Improvement cycle

​The improvement cycle supports teachers, school leadership teams and school improvement teams to focus on better outcomes for our students. Learn about the stages of the improvement cycle and how to plan the right improvement strategies.

Improvements to teaching practice and student learning are strongly dependent on effective implementation within an evidence-based improvement cycle.

The FISO improvement cycle can be used at different levels, from the whole-school to the classroom. It can also be used over different time periods, from four-week cycles to annual cycles.

Stages of the improvement cycle


  • Evaluate and diagnose​ their performance successes and challenges around their key improvement initiatives and strategies
  • Prioritise and set goals​ for improvement strategies and initiatives that have the greatest impact on student learning
  • Develop and plan​  their improvement strategies and initiatives to ensure successful implementation
  • Implement and monitor their selected improvement strategies and initiatives and the impact these have on student learning

Why you should use the improvement cycle

The FISO improvement cycle guides school leaders and teachers to follow an effective inquiry process that is informed by evidence. This enables schools to identify areas of strength and areas of practice that need improving and to plan the right improvement strategies.

Effective use of the FISO improvement cycle is a staged and continuous process. It is a collaborative approach that is flexible, disciplined and focused on learning.

The improvement cycle will help guide principals and school leaders to:

  • combine good evidence with effective inquiry processes and external 'challenge partners' (where principals and teachers collaborate and share successful practice)
  • highlight your school's areas of strength and the areas of existing practice that need improving 
  • plan and monitor key improvement strategies
  • involve and engage your staff in identifying and implementing their improvement priorities.

How to use the improvement cycle

Annual implementation planning

School leaders can learn how to use the improvement cycle through the using evidence for impact guide to inform annual implementation planning for a new school year.

Principals should use this guide to lead school improvement teams and business managers.

The guide is structured in four sections, aligned to each stage of the improvement cycle. At each stage, a specific critical decision point is introduced to illustrate the actions that best support school improvement.

Professional learning communities: implementing FISO

Implement FISO at your school through your professional learning community (PLC).

The PLC guide will help your PLCs use the FISO improvement cycle to monitor students’ learning growth and improve their teaching practices.

Print improvement cycle resources

Download printable versions of the: