EDCI 6207 Developing Policies


Welcome to "Developing Policies to Complement Your School's Values." This course is intended to provide you with professional development by providing some practical tools and a better understanding of policies, and how they can be used to complement your school's values.

The course is divided into three modules.

  1. Setting policies in context
  2. Focusing on policies in your school
  3. Producing a policy for your school or department



There's no preparation work required to complete this course.


This is an independent study program which means your individual starting date and due date are based on your date of registration. Your instructor will advise you of this due date.

This is an interactive online course. Although you will be able to complete some of it just by sitting in front of your screen working through the online material, we will regularly ask you to reflect on what you have learned, and put ideas into practice.

  • Activities - exercises or reflections for you to carry out in front of your computer screen. Unlike a Task, there is no specific end product, and you'll always be able to complete them on your own.
  • Tasks - similar to Activities, but requiring you to put your learning into practice in a specific situation in school.
  • Forms - use to collect the information learned.
  • Resources -

    a) RESOURCE FORMS: Has PDF forms to help you answer questions in the Student Books

    b) RESOURCE FURTHER READING: Includes clarifications about the module.

    c) REFERENCE LINKS: Has links to websites referred to in the module.

    d) DEFINITIONS: Has definitions of terms used in the module.

    e) BIBLIOGRAPHY: The bibliography is located at the bottom of this page that includes books you may check out at your local library.

  • Student Book- for you to record your reflections and send to your instructor.

At any time you may email your instructor with questions or problems you may be having with the material or the web site.

How do I get the Student Book to my instructor?

You will need to email it to your instructor. Download and save the document as described below and then you can enter your own text into the Student Book word document. Your instructor will expect a version of your Student Book as you complete each module. These can be saved by you in your files as well as being sent to your course instructor via email as an email attachment.

How do I save and name the Student Book?

You cannot type your answers on this web site. You must download your Student Book template which is a word document, by clicking on the download link below.

For your Student Book, please use a text document or a Microsoft Word document and type your text there. Title the document like this:

  • DATE


like this


Save the Student Book on your computer and complete the assignments on the document and then email it to your teacher.


Click here to download all student books




MODULE1: Setting policies in context

Module 1a: Setting policies in context

Module 1b: Intended learning outcomes for Module 1

Module 1c: Activity 1: Statements of values and intentions

Module 1d: Activity 2: Identifying the pressures – the expression of need

Module 1e: Activity 3: The policy's aims

Module 1f: Activity 4: The politics of policies – the creative fires

Module 1g: Roles and responsibilities

Module 1h: Activity 5: Working together – governors/Board members and the leadership team

Module 1i: Getting other people involved

Module 1j: Do we really need policies?

Module 1k:The school development plan (SDP)

Module 1l: Activity 7: Roles and responsibilities and the SDP

Module 1m: Activity 8: The school development plan and policies

Module 1n: Activity 9: When the SDP gives rise to policies

Module 1o: What have you learned? Evaluation of your learning from Module 1

Module 1p: Congratulations

MODULE 2: Focusing on policies in your school

Module 2a: Intended learning outcomes for Module 2

Module 2b: Activity 10: Which policies do you have?

Module 2c: Activity 11: Policies for which you're responsible

Module 2d: Is it really a policy?

Module 2e: Activity 12: What's in a policy?

Module 2f: Activity 13: What does a policy look like?

Module 2g: Activity 14: The initial statement

Module 2h: Activity 15: Additional supporting statements (1)

Module 2i: Activity 15: Additional supporting statements (2)

Module 2j: Activity 16: Evidence for a policy document

Module 2k: Activity 17: Making it right for your school

Module 2l: Nesting and overlapping

Module 2m: Activity 18: Nesting policies

Module 2n: Task 1: Auditing your policies

Module 2o: What have you learned? Evaluation of your learning from Module 2

Module 2p: Congratulations

MODULE 3: Producing a policy for your school or department

Module 3A: Intended learning outcomes for Module 3

Module 3B: First steps

Module 3C: Activity 19: Finding a policy to work on

Module 3D: Task 2: Where to begin?

Module 3E: Be transparent

Module 3F: Task 3: Stating your intentions

Module 3G:Activity 20: Who are the key players?

Module 3H: Involving the key players

Module 3I:Task 4: Recruiting the key players

Module 3J: Meetings (1)

Module 3K: Meetings (2)

Module 3L: Task 5: Towards the first draft

Module 3M: Activity 21: Collating the first draft ideas

Module 3N: Developing the drafts

Module 3O: Activity 22: Dealing with responses to drafts

Module 3P: Task 6: Producing the final policy

Module 3Q: Task 7: A fresh pair of eyes

Module 3R: Task 8: Formal approval

Module 3S: Putting the policy into practice

Module 3T: Activity 23: Monitoring the policy

Module 3U: Final word

Module 3V: What have you learned? Evaluation of your learning from Module 3

Module 3W: Congratulations

Module 1a- Setting policies in context. Introduction to Module 1

Welcome to "Developing Policies to Complement Your School's Values". This course is intended to provide you with professional development by providing some practical tools and a better understanding of policies, and how they can be used to complement your school's values.


Module 1b-Intended learning outcomes for Module 1

In this module we'll start by looking at what a policy actually is - defining it partly by distinguishing it from all the other documents and statements that flow through the life of a school and also by considering it as an instrument of school development, stemming from the overall school development plan (SDP). We'll study the politics of policy making - the pressures which give rise to school policies - and we'll look at the general context in which policies operate.

By the end of this module you should:

  • be able to broadly define what a school policy is
  • understand the roles of key people in school policy making
  • understand the context in which policies operate


Module 1c-Activity 1: Statements of values and intentions

Consider the headings below:

  • Values
  • Mission statements
  • Aims
  • Objectives
  • Targets
  • Goals
  • Programs
  • Procedures
  • Syllabuses
  • Policies
  • Plans

Now go to your Student book (1) and type underneath each heading - quickly, stream of consciousness without stopping to think too hard - anything in your school that fits under that heading. Then look at Resource 1: Statements of values and intentions explained to see our discussion of the differences between them.

(Remember, whenever a word or phrase appears on the screen in burnt orange, as with 'Student book(1)' above, click on it to download your student book or simply go to your student book you downloaded.

Finally, look at Resource 2: Intentions family tree. This is just an example of how some of the headings above might fit together in a typical school.


Module 1d-Activity 2: Identifying the pressures – the expression of need

In their seminal work 'The Self-managing School', Brian Caldwell and Jim Spinks write that:
"Policy arises from the various desires, wants, needs and demands which are expressed in the school community."

These pressures, from different directions, nag away until it's clear there's an issue that won't go away. Let's see how this might work with one sort of policy.

The International School of Erehwon (ISE - our fictional school), as a matter of some urgency, decides it needs a behavior policy. Spend a little time reflecting on these questions:

"ISE needs a behavior policy": which groups of people, exactly, are likely to be expressing this need?

What pressures are likely to have brought about this expression of need?

