Dimension: vision values and culture

​This dimension is part of the Professional Leadership priority.

Overview

Our shared vision is to give every Victorian child and young person the best learning and development experience, and to uphold the shared values of integrity, responsiveness, impartiality, accountability, respect, leadership and a commitment to human rights. Schools collaborate through networks and Communities of Practice to share expertise, challenges and learn from one another.

 A school's vision makes clear to the whole school community its values and what it aims to achieve. The creation of a positive school climate rests on sharing, working together and revisiting vision and ambition, together with strategies that support the school's objectives and enhance the quality of teaching and learning.

Schools routinely build their vision, values and culture through communication with students, staff and parents/carers/kin, and through forging strong partnerships with community organisations and other service providers. Successful school leaders demonstrate their capacity to lead the school community through a future-focused vision, underpinned by a common purpose and shared values. Such alignment is integral to building a positive school culture that sustains continuous improvement.

Improvement measures

Results from system surveys, available in Panorama, can be used to measure progress, and as success indicators. Suggested surveys include:

  • School Staff Survey – the 'cultural leadership' and 'visibility' factors
  • Attitude to Schools Survey – the 'school connectedness' factor
  • Parent Opinion Survey – the 'school improvement' and 'general satisfaction' factors.

Supporting resource

The VTLM: Vision for Learning

Continuum

The Continuum for Vision, values and culture 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: The school embeds vision and values

Emerging

Leaders engage staff in discussions about the school’s vision, values and goals in the SSP, and connecting them to the system’s vision and values. Leaders set goals for the school, specifying school improvement targets from the SSP. They clarify expectations that the goals are informed by, and impact on, teaching and learning. Leaders provide opportunities for members of the school community to have a voice, and for students to understand how their own connectedness to the school is underpinned by values which they play a part in creating.

Evolving

Leaders engage teachers in developing a shared vision for school improvement with links to the system’s vision and values. Leaders work with teachers to identify improvement goals, and desired levels of achievement, while clarifying the relationship between planning and teaching and anticipated goals. Leaders actively engage with the whole school community and use a range of decision-making strategies in and activities to ensure commitment to the school’s vision.

Embedding

Leaders clearly articulate the school’s vision and values, their importance in guiding all school work and the connection to the system’s vision and values. Leaders work with staff to design school policies, processes and teaching programs grounded in agreed vision, values and SSP goals, and in key improvement strategies and targets. Leaders construct monitoring systems to evaluate how well programs and activities are aligned with the vision and goals.

Excelling

Leaders and teachers work together with the whole school community to develop and demonstrate values, informed by the school’s vision, embedding these deeply in everyday practices. Leaders and teachers develop reciprocal partnerships with other schools through networks and/or Communities of Practice.

Component: The school builds a positive school culture

Emerging

Leaders and teachers engage in discussions about the school’s culture and what can be done to strengthen that culture. Teachers establish their own classroom procedures, expectations and consequences.

Evolving

Leaders support teachers in building resilient, school-wide classroom cultures. Teachers and leaders agree on what constitutes evidence-based teaching, learning and wellbeing practices. Leaders use discussion and evaluation tools to examine levels of agreement about school practices and agreed norms, in order to build positive classroom and wider school culture. Teachers collaborate and support each other in upholding the shared vision, values and culture of the school.

Embedding

Leaders strongly reinforce the factors and processes that produce a positive culture across the school. Leaders observe classroom and school culture through frequent visits to classrooms at mutually agreed times. Leaders, in conjunction with teachers, students and others in the school community, review the school’s vision and values on a four-year cycle.

Excelling

Leaders transform their vision into systems, processes and practices that are supported by staff, students and community members. Leaders respond in ways that motivate and lift the morale of leadership teams, teachers, students and community members. Leaders, teachers and students engage the school community in supporting the student learning program. Leaders and teachers use a variety of feedback mechanisms with parents/carers/kin, students and peers to build a shared understanding of expectations held by the school and wider community.

Printable resource

Continuum as an A3 print out (pdf - 216.29kb)

Case studies

To see examples of how schools in Victoria are implementing the FISO dimension: Vision, values and cultures see: Vision, values and cultures case studies.

Evidence base

To view the Evidence Base for the FISO dimension: Vision, values and cultures see:

Evidence - Vision, values and cultures.

FAQs

Why should my school engage with this dimension?

Identifying where you want to go in relation to where you are is the key to identifying those areas where you need to improve. A vision statement can act as a "call to arms," or a way to rally support for the school's core educational values or an improvement plan. It can also mobilise the staff and community to move in a new direction or pursue more ambitious goals. Teachers may be working in relative isolation from one another. Moreover, teacher year levels or learning areas may be operating quasi-independently when it comes to making important decisions about what gets taught and how it gets taught.

To what extent is this dimension being implemented in my school?

Consider the following:

  • Does our school have a published vision and values statement that was developed with input from the school community?
  • How would school staff, parents, students and the school community describe the culture of our school?
  • Do our school goals, and the strategies to achieve these, align with our vision and values?

What can my school focus on?

Identify your school’s core beliefs and values to create an empowering framework for monitoring how well your school is doing. Are the existing individual strategies and activities aligned with these core values?

What does successful implementation look like?

  • Once developed, a vision is not static but is part of a regular cycle of reflection, planning and evaluation.
  • Values informed by the vision and developed collaboratively by the school community guide all behaviours and lead to a desired culture.
  • The vision informs, and is informed by, the goals that follow from it:
    • clear short term and long term learning goals for the school are embedded in school and classroom routines
    • the school's learning goals clearly  speak  to staff, articulating the detail and reasoning behind their design
    • explicit targets are expressed in terms of specific improvements sought in student performances, and which focus the whole school's attention on core learning priorities.

What strategies and actions can my school implement?

  • Your school can develop a vision statement by undertaking a visioning exercise. This should involve as many members of the school and broader community as possible.
  • Ask yourself:
    • Where are we now? (Describe the school today)
    • What's coming up? (What are the emerging issues that are affecting our school, our community?)
    • Where do we want to be? (What is our shared vision?)
    • How are we going to get there? (What actions are we going to take? What resources do we need?)
  • Go deeper by focusing the school's teaching and learning program on a set of common, agreed-upon learning goals.
  • Vision and value statements have the potential to focus school leaders and educators on making decisions that provide alignment with the vision. This leads to greater coherence in practice across the school, supporting more efficient and purposeful effective use of staff and classroom time.
  • Ensure that the insights of teachers, students, parents/carers and community are used to inform the school's goals and allow each group to participate in their development.

More information

For more information, see: Professional Leadership priority