Grant scheme announced for stressed principals

Grant scheme announced for stressed principals
Burnt out principals in the Northern Territory have been thrown a lifeline by the state’s education department, which has unveiled a $600 well-being grant.

The grant, which principals can now apply for, can go towards gym memberships and well-being programs.

In a statement provided to The Educator, NT Education Minister, Eva Lawler, said the decision was made in an effort to ease the pressure on the heads of Territory schools, and retain staff.

“School leaders will be able to use the well-being grants on coaching or wellbeing-focused professional development that will support them to flourish and excel in their schools,” Lawler said.

“Maintaining positive well-being ensures that principals are better positioned to support teachers and school staff as they undertake the important work in our schools of educating Territory children.”

Northern Territory Principals' Association (NTPA), which worked with the NT Government to develop the grant scheme, welcomed the announcement.

“This is a significant commitment from the government which provides every principal and assistant principal an opportunity to address our own well-being in a way that meets our needs and fits our context,” NTPA president, Sabina Smith, told The Educator.

“Working in small, geographically isolated communities presents challenges that are different to those faced by colleagues in urban centres. If principals in hubs wish to combine the funding for a collaborative activity they can.”

The grant is just one of a number of initiatives that have been co-developed by the Department of Education in partnership with the NTPA as part of its NT Principal Well-being Framework that was launched in 2017.

As for the year ahead for NT principals, Smith said it was likely to be challenging, but hopefully an exciting one also.

“Our workload rarely lessens. Resource agreements with the federal Government are yet to be fully resolved, but our work goes on,” Smith said.

“In addition to initiatives from our strategic plan, as well as some critical cross agency priorities, we are also implementing recommendations from an independent review of the Global Schools Budget, conducted last year.”

Smith said the improvements that will come from these, across the system, would ideally have a positive impact in schools and will improve student learning in all schools.

“We also look forward to a satisfactory outcome of the negotiations for the NT Teachers and Educators Award, hopefully sooner rather than later,” she said.

Smith said that whilst attempting to fulfil government requirements and the expectations of stakeholders, it was critical that principals prioritise and maintain their own well-being. 

“If we are to manage daily and ongoing stressors - of which workload is one of many, we need to look after ourselves and each other.”

Related stories:
Wellbeing a major priority for Victorian principals
The year in review: ‘Significant inroads’ for NSW principals