Go to your Student book (2) and note your initial thoughts on these questions.

Then look at Resource 3: Behavior policy at ISE to see a response to these questions, and add to or change your notes in your Student book (2) if you wish.


Module 1e-Activity 3: The policy's aims

ISE will have expressed either implicitly or explicitly its values and its mission. These will influence all policy making.

However, can you see that in this example the pressures that brought forward the need for a behavior policy will also be significant in defining the policy's aims?

Note down, in your Student book(3), in just one or two sentences, the aims of ISE's behavior policy, referring back to the pressures that caused the school to develop the policy.

Then look at Resource 4: Aims of a behavior policy to see some prompts, and again, add any useful points to your Student book (3) if you wish.


Module 1f- Activity 4: The politics of policies – the creative fires

The need for a policy can be expressed in political terms. Read Resource 5: Political tensions around ISE's behavior policy. This shows that a policy is often created in response to an issue that cries out for clarification. That's only part of the story, though. It's not difficult to see that the tensions which created the demand for a policy will resurface during its creation.

List the "political" issues that will arise during the shaping of ISE's behavior policy. Think of them as questions to which staff members are bound to have very different answers. Note them in your Student book(4). You may agree with the tensions in Resource 5 (you can copy and paste them into your Student book if you wish), but you'll doubtless think of more of your own.

You'll need to think about the values you want to create within your school. You may want to look at Resource 6: Values are the key, for some points to consider.


Module 1g-Roles and responsibilities

Policies are developed and run by people in their various roles. So before we go any further, let's clarify roles and responsibilities - something which will become even more important when we look at how to create a policy from scratch.

Read Resource 7: Roles and responsibilities, which outlines the typical division of labor between Board members and the leadership team in maintained schools in England. In international schools, the responsibilities of the Board will be a little different, but there may be similarities worth noting.

Clearly there has to be a working partnership approach to policies between Board members and the leadership team. We'll discuss this more in the Activity that follows.


Module 1h- Activity 5: Working together – governors/Board members and the leadership team

What do you think are the characteristics of an effective and efficient working relationship between the governing body/Board and the leadership team with regard to the SDP and school policies?

Write up your initial thoughts in your Student book (5). Then read an opinion in Resource 8: Working together, and if you like, add to your entry in your Student book


Module 1i-Getting other people involved

Policies may be called into being and underwritten by the leadership team and School Board members. They won't get far, though, unless many more interested people are involved. One key to the effectiveness of a policy lies in the concept of "ownership" - the notion that people will be much more involved in any project if they've not only been consulted about the need for the project in the first place, but also had a hand in the planning. How this wider involvement can be achieved is something we'll return to later in the course.


Module 1j-Do we really need policies?

Let's pause for a moment to see whether what we are doing here is simply creating a lot of extra paper.

There's an understandable reaction against excessive paperwork in schools. Because policies and all the other related statements and plans usually end up written down and presented in files and folders, the question inevitably arises as to whether they're necessary. "We managed all right before we had them", is what you often hear, just as you sometimes find heads and heads of department saying, usually as a criticism of a past regime, "When I arrived, there were no policies".

The best response is to say that policies are always there even if we can't see them. Although there may be a dearth of attractive folders with the name of the school and the word "policy" in the title, no school (or any other organization) can function without at least some agreed ways of doing things, e.g., how to manage behavior, when and how to give homework. But some staff will say:

"They're not policies, they're just the things we always do."

It always helps to see both sides of the argument, so note in your Student book (6) two opposing responses - one that approves of the statement, and one which finds fault with it.

Then read Resource 9: "Just the things we always do" and add to your Student book entry if you wish.


Module 1k-The school development plan (SDP)

We'll now look briefly at the relationship between policies and the SDP. These two are at the center of all that happens in school.

Importantly, the SDP has to be a living, organic thing, constantly in view and constantly under review. It has to have a rolling timescale - so if it's a five-year plan, the five years always starts today. It's always ready to change and bend to the winds of legislation, curricular innovation, budgetary shifts and the demands of society.

Inevitably, a five or seven-year plan will be more "strategic" in concept than an 18-month or two-year plan, which would have more "tactical" features.


Module 1l-Activity 7: Roles and responsibilities and the SDP

The SDP is a document which is the direct responsibility of the leadership team and Board in partnership. As we mentioned, its scope and timescale will vary from school to school.

Given that the SDP is a vision of where the school is going in the next two, five or more years, what do you think are the kinds of strategic decisions that the leadership team and the Board have to take in making sure that the SDP fulfils its purpose? In your Student book(7), make a list of the issues they must constantly bear in mind.

To see more thoughts on this issue, read Resource 10: SDP issues .


Module 1m-Activity 8: The school development plan and policies

Now, let's look at the relationship between the SDP and the many policies that define the day-to-day work of the school.
This relationship can be described in two ways. Either the SDP is the wellspring from which all the policies flow, or it's further downstream - the reservoir formed by the accumulation of all the policies.

Which do you think it is? Read Resource 11: Chicken and egg Which comes first in your school? Write up your thoughts in your Student book (8).


Module 1n-Activity 9: When the SDP gives rise to policies

Look at the three examples of SDP objectives below:

  1. PE is at a low ebb and attainment must be improved over the next three years.
  2. (Secondary) We have a good record in language teaching and want to become a language college within two years.
  3. (Primary) The Year 6 science results have been below par and they need to be brought up to the standards achieved in English within two years.

From these intentions, you can develop policies. You'll notice that in each case more than one policy, in more than one area of school life, will be needed to achieve what the SDP sets out. Go to your Student book (9), and for each of the SDP intentions - on PE, modern foreign languages (MFL) and science - say briefly what new policies or changes to existing policies will be needed to bring them to fruition. Remember that each of the headings may involve more than one policy, affecting more than one department. Look at the Resource 12: Example policy changes to see what you might suggest for the first target.


Module 1o-What have you learned? Evaluation of your learning from Module 1

When you have worked through the Activities and Tasks in this module, please look again at the intended learning outcomes for Module 1. By the end of this module you should: be able broadly to define what a school policy is understand the roles of key people in school policy making understand the context in which policies operate How much has this module helped you to achieve these outcomes? Make a note in your Student book (10) and e-mail your comments to your instructor.


Module 1p-Congratulations


Module 2: Focusing on policies in your school.

Module 2a - Intended learning outcomes for Module 2

In this module, we'll first take a quick look at what policies a school should have in place, and get you to do a brief initial audit of how that compares with what you actually have in your school or area of responsibility. Then we'll examine in more detail what a finished policy should contain. This will equip you, towards the end of the module, to do a more detailed audit of your existing policies.

By the end of this module you should:

  • know what policies a school should have in place
  • know in some detail what the finished policy is like and what it can do
  • know what policies your own school (or area of responsibility within the school) has in place


Module 2b-Activity 10: Which policies do you have?

Print off Resource 13: Your policies. Without stopping for too long to think, write down in the first column what policies you'd expect to find in a school. You can then look at Resource 14: What policies? to see our list.


