Five Levels of Work in Schools

The Five Levels of Work relate directly to a school’s main responsibility as a service provider to the students and community of interest it serves. Five levels of problem-solving and decision-making complexity are identified, and these are based on the most important problems that must be solved and decisions made in each. 

Five Levels of Work in Schools Overview

In the most effective schools, every member of the school community takes responsibility for the obligations attached to his or her role. What this means is that in every level of problem-solving complexity on the spine of authority and accountability in a school, people invest the best they are capable of in meeting their obligations for the roles that are their own. 

In ascending order of complexity the five levels of work in a school’s operating system make explicit the responsibilities of Students, Teachers, Heads of Departments, the Principal and the Governors. The main roles within in education in 1, 2 and 3 of work are expected to deliver outcomes that are largely known and within their ability to control. In 4 and 5 work often entails abstract modelling and the outcomes are less predictable and therefore not so easily measured. 

The main purpose of work in schools is on optimising student progress and achievement. The key point of focus and where the value is created is the relationship between each spectrum of work. The relationships between work streams is always ‘with’ – never ‘to’, and the Levels must align to optimise the health of a school’s operating system.

Further information about how the Five Levels of Work can be applied within the Indigo Schools Framework are found in the Primer on our Resources Page, or please email if you’d like to learn how the they can be successfully used within your school.

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