Writing a policy

  1. Identify Need – Ensure your policy contains a rationale explaining why it exists, how it is to be used and who will be responsible for delivering and monitoring it.
  2. Gather Information – Do your research. Consider what it is that the school can decide and what is already decided for you in regulation. Do you need to include any statutory elements?
  3. Consult and Discuss – Decide who the key people/bodies are that need to be consulted. A good policy is based on open, transparent and wide discussion. Don’t forget also that policies are technically the responsibility of the Governing Body so it is a good idea to involve them early.
  4. Personalise – You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. There may be model policies and/or templates that you could draw upon - but make sure you adapt them to meet your school’s needs and circumstances!
  5. Consider Format and Language – Don’t make your policy too long or too verbose or too complicated. Use language which is clear to parents, teachers and Governors. Avoid unnecessary jargon, and when using acronyms, ensure that the meaning is clear. Keep wording positive. Avoid any ambiguity and remember that some policies can have legal consequences and are used to hold people to account.
  6. Be Realistic – Make your policy practical and realistic. You don’t want to set people up to fail. Policy must support and underpin practice. Be clear also about the consequences of non-compliance.
  7. Be Joined Up – Consider your suite of policies. Do they align and are there any contradictions. Have a corporate house style including font, logos, headings etc.
  8. Do a Draft then a Final Policy – Devise a draft policy and circulate to all key people. Ask for feedback and give a clear deadline for responses. Meet with all relevant stakeholders before finally and officially approving and adopting the policy.
  9. Implement – Ensure that all stakeholders have access to and are familiar with the policy and that it is published in a range of ways – e.g. website, other languages, hard copy, staff handbook, intranet, etc.
  10. Review Processes – Make sure all policies have a review date. Determine when the policy will be reviewed and by whom. Remember that the policy is a live document. Be prepared to change it following feedback from stakeholders or changes to guidance or legislation.

And finally… Live it, don’t laminate it!