Module 2c- Activity 11: Policies for which you're responsible

Now review the list you started in Resource 13, and in the second column note the policies which fall within your own area of responsibility or interest. Then for each one, answer these questions:

  • Do you have a copy of this policy?
  • Is it written down or implicit?
  • Is it up-to-date?
  • If it's written down, do you know, without looking, where to find it?
  • When and where is it referred to? (E.g., in the school handbook.)
  • When was the last time the policy or any part of it was discussed by staff and/or Board members?


Module 2d- Is it really a policy?

Before we go any further, let's recap on what it is that makes a policy different from other statements and documents. In Module 1 we spent some time on this, and it's important that you're clear about it before going on either to review your existing policies or to create new ones.
Now look at these three statements. Are any of them policies do you think? If not what are they?

1. "International School of Erehwon. Working together for success."

2. "Discipline at ISE: we encourage responsible behavior through an agreed and open system of rewards and sanctions, partly regulated by the students themselves."

3. "Broken glass in ISE.

4. In order to safeguard all staff against accidental injury, it's necessary to adopt a procedure whereby every incident in which glass is broken should be reported at once to the site manager. Students must be kept away from the immediate area until a member of the site staff can deal with the problem. Only authorized site staff should attempt to deal with the broken glass."

Click on Resource 15: A policy is... for a reminder.


Module 2e- Activity 12: What's in a policy?

A health and safety policy will be different from a sex education policy. Nevertheless, if they are to share the title "policy" then they must have some common characteristics. What are they? Write up your thoughts in your Student book(11).

Look at Resource 16: Policy key words for our suggestions, and add to your Student book entry if you wish.


Module 2f-Activity 13: What does a policy look like?

What do you think a policy should look like? Is it one page of A4, or a big folder? Does it need to exist at all in any physical form?

If we're going to decide what goes into a school policy, we should try to visualize what one physically looks like. Consider this: if someone asks about one of your policies, what exactly will you show them?

Write a couple of sentences in your Student book (12) describing what a policy should look like.

Then click on Resource 17: The nature of the beast to see our thoughts, and add to or amend your Student book entry if you wish.


Module 2g- Activity 14: The initial statement

The initial statement should be brief, but convey a flavor of the values that drive the policy. Remember, though, that policies are calls to action, so that has to be there, too.

With that rubric in mind - that the initial statement is founded in values and beliefs, but speaks of what's to be done - see if you can write one. Imagine a visitor asks you, 'What's your homework policy?' What might you say? Your initial response to a query like this will probably reflect the initial statement of your policy. Look at Resource 18: The initial statement for our suggestion.


Module 2h-Activity 15: Additional supporting statements (1)

Adequate though your initial policy statement is for a quick response to an enquiry, you wouldn't want to present it to an official visitor on the back of an envelope as your homework policy! (It should be said, though, that if the visitor saw that it was being put into action in a coherent and energetic way, you would certainly be in a better position than the school which presented a big fat fictional policy. As always, it's what's happening in the classroom that counts.)


Module 2i-Activity 15: Additional supporting statements (2)

To do the job properly, the initial statement needs supporting statements.

As head of ISE, take that policy statement on homework:

"Our homework policy and procedures enable us to develop high educational standards, in line with our school aims. They reflect our commitment to partnership between teachers and parents/care-givers to ensure that pupils use all opportunities to study effectively at home."

In your Student book 13) add four or five bullet points - additional policy statements, or an indication of what might be in them - which go further towards explaining the school's approach to homework.

Don't go into a lot of detail - set the framework in each case, and remember you're talking about actions. Then look at Resource 19: Supporting statements for a homework policy to see our suggestions.


Module 2j- Activity 16: Evidence for a policy document

You can see that now, almost without noticing, we're creating an effective and practical policy document. Bearing in mind that you might attach the advice to parents and the good practice guide for teachers, this document is now several pages long, and warrants that smart folder - unless you make a deliberate decision to keep it electronically so that it can be continuously under review.

Think of any policy that's familiar to you in your own school. What, in general, would you hope to find in the "Evidence" section? Write a couple of lines in your Student book (14). (We don't expect a bibliography, just a general idea of what's there - or ought to be.) If you need some help, click on Resource 20: Things to consider.


Module 2k-Activity 17: Making it right for your school

Very importantly, your document should also include some evidence to show why this particular policy is right for your school. That means referring back to your basic school values. Using the same policy as you thought of for Activity 16, note down in your Student book (15) what makes it particular to your school, and which would need to be changed if it were picked up by another school that you know.


Module 2l-Nesting and overlapping

Now we'll turn for a while from the internal structure of policies and think of how they relate to each other. We've already seen that policies don't stand in splendid isolation - they all have their roots in the school development plan for one thing, not least because it's necessary that they all reflect the same school values. In addition, though, they can both nest and overlap. We've already seen that a section from the staff handbook might appear in the homework policy folder. Similarly, a section of the home-school policy might also appear in the homework policy folder. That's always going to happen, and there's nothing wrong with it provided that there are no contradictions - that what's said in the homework policy conflicts with what's said in the home-school policy, for example.


Module 2m-Activity 18: Nesting policies

Just as policies overlap, they also nest inside each other. A good example will almost certainly be found in the way that most schools write curriculum policies. Consider the school curriculum. There are probably lots of policies that bear upon it. So think of an example of 'nesting' policies for the school curriculum. Then look at Resource 21: Nesting policies for an example.


Module 2n-Task 1: Auditing your policies

The final and biggest task in this unit will be that of using your new found expertise in knowing what a policy should be as a tool to evaluate the policies for which you are responsible or in which you have an interest. For a quick reminder, click on Resource 22: Policy characteristics. Now you can carry out a proper audit of policies - perhaps the policies for which you are responsible, or maybe a wider range of policies as a service to your leadership team. Use Resource 23: Policy audit document that we've provided. Print off and use a separate sheet for each policy. Resource 24: Policy audit document guidance should give you all the help you may need when you first start using the form.


Module 2o-What have you learned? Evaluation of your learning from Module 2

When you have worked through the Activities and Tasks in this module, please look again at the intended learning outcomes for Module 2.

By the end of this module you should:

  • know what policies a school should have in place
  • know in some detail what the finished policy is like and what it can do
  • know what policies your own school (or area of responsibility within the school) has in place

How much has this module helped you to achieve these outcomes? Make your notes in your Student book (16) and e-mail your comments to your instructor.


Module 2p- Congratulations


Module 3a- Producing a policy for your school or department Intended learning outcomes for Module 3

In this module we'll concentrate on helping you to produce a policy for your school or department. You could, of course, treat the whole thing as a simulation - but it would be much more beneficial to you and your school if you were to produce a real live working policy that would make its own contribution to teaching and learning in the school. At this point you may think it's going to be difficult to find a way of producing a real policy. We hope to convince you that it may be a bit easier than you think.
This module is one self-contained exercise, involving a number of Activities and Tasks to create a single policy, using the theoretical information and practical tools you have learnt already from this course.

