Australia’s school leaders have revealed the key challenges and opportunities for the education sector in 2020.
The Educator’s fourth annual Education Report found that principals are struggling most in the areas of managing staff and student wellbeing, attracting and retaining high quality staff and introducing or upgrading school facilities.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, many school leaders flagged ‘bureaucracy and administrative red tape’ as a major challenge in their day-to-day roles.
Examples included “meeting the expectations of a board with unsupportive staff.”; “unrealistic expectations from line managers”; “red tape, accountability” and “moronic time-wasting documentation that prevents effective teaching together with unmotivated and disengaged students and parents who have little or no value of education”.
A significant 68% of school leaders consider managing staff and student wellbeing as ‘very challenging’ compared to 26% who said it is ‘somewhat challenging. More than 52% of school heads said attracting and retaining high quality staff is ‘very challenging’ compared to 36% who said it is ‘somewhat challenging’.
When it came to introducing or upgrading school facilities, 48% of principals said this is ‘very challenging’, compared to 35% who said it is ‘somewhat challenging.
To tackle these challenges, 76% of principals said they would be investing in staff training and development, while 74% said they would collaborate with other education providers to improve school operations and the quality of education. Sixty-two said they would improve or acquire new facilities or equipment.
What’s keeping principals awake at night?
Principals were also asked about the most pressing challenges in their school, revealing that majority of school leaders are struggling with improving student academic performance and equipping students with the skills they will need in the future.
Driving change with technology: the barriers
When it came to the greatest barriers to achieving education technology excellence in their schools, 45% of principals said resistance to change from existing teaching staff, 42% said insufficient budget to purchase cutting-edge technology and 36% cited a lack of time to research and implement new technology.
‘Ice addicted parents and students living in trauma’
The complex issue of students’ mental health and wellbeing was also identified as a significant challenge for educators, with one pointing to “ice addicted parents and students living in trauma”.
Others pointed to a growth in the number of students presenting to school with mental health issues and the amount of additional responsibilities associated with the mental health of students and staff.
For the full version of the 2020 Education Report, click here.