Dimension: vision values and culture

​This dimension is part of the Professional Leadership priority.

Definition

  • A school's vision articulates to the whole school community its values and desired future achievements.
  • It aims to gain support for the school's core educational values, goals and improvement plan.
  • Schools routinely communicate their vision, values and culture to students, staff and parents.
  • Schools engage strong local partnerships with community organisations and other service providers.
  • Effective leaders demonstrate a capacity to lead the school community in promoting a future focused vision, underpinned by common purposes and values.
  • Effective leaders secure the commitment and alignment of stakeholders to realise the potential of all students.
  • Effective leaders set high expectations and prioritise student engagement and achievement.
  • Powerful whole-school goals are communicated clearly to focus attention on all teachers' responsibility to improve student outcomes. 
  • Effective leaders work hard at communicating goals and expectations and building teacher and community consensus.

Essential Elements

A number of elements are essential to enable effective work within the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes. Eight Essential Elements form the foundation upon which improvement is built.

The Essential Element for Vision, values and culture is:

Essential Element 3: School Improvement Team formed to develop, oversee and evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the Annual Implementation Plan: For Improving Student Outcomes (AIP).

The Essential Elements are evident at the Evolving stage of each Continuum (below) and are further articulated in the Embedding and Excelling stages in some dimensions.

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’s vision, values and culture position it for student improvement

Emerging

Leaders begin to develop the school vision and values. They engage staff in discussions about the school’s vision, values and goals and make links to the current work of the school. Leaders set goals for the school, specifying school improvement targets from the AIP. They set expectations that the goals should inform and impact upon teaching practice.

Evolving

Leaders work with staff to refine the development of the school vision and values. They use these as a guide, together with school performance data, to develop a set of clear goals for student learning that are aligned with the AIP. Leaders engage teachers in developing a shared vision for school improvement. They work with staff to identify learning improvement goals and clarify how planning and teaching will align with the goals. They engage staff in discussions about goal achievement.

Embedding

Leaders clearly articulate the school vision and values and their importance in guiding all school work. Analysis of student learning data and consultation with students and parents/carers inform the development of the school’s goals for improved student learning. Leaders work with staff to design school policies, processes and instructional programs around agreed vision, values and AIP targets. They engage staff in goal monitoring and goal alignment to vision and values.

Excelling

Values, informed by the school’s vision, and developed collaboratively by the whole school community, are strongly embedded in everyday practices of the school. Explicit targets in student outcomes focus the whole-school’s attention on core learning priorities. Leaders, staff and students co-design clear, short and long term goals for the AIP, aligned to the vision, values and culture of the school.

Component: School leaders communicate the vision and values and engage with stakeholders

Emerging

Leaders communicate the school’s vision, values and AIP goals to the staff. Leaders communicate with students, staff and parents to build alliances to support the school’s vision.

Evolving

Leaders communicate a vision for the school and ensure that parents/carers are informed of the AIP, school policies, programs and activities that reflect the school’s vision. The school values clearly underpin the work of the school. Leaders use a collaborative approach to develop a shared vision for the school. They provide opportunities for members of the school community to have a voice and use the school’s values to enhance student connectedness to the school.

Embedding

Leaders make public and reinforce the relationship between the school’s vision, values, goals and the improvement strategies articulated in the AIP. Leaders actively seek to engage with a range of stakeholders in the development and support of the school’s vision and values. Processes are established to consult with students, parents/carers and potential barriers to engagement are identified.

Excelling

Leaders articulate the school’s vision and values and explain how these reflect the needs and aspirations of the school community. They consistently reference short and long-term school planning and resource decisions to the school vision and goals. Leaders actively engage with the whole school community and use a range of strategies to secure commitment to the school’s vision. Strategies are in place to address barriers to engagement. The school monitors how well programs and activities are aligned with the vision and goals.

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