By the end of this module you should:

  • have produced - or at least be well on the way to producing - a new or revised policy for an area of your school responsibility
  • have learned, in the process of doing it, about the practical issues involved in producing an effective school policy
  • understand the importance of translating policy into practice


Module 3b- First steps

Now it's time to put the theory into practice and produce a policy for use in your school or department. (If this is your first effort at producing a policy, we would strongly recommend that you start with a departmental, rather than a whole school policy.)
If you're not at policy-making level in your school, this may daunt you. Don't despair however. For one thing, nobody, not even the head, can produce a policy single-handed. It has to be developed and owned by a cross-section of the people who are affected by it.

The most a single person can do is to lead and coordinate the process - which is something that can be done by any member of staff at any level. The leadership team may well be grateful that a keen colleague is willing to take on the task.

You're going to identify a policy upon which you can work, and which will make a positive contribution to teaching and learning. This might take some time - you want to get it right, and it shouldn't be just a paper exercise to get you through the course. You need to be spending your time on something that's of real benefit to the school.

This module assumes that there is not a clear-cut existing policy-making structure in your school. If there is, then you may have to adapt the processes outlined here.


Module 3c- Activity 19: Finding a policy to work on

You need a starting point. It's very likely that somewhere in the files of policy documents in your school, or within your own department, is one that requires rewriting or updating. It's even possible that there's a gap in the list of policies that your school should have.
Offers to rewrite, revise or update school policies are invariably welcomed. The strong possibility is that someone, somewhere, is feeling guilty about not having done it already. Don't forget what we said in Module 1 about the way that policies emerge in response to issues - there's disagreement, frustration, uncertainty, so a policy is called into being to restore order and point the way forward. Where are the disagreements and frustrations in your area of school life that are crying out for a policy?

Click on Resource 25: Policy examples for some inspiration, or look again at Resource 2 which you completed in Activity 10 for some ideas on out-of-date or missing policies in your school. Visit the Discussion board to see what previous students have chosen as their area to work on.

Why have you selected the policy you have? What sorts of issues exist, meaning there's a need to create or update this policy? Record your thoughts in your Student book (17).


Module 3d - Task 2: Where to begin?

Clearly the best place to start finding the contribution you can make is close to home - in your own department or area of responsibility. And the best way to do it is to talk to the person in charge of the area, in a quiet moment when you both have chance to think and make notes.
For example, ideally you'll be in the head of department's room and together you'll go carefully down a list of departmental policies, thinking about what needs updating, and where the gaps are. It would be an unusual department that didn't have some rickety old policies that were overdue for replacement. If it helps, you can use the Resource 26: Policy checklist as the basis for the discussions you have.

Talk to people (classroom teachers, management, support staff, Board members) and let it be known what you are about. Work at this consultation process until there emerges a policy gap to which you can usefully contribute.


Module 3e - Be transparent

Let's assume that you've now identified the policy you're going to work on. The next preparatory step is to let colleagues know what you are about, and to suggest that you'll be hoping to engage them as consultants and "cooperators". This is important, because:

  • if you're in a school that's quite conscious of status, and you're not very far up the pecking order, you need to be cautious and courteous about telling colleagues you're writing a policy which will affect them
  • even if you are among the more senior or long-serving staff, you still need the diplomatic touch - people will be much keener on a policy for which they see the need and in which they have been involved

It's also wise to be clear that by doing this exercise you're also serving your own professional development ends. That's because:

  • if they find out later, colleagues may feel slightly cheated that you're not just altruistic
  • the evidence from such exercises is that people are actually more cooperative
  • if they know you're gaining professionally
  • it provides additional legitimacy if you're doing this from low down in the hierarchy


Module 3f - Task 3: Stating your intentions

So now it's time to garner opinions from your colleagues. The best way to let them know your intentions is via a memo or email. Create a memo or email to send to your colleagues. If you like, you can use Resource 27: Introductory memo as a starting point. You can cut and paste as little or as much as you like into your own memo.

(Note: remember to send the memo or email to everyone who will be affected by the policy - this may be everyone in your school.)


Module 3g - Activity 20: Who are the key players?

You may be the prime mover in writing or rewriting this policy, but you're not going to be the only one keeping it alive and moving once it's in place. That means you need to know who's working with you on the policy, who's affected by it, and who will have to make it work. You need clarity here, with no denials and surprises further down the line.

You have to involve other people, and they have to be at least a representative sample of those who will have to work with the policy.

Go to your Student book (18) and make a list of those people who will be involved with you in developing your policy. Keep this list up-to-date throughout the process, as people drop off and others join in the process. You can make notes about the involvement of each person throughout the module.


Module 3H - Involving the key players

How do you think you are going to involve other people so that they have input and ownership of the policy as it develops?
You might be tempted to form a committee (or working party, which boils down to the same thing). That might be fine - you know how your school works - but don't just do it automatically, without thinking. There's an old adage that says: "If you don't know what to do, set up a committee". It can actually be a substitute for action. Committees can get bogged down by the simple mechanics of trying to get members together at mutually convenient times.

The next Task might give you an idea for an alternative.

Module 3I - Task 4: Recruiting the key players


Circulate a memo or email to everyone who may have the faintest interest in what you're about to do - in some cases that will mean everybody. Tell them what you're up to and say that there'll be organized opportunities for them to contribute. Emphasize that, in addition, if at any point they wish to plug into the process they can do so by:

  • talking to you
  • reading the draft policy and associated notes as the process goes on
  • sending notes and suggestions to you, whether in response to drafts or simply as the ideas occur
  • having meetings with appropriate people as necessary

If it helps, use the Resource 28: Recruiting memo as a starting point. Again, you can cut and paste the text from this Resource to form the basis for your memo or email, or create your own. Remember to circulate this to everyone who the policy involves.


Module 3J - Meetings (1)

A note about meetings:
We've played down the idea of policy making by meeting. That's because there are already too many meetings in most schools. It's hard to see how you can do without them altogether though. So we suggest just two main types - you needn't use them, or you can devise your own alternatives. The general principle is that you aim to have meetings only as necessary and only with the people who need to be there.


Module 3K- Meetings (2)

Two types of meeting:
1. The working meeting. This involves a small number of people and is really going to get something done. Have the working meeting when you really need it - which is when there's a crossroads or an impasse in the development process.

2. The consultative meeting. This is where you meet a special interest group to take their views. On behavior, for example, you may meet, separately or in various combinations, the school council, the year heads, the lunchtime supervisors. You'll put the emerging draft before them, explain the philosophy and the reasoning, and take their views. If they want further meetings, try to accommodate them.

In addition to these two, for important policies that have a wide impact, you may also want to hold a general meeting that keeps a wider audience in touch with what's going on and allows them to ask questions and make contributions. This can be advertised as an "Open meeting to discuss the new behavior policy" and should be held in a room large enough to accommodate everyone in school who wants to come.


