FOUNDATIONS FOR IMPLEMENTATION: Treat implementation as a process, not an event; plan and execute it in stages

Successful implementation happens in stages and unfolds over an extended period of time. It is not a single event that takes place when the decision to adopt a new teaching practice is made, or on the day when training begins. Schools’ implementation processes begin before decisions are made and last for a long time after.

Implementation is therefore often described as a series of stages with activities relating to exploring, preparing for, delivering, and sustaining, change (see Figure 1. below).

An overall feature of the implementation guidance report is its emphasis on activities that occur in the Explore and Prepare phases; in other words, before the actual implementation of a new programme or practice takes place. Creating sufficient time to prepare for implementation in schools is both difficult and rare. Nonetheless, investing time and effort to carefully reflect on, plan, and prepare for, implementation will reap rewards later.

In the video above, Jonathan introduces the overall implementation cycle and the value in doing ‘fewer things better’.


info_outline Figure 1

While dedicated leadership of implementation is key, it is also important to recognise that implementation is a complex process that requires leadership at different levels of the school. A culture of shared leadership can be nurtured by explicitly creating opportunities for staff to take on implementation leadership responsibilities. One way to achieve this is to use dedicated implementation teams. 


Foundations for implementation - structured process

Checklist questions:

  • Do we implement changes across the school in a structured and staged manner?
  • Is adequate time and care taken when preparing for implementation?
  • Are there opportunities to make fewer, but more strategic, implementation decisions and pursue these with greater effort?
  • Are there less effective practices that can be stopped to free up time and resources?

All of the checklists in Putting Evidence to Work: A School’s Guide to Implementation are available to download here (ADD LINK TO MASTER CHECKLIST).