How high-performing schools sustain and build their health

By Fogarty EDvance | March 19, 2021

A core component of the Fogarty EDvance School Improvement Program is the concept that a school’s culture (or organisational health) drives the performance of student outcomes. Schools need a healthy culture to have long term, sustained improvements in student learning. When school leaders have a baseline measure of their school culture and know how to focus on building their organisational health, they can take steps to positively impact student performance over time.  

Since 2016, Fogarty EDvance has partnered with McKinsey & Company to measure and improve the organisational health of each school in the program. Schools use the Organisational Health Index (OHI) to measure how their schools’ health is tracking and identify areas for improvements. 

The OHI survey, which is conducted each year in the program, provides schools with a picture of their organisational health at a practice, outcome, and overall level. Schools will either commence with a higher overall OHI and aim to maintain this over the course of the program and beyond, or they start with a lower overall OHI, and aim to improve their health over the course of the program and maintain this beyond. 

To understand how schools either maintained top decile health or built their health to reach top decile, the Fogarty EDvance team ran OHI focus groups in November 2020, with Cohort 3, 4 and 5 schools, that either sustained or substantially improved their organisational health throughout their Fogarty EDvance journey and beyond.

The aim of the focus groups was to:

The focus groups identified common themes amongst schools that either maintained top decile health or built their health to top decile. These included role-modelling by leaders, ongoing and active communication and investing in professional development and coaching of staff.

In conjunction with McKinsey these themes will continue to be explored and integrated into the wider Fogarty EDvance School Improvement Program.

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