Module 3L - Task 5: Towards the first draft

You need now to start thinking about collecting ideas, writing them down and circulating them. So that's the next part of the continuing exercise.
Spend some time collecting the views of your key players by whichever means you think are appropriate. You want to know quite simply what they think the issues are, and how they can be addressed.


Module 3M - Activity 21: Collating the first draft ideas

Once you've received all the feedback from colleagues, you should summarize it and circulate it back to them. Try to edit the feedback as follows:

  • gather together similar ideas
  • boil them down hard to bullet points
  • highlight contrasting or dissenting views
  • end by asking questions, e.g., how can conflicts be resolved, which is the best of two competing notions, etc
  • circulate your notes back to the original list

Do this as often as is necessary to the point where you think you can produce a sensible short draft.


Module 3N - Developing the drafts

Whether you use email or paper, you need to keep making and circulating drafts of your policy. Keep these drafts simple. Don't be misled by the word 'draft' here. It's sometimes used to describe a document that's actually finished, but just needs approval. Your draft policies are much more 'in progress' than that. Include the following three sections:

  • a section that summarizes the bits that you've all agreed and are now to be regarded as fixed
  • a section that summarizes the bits that are still under discussion
  • an open section for people to add comments

Click on Resource 29: Handling drafts for some more advice.


Module 3O - Activity 22: Dealing with responses to drafts

How you deal with responses to draft policies is important. We can't predict what type of response you'll get from your own draft, so here's a quick activity to get you practicing on some notional responses.
Here are three responses to the draft uniform policy we showed you in Resource 29:

  • From Emma: "I'm definitely against selling sweatshirts in school. We're not a shop - does someone think I'm a shop assistant now?"
  • From Jill: "I think we need to use a specialist supplier. There are some good ones now, and using one would ensure real uniformity.'"
  • From Jim: "At some point can we look at shoes? There's the whole trainer thing to consider, apart from anything else."
  • Go to your Student book (19), and write a couple of lines for each of them, indicating how you'd deal with it, in terms of developing your policy.

Then read Resource 30: Dealing with the responses for our suggestions, and add to or amend the notes in your Student book .


Module 3P - Task 6: Producing the final policy

The final policy statement will evolve rather than arrive in a moment of drama. At some point the drafts will have everything in the first section and either nothing in the 'still under discussion" section, or just one or two minor points that you can deal with quickly. And of course, you're covered by the fact that the policy must always be under continuous review.
So now you must write your policy statement - making sure that it adheres to the following principles. A policy statement:

  • is a call to action - it's about what you're going to do, not just about philosophy and belief
  • is clear in its intentions
  • is as brief as is necessary to achieve its ends
  • is capable of being put into practice immediately or in the very near future
  • has a coherent structure - remember we suggest an initial statement, a series of supporting statements, and a section of evidence. Other
  • linked papers can be included, or they may develop later and be the work of other colleagues

Resource 31: Policy template contains a template structure for a policy. You can use this as a starting point, create your own or use the template already in practice in your school. If this is an improvement on your current practice, print off copies and circulate to colleagues.

See Resource 32: The sections explained for a brief explanation of each heading.


Module 3Q - Task 7: A fresh pair of eyes

Find two or three people who know your school, but weren't involved in producing the policy, and ask them to read it for clarity and brevity and also to see if they understand that it really is about what's going to happen. The question is:

  • "How do you think teaching and learning in our school will be improved by this policy?"

Record the feedback in your Student book (20), and note any action you'll need to take.


Module 3R - Task 8: Formal approval

There is now the need to ensure that the leadership team and the School Board give formal approval to your policy. You need to arrange to present your final document to them to obtain any formal approval necessary. How you do this will obviously depend on the procedures in place in your school.

If need be, you can show the work you have done in this course to the relevant people, by presenting completed Resource sheets or print-outs from the relevant pages of your Student book .


Module 3S - Putting the policy into practice

What you now have is just a beginning. In a sense any policy is always in draft form. That really doesn't matter - in fact it's a strength, and it's made much easier if you use information technology to the full - email, your school intranet or standard network. Importantly, your policy will immediately fall into a review process that's already in place for all school policies.


Module 3T - Activity 23: Monitoring the policy

Your new policy is a fragile being - you have a strong stake in its survival, but that's not necessarily good enough - it won't be successful unless there's general commitment to making it work.

What conditions need to be in place if your policy is to survive and develop? Reflect on this, and note down some ideas in your Student book (21). You can look at Resource 33: What needs to be in place for some pointers.


Module 3U - Final word

Here's a very common experience from schools :

Supervisor: I was interested in how you dealt with that disruptive child. How will you follow that up?

Teacher: Oh, I'll probably have a word with the principal about him.

Supervisor: What does the behavior policy say about following up that level of classroom disruption?

Teacher: Er...Not sure really...

It's often a cause of frustration for heads that classroom teachers will either show inadequate knowledge of school policies, or worse, will flatly deny that a policy exists.

It's what happens in the classroom that counts. The policy should ensure there's clarity and consistency - but that doesn't mean that the document is clear and consistent. It means that the actual practice in the classroom is driven by clear understanding of what the school requires, and is consistent from department to department, teacher to teacher.


Module 3V - What have you learned? Evaluation of your learning from Module 3

When you have worked through the Activities and Tasks in this module, please look again at the intended learning outcomes for Module 3.
By the end of this module you should:

  • have produced - or at least be well on the way to producing - a new or revised policy for an area of your school responsibility
  • have learned, in the process of doing it, about the practical issues involved in producing an effective school policy
  • understand the importance of translating policy into practice

How much has this module helped you to achieve these outcomes? Make a note in you Student book (22) and e-mail your comments to your instructor.

Module 3W Congratulations



Resource 1: Statements of values and intentions explained

These are the principles by which the school sets its strategies, plans and policies. They are often broad statements which begin "we believe…", e.g., "we believe in giving pupils another chance' or 'we believe in equality of access", or "we believe individuals are stronger in communities".

Mission statements
A school will typically have just one of these. It can be anything from a slogan such as "Working together for success" to a page of text saying much the same thing, but embellished with phrases like "respecting the worth of every individual' and 'the full range of opportunities". If it's carefully and concisely written, it can be a statement of the values that you share and want to develop in your students.

These are broad statements of intent, e.g., "Our aim is to significantly improve attainment in science". They don't give numerical detail, nor do they say how you're going to get there.

Objectives are more focused statements of intent, e.g., "Our objective is to increase by 50 percent the number of Grade 10 science lessons where pupils undertake practical work".

We're all very familiar with targets. They specify desired improvement in close numerical terms. E.g., 'our target is to achieve 75 percent "five A to Cs" within two years'. They're often externally imposed (or at least the requirement to have them is externally imposed) - e.g., from management to department, - and they can be individual to a pupil or group of pupils as well as to a school or department.

This is often not a separate category. They might be the same as "aims", or might fit somewhere between "aims" and "targets".

