Evidence for Learning: Putting evidence to work: a school’s guide to implementation

Putting evidence to work: a school’s guide to implementation

Recommendations and support for effective implementation.

First Edition


School Phase

Secondary, Primary

This Guidance Report aims to help school leaders understand how they can create the right conditions for implementation, as well as a structured process for planning, delivering, and sustaining change. 

Schools are learning organisations. They continuously strive to do better for the children and young people in their charge. In doing so, they try new things, seek to learn from those experiences, and work to adopt and embed the practices that work best.

And yet implementation is a domain of school practice that rarely receives sufficient attention. In our collective haste to do better for students, new ideas are often introduced with too little consideration for how the changes will be managed and what steps are needed to maximise the chances of success. Too often the who, why, where, when, and how are overlooked meaning implementation risks becoming an add on’ task expected to be tackled on top of the day-to-day work. As a result, projects initiated with the best of intentions can fade away as schools struggle to manage these competing priorities. 

One of the characteristics that distinguishes effective and less-effective schools, in addition to what they implement, is how they put those new approaches into practice. Often, individuals and schools that implement well tend to do so by instinct, or what might be called common sense. Unfortunately, good implementation occupies a rarefied space of uncommon common sense’, with too few explicit discussions of the characteristics and qualities that make it effective. 

The purpose of this guide is to begin to describe and demystify the professional practice of implementation – to document our knowledge of the steps that effective schools take to manage change well.

Implementation can be described as a series of stages relating to thinking about, preparing for, delivering, and sustaining change.

Stages Of Implementation2400px

This Guidance Report and supporting materials are licensed under a Creative Commons licence as outlined below. Permission may be granted for derivatives, please contact Evidence for Learning for more information.

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