Government of Ontario, Canada
School Business Support Branch

About the Operational Review

One of the Ministry of Education’s key priorities is to increase public confidence in our publicly funded education system.

The Ontario Ministry of Education (“the Ministry”) has conducted Operational Reviews of the 72 district school boards across the province. The initiative supports Ministry goals, and heightens confidence and support for public education by increasing system effectiveness, efficiency, transparency and responsiveness.

By building management capacity in all school boards, encouraging good stewardship of public resources, leveraging and sharing best practices, and identifying opportunities for continual improvement, the public can be confident that Ontario’s school boards are aligned to support the Ministry of Education’s highest priority: student achievement.

The Operational Reviews examine the functional areas of governance and school board administration, human resource management and school staffing/allocation, financial management and school operations and facilities management against leading business practices and report on the findings and opportunities for improvement.

Considering the unique characteristics of each board, the Operational Reviews:

  • Strengthen management capacity in boards, with recommendations that support improvement in non-academic operations
  • Highlight existing successful business practices used by the boards, to the sector and to school board communities
  • Leverage “best practices” across the education sector
  • Provide support and assistance to ensure that boards are financially healthy, well-managed, and positioned to direct optimum levels of resources to support student success
  • Provide the Ministry with important input on board capacity and capabilities, for the ongoing development of policy and funding mechanisms.

Operational Review Approach

The Operational Reviews took an average of ten weeks to complete. The process was comprised of four weeks of Pre-Fieldwork, two weeks of Fieldwork and four weeks of Report Development including a debrief session with the board.

During the Pre-Fieldwork phase, boards were requested to commit to a Field Visit Plan. Boards were requested to provide documentation in advance of the Field Visit that enabled the Review Team to gain a preliminary understanding of the board’s operation. The Review Team conducted the Field Visit with the Boards and the information gathered provided the foundation for the Report.

The process recognized the importance of the Boards, Review Teams, and Ministry having an opportunity to discuss the findings and recommendations presented in the draft report. It is crucial when developing Final Reports that the content reflected the opinions of all parties. The review process allowed for this important time for dialogue.

Six to twelve months after the release of the Final Report, the Review Team conducted a follow-up review to determine to what extent the school board adopted and implemented the final report recommendations.