Structured educational activities over a specific time-scale with a subject focus. E.g., we have a strong program of exchanges with partner schools abroad, to support cultural understanding and enhance language learning.

These tell you what to do in very specific circumstances. E.g., the procedure for getting children in from the playground or the procedure for circulating the minutes of meetings.

Policies are the pivotal statements of intent that drive the work of the school. A policy defines a significant area of school life, briefly states what is to be achieved in that area and then sets guidelines - but not detailed instructions - on how to get there. It is, in one classic definition (Caldwell and Spinks 1992): "A set of guidelines which provide a framework for action." (p.8)

The word "action" is important. A policy isn't passive. It doesn't describe what you're like or how you look, or what you believe. So a statement such as 'ISE is a school in which children behave themselves' isn't a behavior policy. An effective behavior policy would tell us in broad terms how ISE was going to achieve this state.

A policy, therefore, speaks of what you will do. It may not set out the fine detail - that's what the procedures are for - but it's clearly about taking action. So the health and safety policy sets out the framework for actions which will make the school a safer place. A behavior policy sets out a framework for actions that will bring about a higher standard of behavior.

This sets out what children are expected to learn in a particular subject, usually year by year. There's normally one for each subject.

The most significant use of the word in school is in the 'school development plan' (SDP). The term 'school improvement plan' is increasingly used, because it seems more focused and purposeful, but we'll stick with the school development plan, because it's very widely recognized.

The SDP sets out aims and actions in all significant areas of school life over a defined period of time. Properly written, it's a marker, a reference point for everything that happens. Any idea, brainwave, project, program or policy will only get the go-ahead if it falls within the framework of the SDP. In that sense it's both a summary of all the other statements of value and intent, and also the wellspring that inspires them.

Resource 2:


Resource 3: Behavior policy at ISE

At ISE, there's inconsistency in the way behavior issues are handled. Some teachers award class merit points every lesson to acknowledge and reward good behavior, and these lead to 'class treats'. Other teachers of the same class never award them. Some form teachers issue an immediate ten-minute break time detention for late arrivals at morning registration, while others always give a second or third chance.
This causes confusion among pupils and resentment among parents. 'The kids never know where they are.'" Arguably, the level of behavior in school is adversely affected.

Irritation builds up among senior staff, who find themselves dealing with complaints from parents and pupils. As a result, in the terms described by Caldwell and Spinks, there is now a "behavior issue" in school.

In response, there is now a call for a behavior policy. The call may come from senior staff or it may come from the Board members - who initiates it doesn't really matter, for they have to work in partnership.


Resource 4: Aims of a behavior policy

The aims of this behavior policy just about write themselves, as they arise from the original concerns, and are directed at achieving:

  • improvement of pupil behavior
  • consistency of approach
  • clarity for those who implement the policy - everyone knows what to do about misbehavior and how to reinforce good behavior
  • clarity for client groups - parents and pupils know what the school's response to good and bad behavior will be

Resource 5: Political tensions around ISE's behavior policy

Here are just three examples of issues which ISE staff may have when considering a behavior policy:

  • How robust should a reward system be, and how should it be used to encourage good behavior?
  • What types of punishment should be used? What about the "pyramid of punishment"?
  • How will the policy sit with curriculum aims in citizenship and moral education?

Resource 6: Values are the key

To create the policy, obviously the tensions you outlined in your Student book (4) will need to be resolved. The vehicle for resolving them will be found in the school's fundamental values. These values will, for example, determine whether a strong reward system is seen as the key element in the new behavior policy, or whether a behavior policy is to be based inherently on punishment.
The values will also determine the nature of the interaction between staff as the policy is discussed and firmed up. To what extent will the discussion be truly open and collaborative, calling on real expertise, research and experience? Is the discussion likely to be closed down by influential (and not necessarily senior) staff? Will consultation take place among some staff and not others? What is the rationale for the consultation? How far are non-teaching staff to be involved?

Policies are linked to what has been defined as "external commitment". In "Flawed Advice and the Management Trap" (2000), Chris Argyris says this about external commitment:

"External commitment is triggered by management policies and practices that enable employees to accomplish their task. Internal commitment derives from energies internal to human beings that are activated because getting a job done is intrinsically rewarding. When someone else defines objectives, goals and the steps to be taken to reach them, whatever commitment exists will be external." (p40)

These questions lead on to a consideration of the roles and responsibilities of staff as policies are developed.

Resource 7: Roles and responsibilities

The Board

  • The School Board have a general responsibility to see that the school is run effectively, acting within the framework set by the school so that it provides the best possible education for pupils. In practice, this means that a good Board takes a strategic view, determining all policies, plans and targets.
    In practice, and at best, they work in tandem with the head and the leadership team as a whole. Policies, and the SDP itself, are as often as not initiated by management, though often to strategic desires agreed by the Board members. It's not practical or desirable to expect the Board to manage plans and policies in detail - though it's essential they are kept in the picture, and they have a monitoring role to play.
  • The leadership team/Administration (Admin)
    We used to say simply, "the principal", but increasingly the responsibilities of leadership are shared and delegated among what is usually now known as the leadership team or Administration (Admin). In general, the leadership team has oversight, within limits set by the Board members, of all school policies, being directly involved with them to an extent determined by their current level of priority.


Resource 8: Working together

It's neither practical nor desirable to use the Board members as a rubber-stamping body to approve the leadership team's policies and decisions. So, once the need for a policy (or a rewrite of a policy) has been expressed, it's essential that Board members and the leadership team work in partnership from the start to get the job done. Typically, a new policy will be brought into being by a group with some combination of Board members and teachers, and in some cases, non-teaching staff. (In Module 3 we look in more detail at how this can be done.) The draft policy will then be approved by the Board.

The Board will then monitor the policy at work - usually through one of its committees.

Similarly, the school development plan (SDP) will be kept under continuous review by the Board and the appropriate committees. You can see, therefore, that the creation, operation and monitoring of the SDP and the various school policies calls for an effective Board/leadership team partnership. That is why the links between the Board and the Principal and leadership team are so closely examined in the process of accreditation for international schools.

Developing Policies to Compliment Your School's Values

Resource 9: "Just the things we always do"

In a sense it ought to be like that. A policy has its reality not on the printed page, but in the effects it has in school - more precisely, in whatever beneficial effects it has on teaching and learning. There are heads and teachers who forget this. School inspectors are very accustomed to seeing beautifully presented documents in color-coded ring binders each with the school badge and a title - 'ISE: Behavior Policy', 'ISE: Sex Education Policy'. They're also accustomed to going into ISE and finding that the reality of what happens in the classroom is related only tenuously, if at all, to what it says in the beautiful folders. Some of the teachers, in fact, may only be vaguely aware of what the printed policy says.

On the other side of the coin, the argument is that if a policy is not thrashed out in consultation and then written down, there's always going to be doubt about precisely what it means.


Resource 10: SDP issues

The decisions around the SDP are about priorities, responsibilities, monitoring and costs.

