HIPL School self-assessment tool

An optional support tool for school leaders, school leadership teams or all staff to reflect on current professional learning practices against the elements of HIPL and determine next steps.

About the HIPL school self-assessment tool

The HIPL school self-assessment tool is an optional support for school leadership teams and teachers. It is designed to drive improved student learning outcomes by unpacking the elements of High Impact Professional Learning (HIPL) and describing what practice might look like in schools. A HIPL-enabled school environment aligns to the department’s Professional Learning Policy for Teachers and School Staff.

Schools may choose to use the self-assessment tool as part of an inquiry process to identify practices within a school's current approach to professional learning for teaching staff. It will help suggest pathways that will move them towards a high impact professional learning environment. It can be used in flexible ways to meet the development needs of your school – you might focus on just one element or all elements at once. Or you might approach each element individually over a period of time.

The tool functions in a way that is similar to the School Excellence Framework (SEF) through the use of the familiar three levels of the SEF: Delivering, Sustaining and Growing and Excelling. It is supplementary to, not part of, the School Excellence Framework.

This tool supports the identification of next steps for strengthened delivery of professional learning for teachers within a school context. Professional learning within a school context may, of course, be supplemented by professional learning activities, resources, courses and expertise provided by the department to support professional learning for all staff.

The use of the HIPL school self-assessment tool is optional. Schools are not required to use this tool or to report on it.

Elements and related strategies described in the tool have been identified through extensive global research into leading practice and are informed by fieldwork across NSW public schools. Each of the elements of HIPL play a role in professional learning and practice. When delivered holistically they describe the range of practices teachers, including those in leadership positions, can engage in to deepen their expertise in delivering quality teaching focused on improving student progress and achievement.

The self-assessment process may also inform professional learning approaches for some non-teaching roles, for example, School Learning Support Officers, where there is an appropriate connection to student learning.

How to use the HIPL school self-assessment tool


  1. Read the individual descriptors.
  2. Consider all existing practices related to professional learning within your school.
  3. Determine the statement that best describes current practice/s at your school.
  4. Decide where your school’s practices sit on balance under each element (Delivering, Sustaining and Growing, or Excelling).

Analysing your data and professional knowledge will allow you to identify patterns, potential gaps and priorities and help you frame your next actions.


  1. Use the suggestions below each element (Increasing the impact of your professional learning) to reflect on what your school could do to improve its approach to professional learning.
  2. Use the information on the HIPL website to read more about HIPL and schools who are effectively embedding HIPL elements into their practice.
  3. Consider evidence-informed approaches which align to the HIPL elements that could support ongoing improvement of professional learning in your school.
  4. Engage staff in collaborative conversations focused on quality research and the school data you have collected and analysed and collaboratively plan any new approaches to professional learning.
  5. Identify staff, including emerging leaders, to take responsibility for the implementation and evaluation of your approach to professional learning.

New understandings about the school, its community, and teacher and student learning needs will help inform your goal to achieve high impact professional learning practice and deepen the impact on student progress and achievement.

As part of the work so far, you will have defined the goals that you are seeking to achieve. It is important that you consider what structural changes will support a HIPL environment.

  1. Select appropriate strategies for professional learning that can assist in improving aspects of your school’s professional learning practices, aligned to your school’s Strategic Improvement Plan.

  2. Agree on who will be responsible for leading and implementing the change.

  3. Consider how you will evaluate the impact of your professional learning approach on teacher knowledge and skills, teaching practice and, over time, gain evidence of resultant student learning outcomes.

  4. Consider how you will share changes and progress with all teaching staff and how you will determine next steps.

  5. Implement the approach, monitor and gather evidence to inform evaluation.

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