School development planning is a strategic plan for improvement. Guidance on School Development Plans (SDPs) is available here.

Every School a Good School (ESaGS)

Every School a Good School – A Policy for School Improvement emphasises that school improvement is first and foremost the responsibility of the school. It is based on the premise that schools themselves are best placed to identify areas for improvement and to implement changes that can bring about better outcomes for pupils.  

Self-evaluation leading to sustained self-improvement is therefore at the core of the school improvement policy. Effective self-evaluation, and the actions that flow from it, should deliver improved educational outcomes and experiences for all pupils. Self-evaluation must be an integral part of the school development planning process with the resulting actions and targets captured in School Development Plans (SDPs).

The SDP is a strategic plan for improvement. It should bring together, in a clear and simple way, the school’s priorities, the main measures it will take to raise standards, the resources dedicated to these, and the key outcomes and targets it intends to achieve.

Article 13(3) of the 1998 Education Order places a duty on Boards of Governors, through the scheme of management, to prepare, and periodically revise, a SDP. In doing so, Boards of Governors are required to consult the principal and consider any guidance provided by the Department of Education, Education Authority (EA), and, in the case of Catholic maintained schools, CCMS, and also any inspection findings.

The Education (School Development Planning) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010 set out the detailed requirements relating to the preparation of SDPs and the matters they should include. The Regulations apply to all SDPs prepared after 24 January 2011.

Guidance on School Development Planning for 2024/25

The purpose of this guidance on School Development Planning for 2024/25 is to provide clarification to Boards of Governors and schools in relation to the requirements of school development planning for 2024/25.  The guidance will be kept under review.

School Development Planning Guidance

Guidance on Every School a Good School - School Development Planning has been prepared to support schools in working through the process of self-evaluation and development planning. 

A number of case-studies, illustrating how some schools have used the school development planning process to support their improvement, have also been developed.

Further Information

Circular 2010/22 - School Development Planning - Regulations & Guidance sets out the requirements for the Boards of Governors of grant-aided schools to prepare and from time to time revise a school development plan in accordance with the regulations.

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