It's not possible to keep the whole SDP moving at the same pace all the time. The focus has to shift around, reflecting school needs, legislation and available resources. Where the spotlight falls - on improved enrolment, on the new sports hall, on the drive for accredited College status - to what extent, and for how long, is a matter for the Board, in partnership with the leadership team. There are, of course, different levels of priority. It's also true that the allocation of priorities has to be ready to respond to emergencies - the discovery of asbestos in the old classroom block, for example, or the sudden need to replace the minibus, will send shockwaves through large parts of the SDP. The clearer the SDP and the more widely it's understood by those with a stake in it, the more effectively can the school respond to challenging events.

Importantly, the SDP clearly says who's responsible for what. In fact it defines a line of responsibility moving from hands-on management level - typically a head of department/curriculum leader - through a faculty head/section coordinator or similar, then to the head and on to the Board. The SDP identifies this line and names the people involved (by role if not by name).

Each aspect of the SDP needs to be kept under review by the leadership group, and needs to be monitored by Board members. An effective SDP says how this is to be done.

It's the duty of Board members, again in partnership with the leadership team, to allocate budgetary priorities to elements of the SDP. That means each element of the SDP should be costed and the estimated amount written down on the plan. In many schools the finance or business manager, who isn't a teacher, plays an important part in this.

Resource 11: Chicken and egg

It's difficult to argue other than that the SDP is where it all starts. A five or seven-year SDP is a strategic plan for the school, which will also address shorter-term tactical issues for the next two years. In other schools, the SDP might limit itself to the tactical imperatives of the next two years, with the longer strategic vision left unwritten.

Common sense dictates that you start with strategy (whether written or unwritten) and then work down to tactics. The SDP has to come first so that the policy writers have a structure within which they must work. As a proviso, you might say that policies do change in response to changing needs, and these changes will then feed back to the SDP. The SDP is the starting point, though. Apart from anything else it's at the level of the SDP that the leadership team and the School Board can keep policies focused on the school's core values, and can also achieve a balance of priorities.

Resource 12: Example policy changes

Improving any one subject has an impact on staffing, resources, curriculum, and sometimes, the premises. The SDP's intention to improve PE will call for:
an updated teaching and learning policy - perhaps to allocate more time to PE and less to another curriculum area
changes to the staffing policy to accommodate improved PE teaching and support
changes to the buildings development policy to cover improved facilities for PE


Resource 13:


Resource 14: What policies?

Here's a list of policies. First, the ones you really should have:

  • Admissions
  • Charging
  • Curriculum
  • Health and safety
  • Lettings
  • Pay
  • Performance management
  • Pupil discipline
  • Sex education
  • Special educational needs
  • Staff appraisal

(Note: various other documents and procedures - a prospectus, staff grievance procedures, etc - are required. So don't use this as a definitive list of what you and your Board have to do. The list confines itself to what we would see as policies.)

Many others are not absolutely necessary, but you'd probably need a really good reason for not having them:

  • Anti-bullying
  • Child protection
  • Equal opportunities
  • Srydent attendance
  • School visits and journeys
  • Staff development
  • Staff recruitment

Resource 15:

A policy is :

Policies fit into a hierarchy, somewhere between broad mission statements and detailed procedures. They are engines, drivers of what goes on in school. By our definition, in our examples:

  • is a mission statement
  • is a policy
  • is a procedure


Resource 16: Policy key words

Remember that a policy is a set of guidelines providing a framework for action. The operative words are:

  • guidelines - i.e., not detailed procedures
  • framework - there are limits within which the guidelines operate - these limits will be set by external pressures such as the law, and by the school's values and priorities
  • action - the most important word: a policy outlines what's going to happen

Resource 17: The nature of the beast

So what does a policy look like?
At one level, it may be a big and immaculate folder, color-coded and carefully labeled, ready to be produced when needed for an official inspection.

As we're at pains to point out, though, it's not the form but the substance that matters, and the big folder may not exist at all. The policy, and all supporting documents, can be held electronically, updated regularly, and shared with teachers on their computers.

Whatever form it's in, though, we feel that it ought to contain at least the following elements:

  • an initial policy statement
  • some supporting statements that add further information and explanation
  • a section of evidence to show that the policy is sound, and is appropriate to your school


Resource 18: The initial statement

There's a range of possibilities - but here's a typical response:

"Our homework policy and procedures enable us to develop high educational standards, in line with our school aims. They reflect our commitment to partnership between teachers and parents/care-givers to ensure that pupils use all opportunities to study effectively at home."

If you showed this to a parent or official visitor it would give them the basis of what they needed to know. It's founded in values - here's a school that clearly believes in homework - and it relates to this particular school as opposed to any other school. (If you want to be convinced, compare it with a statement such as "Homework is set at the teacher's discretion, in response to individual need. There's no set pattern or timetable." That's also an effective initial statement, but you can see that it's founded in different values and indicates a different sort of action.)

Resource 19: Supporting statements for a homework policy

To expand on that initial policy statement you'd probably need something like the following:

  • a statement about the homework time allocation for different year groups - not in detail, but simply saying that there is a time allocation, perhaps to be found in
  • a further document
  • a statement about the purpose of homework (opportunity for extended practice, research for the next lesson, building coursework, forging home-school links, reinforcing study habits, etc.)
  • a brief proviso about the way that exam coursework affects the homework schedule
    an explanation of the way parents are informed about homework (e.g., homework planner/diary, school website)
  • a statement that parents can take up homework issues with school
  • there might additionally be a link to a longer piece of advice to parents, in a separate document, about supporting children in doing homework
  • similarly, a link to a longer piece to teachers about good practice in setting or giving homework - the good practice guide itself may be in the staff handbook, but there's no reason why it shouldn't be copied in the homework policy support materials
  • you may have other points - no doubt they are all value

Resource 20: Things to consider

Your policy document needs to show that your policy is founded on something more than tradition and a general feeling that it's all a good idea. Include any Government requirements or study results about homework, and you'll probably want to say that the advent of examination by coursework places a premium on good homework habits.

Similarly, if you have a behavior policy that incorporates, for example, one of the principles of positive discipline, then somewhere in the document you need if not a detailed explanation of what positive discipline is all about, at least a brief statement of the principles, and a link to where the detail can be found. If your curriculum policy incorporates current knowledge about learning styles, then somewhere you need the same outline and reference.


Resource 21: Nesting policies

There'll be an overall curriculum policy. The school policy is about how the school approaches it's curriculum in the light of its own values, resources and priorities.)
Then, within the curriculum policy there'll be a policy for each of the curriculum areas. And within at least some of the subject policies there will be others - for example, within English there may be policies for writing, speaking and listening, literature. Within science you may have policies for each of the science subjects.

