching on student achievements. Leaders use the PDP process to align teacher instructional and evaluation practices with the school’s goals and priorities. Leaders act on the understanding that they are accountable, individually and collectively, for leading the development and performance of staff. Leaders develop reciprocal partnerships with other schools through networks and Communities of Practice as system leaders.  

Component: The leadership team leads professional learning


Leaders participate in professional and community networks and forums to broaden their knowledge and practice. Leaders and teachers document the school’s whole-school professional learning program. Leaders implement an induction program for new teachers, introducing them to the professional learning culture of the school.  


Leaders regularly participate in professional learning with their staff, in formal, structured professional learning teams, and through informal discussions, coaching and mentoring. Leaders create a climate in which teachers and senior leaders know they can engage in challenging discussions about teaching and learning, and about school reform initiatives. Leading teachers support and facilitate the school’s professional learning program.  


Leaders mentor or coach colleagues who are keen to improve their teaching and administrative skills. Leaders engage in networks and/or Communities of Practice. Leaders make significant contributions to the work of the school’s PLCs/PLTs by collecting real-time data and giving feedback on the quality of work undertaken. Leaders provide time and resources for teachers to research and create new approaches in which impact is measured. Findings are integrated into school improvement plans and processes. Leaders design strategies and processes that support leadership development and create leadership roles within the school.  


Leaders participate in and actively lead network and/ or Communities of Practice, sharing knowledge and enabling staff to gain access to high-quality professional learning. Leaders participate in learning ‘walks and talks’ in other schools to monitor and evaluate the impact of teacher professional learning and improvements in practice.  


Case studies

To see examples of how schools in Victoria are implementing the FISO dimension: Instructional and shared leadership see: Instructional and shared leadership case studies.

Evidence base

To view the evidence base for the FISO professional leadership priority area see:

Evidence - Professional leadership evidence base


Why should my school engage with this dimension?
  • Principals cannot lead instructional improvement alone
  • The expansion of teacher leader numbers creates a critical mass of leadership and content expertise for supporting and implementing improvement
  • Leadership collaboration helps build a sense of collective responsibility for the accomplishments of all students
  • By understanding that learning and leading are firmly linked in community, we take the first essential step in building shared instructional leadership capacity.
  • Build a 'learning community' culture
  • Create a common focus for improvement
  • Build school-level leadership capacity
  • Hold leaders accountable for results
To what extent is this dimension being implemented in my school?

Consider whether leadership at your school is distributed and is centred around developing the capabilities of all teachers with a focus on collective responsibility for improving student outcomes.   

What does successful implementation look like?

  • Collaborative leadership is distributed throughout the school, and is used to develop the leadership capacity of staff
  • Professional learning is led by school leaders who ensure that teachers continually update their pedagogical content knowledge
  • There is a deep and current understanding of effective instructional techniques. Systematic methods to assess and develop the quality of teaching and learning in the school are established
  • Continuous evaluation and improvement of practice is integrated with performance and development processes
  • Teacher roles and actions reflect broad involvement, collaboration, and collective responsibility
  • Inquiry-based use of information and data guides shared decisions and practice.
What strategies and actions can my school implement?
  • Use 'learning walks/walk throughs'/peer observation models to support collaboration and the provision of support for the implementation of change in the classroom
  • Create common planning times for teachers to meet and collaborate on efforts to improve student outcomes
  • Utilise network and regional resources
  • Use instructional coaches as part of your strategy to improve instruction
  • Use a structured learning model with leadership teams to discuss the implications of ideas and as a means to challenge and integrate thinking and move to new and collective levels of understanding. These conversations give rise to new and better instructional practices.


More information

For more information, see: Professional Leadership priority