Australia: NSW Education Department: Schools principals not ready for head gig

Australia / 10 de enero de 2018 / Por: Kylar Loussikian / Fuente:

THE overwhelming majority of school principals say they are underprepared for the job because of a lack of proper guidance and support.

Only one-third of principals were confident there was “probably” a clear path for them in preparing for the kind of school they headed.

That applied for just 11 per cent for principals at special needs schools, according to federal Education Department analysis released through freedom of information.

The survey of nearly 1000 principals, marked “commercial-in-confidence” and prepared for the department by Orima Research, also found a majority of principals felt they did not have adequate support to prepare for the job.

“Less than half of principals (44 per cent) considered (structured professional development opportunities) to be adequately addressed, while only about one quarter as many (12 per cent) considered (improving the attractiveness of the principal’s role) to be adequately­ addressed,” the ­research analysis reads.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the government late last year asked the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership to come up with a new process to find and train principals.

“We need the best possible principals to get the best outcomes­ for Australian students,” Senator Birmingham said yesterday.

“It is absolutely vital that our principals have the skills and support they need to succeed­, so that our children succeed. Feedback like this is why AITSL is currently developing­ a pre-certification process­ to help ensure those on leadership pathways are equipped with the necessary skills to become­ successful school leaders­.”

The survey was conducted with 985 principals at primary, secondary and special needs schools in late 2016, and later separately analysed by the department­ last year. It also found a broader problem with frustration over workloads and relative salaries in teaching.

Businessman David Gonski is now reviewing how to improve the quality of teaching, after the Turnbull government last year passed major reforms to the schools funding system.

The survey warns that there is “anecdotal evidence to suggest­ teachers are more frustrated­ now than ever ­before that their salaries do not match the workload or expectation of the profession”.

“A number of teachers and principals are leaving because the demands of the profession are becoming unrealistic,” it reads. And there is “little incentive­ to undertake extra work for little reward” in a program to train senior teachers, known as Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers, which is also “complicated and requires high workload”.

“The level of system support for this is really poor,” was listed as a common response.

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