Resource 22: Policy characteristics

A policy should:

  • derive from the priorities and values set out by the school's values and aims
  • incorporate those values in its initial statement and throughout
  • be a call to action and not just a statement of belief
  • have a coherent structure - our model calls for:
  • an initial statement
  • supporting statements
  • evidence
  • respond to the needs of your own school - the implication here is that if you take an "off the shelf" policy, then you need to bend it to your particular needs
  • display consistency of approach
  • display clarity of purpose
  • cross-reference to other policies
  • show how it will be monitored and evaluated

Developing Policies to Compliment Your School's Values

Resource 23:



Resource 24: Policy audit document guidance

Form and accessibility

  • E.g., on paper, copies held by all appropriate staff, held electronically and similarly available, held centrally by the leadership team and available on demand.
  • Also include some indication of the size of the document, e.g., two A4 sheets, large folder with supporting detail, etc.
  • Description of the policy's structure
  • E.g., what sections there are in the policy document.


  • E.g., the line of responsibility probably goes to the Board. Note who's responsible for the policy at school level, and the nature of the route to the Board.
  • Monitoring arrangements
  • A policy needs to be kept alive. Again the line of monitoring responsibility goes to the Board, but you need to know the route it takes.

Resource 25: Policy examples

Examples of policies that your school may lack include:

  • revising and updating a secondary school's policy for elementary/secondary transition
  • writing a policy for teaching and learning in science, with particular reference to differentiation
  • writing a policy for the school's open evenings
  • updating an elementary school's behavior or bullying policy in the light of parental concerns, and following the realization that the existing policy is outdated and not in line with current school values

You don't have to do any of these of course - we include them here just as examples of how broad a range of policies you'll find in the average school.


Resource 26: Checklist

  • Are there policies which are overdue for heavy revision?
  • If there are several gaps in the array of school policies, to which one could you best address yourself, given your particular skills and level of expertise?
  • Are there frustrations and misunderstandings that could be cleared up by an agreed policy?
  • Is there an emerging policy or revision in preparation that's being sidelined and pushed back for want of management time?
  • Are the Board members asking questions that together indicate the need for a policy?
  • Did a school inspection draw attention to issues that need to be addressed by a policy?

Resource 27: Introductory memo

Dear Colleague,
I'm planning to take on writing or updating the policy for…

Over the past days I've spoken to a number of colleagues and Board members about it and it looks as if there's a gap to be filled.

At the same time, the exercise will be contributing to my own professional development, but I particularly wanted to take on a task that would be of real benefit to the school.

I can't write a policy single-handed of course. Everyone has to know what's being planned, and everyone must feel included. I'll be working out how to involve everyone who wants to be part of this. Meanwhile, all ideas and suggestions will be gratefully received.


Resource 28: Recruiting memo

Dear (name)
You'll know already that I'm writing/revising/rewriting the policy for…
I regard you as someone who could be a key contributor to this. Don't worry, I don't intend to ask you to sit on a committee. What I'm suggesting is that I do some or all of these as time goes on:

send you drafts to comment on
come and talk to you from time to time
ask you specific questions (in interview or by email)
maybe ask you to the occasional meeting
Needless to say, you can harass me about this at any time.



Resource 29: Handling drafts

Make plenty of copies, circulate them to a list of people who know what they are, and post some in "public" areas, e.g., staffroom, heads of department rooms, school council meeting room. The last thing you want is someone complaining at a later stage that they haven't seen it.

Number the drafts. It ensures that everyone knows they've seen everything, and it removes confusion about which draft is more recent.

You, as coordinator, must keep copies of the drafts, in order, in a loose-leaf folder so that you ensure continuity from one to the next and see the development of your policy. (Use the loose-leaf folder even if you're working electronically a lot of the time - the paper pages are easier to leaf through and compare.)

Make sure you collect returned drafts with comments. More importantly, make sure you respond to comments.

A note on technology - schools are now finding that the best way to have draft policies in view is to keep them electronically, feeding them out to, and back from, contributors as required.
Here's an example:


Resource 30: Dealing with responses

The general points are these:
Emma raises something that's going to come up anyway.
Jill goes back over something that's already been decided.
Jim raises a valid point that will undoubtedly have to be discussed in future. He's really the only one of the three who's used the response system properly - but you're inevitably going to get that.
So you'll tackle the three in different ways (it's up to you whether you do it face to face, or in writing). We've provided words, but it's the message that counts.

"Thank you for this, Emma. As you see, it's already down for discussion - nothing's decided, and you'll have every opportunity to put your point of view and to hear others." (Note: the last bit's important - it's a warning shot that dogmatism isn't part of the deal when you're shaping a policy that has to suit as many people as possible.)

"Thanks, Jill. We actually put this one to bed last half term, when we went through all the options. I'll pop down and go through with you what was said then, but I can tell you now that nobody will have any appetite for opening it up again.'"

"Good point, Jim. We do need to tackle this, and it's obviously going to be a difficult one. It'll go down for the next round of consultation meetings."


Resource 31:


Resource 32: The sections explained

  • Initial policy statement:
    This should expand the title into a short paragraph. Remember that the key word is "action" - something is going to happen, people are going to do things.
    The initial statement is capable of clarifying, to an enquirer, what the school's stance is on this issue, and how it relates to basic school values.
  • Supporting statements:
    These go into more detail - what happens in various year groups for example, or how parents can get information.
  • Evidence:
    This section should answer the questions as to why the policy is both necessary and educationally sound.
  • Right for our school because:
    This section takes the policy from the abstract and relates it directly to the needs of your own school.
  • Links to other policies:
    Here you need to identify relationships with other policies and ensure there's no unnecessary overlap and, more importantly, no contradictions.
  • Supporting documents:
    This section identifies any explanatory supporting papers that are too long to include in the policy document itself. Write the title, and where they can be found.
  • Arrangements for evaluation and monitoring:
    This section requires a brief paragraph on how you'll know the policy is working as you intended.

Resource 33: What needs to be in place

For your policy to thrive:

  • it needs to be firmly linked to SDP priorities
  • a named person has to be responsible for it, e.g., head of department, site manager, whoever is appropriate
  • it has to be kept under review - that means it has to appear on appropriate agendas e.g., staff meeting, department meeting, Board committee
  • it has to meet a general need - resolving uncertainties about dealing with behavior for example, or setting down clear guidance for giving homework tasks



Author: Argyris, C
Title: Flawed Advice and the Management Trap (1999)
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN: 0195132866

Author: Caldwell, B and Spinks, J
Title: Beyond the Self-managing School (1998)
Publisher: RoutledgeFalmer
ISBN: 0750704489

Author: Caldwell, B and Spinks, J
Title: Leading the Self-managing School (1992)
Publisher: RoutledgeFalmer
ISBN: 1850006571

Author: Caldwell, B and Spinks, J
Title: The Self-managing School (1988)
Publisher: RoutledgeFalmer
ISBN: 1850003300

Author: Farrell, M and Richards, C
Title: Key Issues for Primary Schools (1999)
Publisher: RoutledgeFalmer
ISBN: 041518262X

Author: Tranter, S
Title: Diary of a Deputy (2001)
Publisher: RoutledgeFalmer
ISBN: 0415242207



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URL: https://www.ecis.org/