IDEAS (Innovative Designs for Enhancing Achievements in Schools) is a whole school revitalisation project developed by the members of the Leadership Research International (LRI) located at the University of Southern Queensland. Based on extensive research in school improvement, this project has developed over more than 20 years in conjunction with teachers, school administrators and school systems. The project aims to enhance school success through enabling school communities to work together to clarify direction, develop a shared pedagogy and attain school alignment.

This unique professional partnership is captured in our vision:

To inspire IDEAS schools to engage in a journey of self-discovery which will ensure that they achieve sustainable excellence in teaching and learning.

IDEAS has been implemented in schools throughout Australia and three schools in Singapore and a school in Sicily.

Key features
The key features that distinguish IDEAS from most other school development approaches are:

  • the Research-Based Framework for Enhancing School Outcomes
  • the ideas process
  • parallel leadership
  • three-dimensional pedagogy

The ideas process is a highly disciplined approach to whole-school revitalisation.

initiating: resolving to become an IDEAS school, establishing a management team and appointing an IDEAS school-based facilitator

discovering: revealing your school’s most successful practices and key challenges

envisioning: picturing a preferred future for your school – an inspirational vision and an agreed approach to pedagogy

actioning: implementing plans to align school practices with your school’s revitalised vision

sustaining: keeping the revitalisation process going by building on successes.

  • Teachers and administrators in joint leadership roles, where each is equally valued in a ‘no blame’ environment. Through the ‘parallel’ leadership of teachers and principals, the school’s visionary direction and pedagogical approach are brought into alignment.
  • School-based facilitators and IDEAS school management teams, who work closely with the LRI training team.
  • The IDEAS team comprising LRI IDEAS Core Team and trained facilitators – the IDEAS Support Team.
  • Individual schools or clusters of schools.

IDEAS originated in Education Queensland’s school reform proposals of the mid-1990s. At that time research into successful school reform undertaken through the University of Wisconsin-Madison was used by the University of Southern Queensland’s Leadership Research Institute to create the Research-based Framework for Enhancing School Outcomes.

During trialling of the framework in 1997, and exploration in nationwide school contexts, the ideas process and the concept of parallel leadership were developed. Thus, IDEAS is a unique Queensland creation and stems from a fruitful university-schools partnership.

From 1998 to 2000, IDEAS was employed in 49 state schools. Experiences from these schools were used to refine the core ideas processes and concepts. In 2001 schools’ focus had been toward aligning IDEAS actions with QSE 2010, and articulating pedagogy appropriate and relevant for their school community.

IDEAS is now a comprehensive approach to school revitalisation that, more than ever, values the work and professionalism of teachers.

  • Customised support – e.g., clusters of schools working together; individual schools
  •  Facilitated by LRI personnel through workshops, school visits and tele/video conferences
  • Cost is negotiated