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3. The Role of Principals in Enabling Equity and Well-being in our Schools

Wellbeing and engagement among Australia’s secondary school age learners has declined recently. This is especially true for the most disadvantaged students who attend predominantly public schools. Meanwhile, the long running Principals’ Health & Wellbeing survey shows rates of occupational violence and other ongoing stressors are unacceptably high, with the issue of teacher retention a significant factor.  Given that school leaders play the most critical enabling role in our schools , their health, wellbeing, and efficacy are essential prerequisites for happy, healthy, and successful schools. After more than a decade of monitoring, effective interventions are required.

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ASPA's Best Next Steps

1. Provide ongoing funding for the annual Principals' Health and Wellbeing Survey

2. Fund research into the impacts on student outcomes of declining school leader retention and the return on investment for preventative evidence-based strategies to retain and sustain school leaders.

3. Introduce nationally uniform legislation based on the Victorian Governments’ Education and Training Reform Amendment (Protection of School Communities) Act 2021 that protects members of school communities from harmful, threatening or abusive behaviour.

4. Develop and invest in school based administrative, support and allied health staff; and improve the business systems that support school operations.

5. Require bureaucratic business units, such as those responsible for Finance, HR, and Infrastructure, to seek stakeholder feedback from their client school leaders about  the efficacy of their service delivery

5. Maintain and expand current efforts to address teacher shortages, retention and mobility, including:

  • Review our progress toward the goal of ‘one profession’ in our efforts to harmonise and improve teacher registration across Australia

  • Expedite priority three of the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan

6. Include a 6th priority in the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan - 'Retain & Sustain our Principals', and incorporate Principals' occupational health, safety and wellbeing into the next National School Reform Agreement.

7. Develop frameworks for principal remuneration benchmarked against equivalent roles in industry and the public sector that recognises the significant value, complexity and responsibility of the role.

Guest Articles

Related links and resources

Annual Principals' Occupational Health, Safety & Welbeing Survey

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