Taking Action: Five steps

This workbook draws on a participatory action research (PAR) model of facilitating transformative practice. PAR focuses on working collaboratively to involve all key stake-holders in the community (school leaders, teachers, support workers, parents, young people, administrators, associated professionals, members of the wider community) in the processes of change. The key principles of PAR are that positive change must be done ‘with’ rather than ‘to’ people and that shared negotiation of priorities, and collective ownership of actions and outcomes is more likely to result in impactful and sustainable change. The workbook below will help you to ensure that your intervention follows these principles, to find out more about PAR follow this link. You can download an editable Word version of this template here.

STEP 1 – Preparing the ground

Identifying a focus & building a community:

  • Reflect on the work you did in the ‘thinking and exploring’ section. Which areas of your practice do you most want to develop and why?
  • Summarise your thinking for your local community by creating a PowerPoint using our template (download a copy here)
  • Share your thinking with the OSD community by writing a 250 word think piece and share a photo with the wider community at #openschooldoors or upload to the forum

Establishing safe places for community participation:

  • Listen to Emma Johnson talk about creating safe spaces at Oasis Foundry School in Birmingham UK. What does creating a safe space mean in your context?
  • Consider using a digital space to complement face to face work? Listen to Dr Dave Harte’s guide to working with social media platforms. How might you use social media to complement (rather than replace) your face to face work? Which platform would work best for what you have in mind and why?
  • Consider who needs to participate in your project work? How will you support people to be a part of the project? What’s the best way to make contact? Where’s the best place to come together? To ensure your activities are accessible and inclusive you might need to think about:
    • childcare
    • food and refreshments
    • transport

STEP 2 – Building and Planning

Bringing the community together:

When you make contact with your community:

  • Share the work you have done on OSD part 1 and your learning and thinking to date
  • Invite questions and discussion
  • Agree shared priorities
  • What sorts of changes would you like to make at your school?

Identify the key priorities for your school – what are you key challenges?

‘Idea storm’ all the things you would like to change and identify short, medium and longer term priorities – what are the most and least important things to tackle?

Thinking about the risks associated with prioritising or not prioritising each issue may help you to identify what needs to be done first.

Review the ‘inspiring practices’ resources on the OSD portal for ideas – what ideas or interventions appeal to you and why?

Agree success criteria Imagining the future – repurpose some of the activities from Part 1 – make a collage? Or artefact? So that the time together doesn’t rely too heavily on language competence.

STEP 3 – Putting actions into a plan

Create a simple action plan (use the one below or a format that your school is more familiar with) to confirm what needs to be done, resources needed, deadlines agreed and who’s responsible for doing what. This will help you to keep track of tasks but also provide a mechanism for reporting back and capturing achievements.

Tasks & Resources Success Criteria/Expectations Deadlines Responsibility and Resources needed Comments and updates



STEP 4 – Putting the plan into action

How will you monitor your plan and check progress against the tasks and actions you identified in the previous step?

  • Who are you accountable to for making progress on your action plan?
  • When will you monitor your plan?
  • How often?
  • What are the risks if you don’t make progress?


STEP 5 – Sharing the story and celebrating success

Who needs to know about what you’ve been doing and how are you going to tell them?

  • What different mediums do you need to use to share your story with different audiences?
  • How could you make use of social media to support this work? What social media platforms are most commonly in use in your community? How could you use these to disseminate your work?