Most principals not ready for job, says Department

Most principals not ready for job, says Department
The majority of school leaders feel that they lack adequate support to prepare them for the job, according to a Federal Department of Education analysis released under Freedom of Information (FOI) laws obtained by The Daily Telegraph.

The survey of 985 principals at primary, secondary and special needs schools, undertaken in late 2016, found that just one-third were confident there was “probably” a clear path for them in preparing for the kind of school they headed.

This applied for just 11% of principals at special needs schools.

According to the results, 44% of principals considered ‘structured professional development opportunities’ to be adequately addressed, while only 12% considered ‘improving the attractiveness of the principal’s role’ to be adequately­ addressed.

Last year, the Federal Government asked the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) to develop a new process to find and train principals in order to get the best outcomes for Australian students.

“It is absolutely vital that our principals have the skills and support they need to succeed­, so that our children succeed,” Birmingham said.

“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.”

In November, a report from the Grattan Institute highlighted the importance of a system-wide approach to professional development.

The first step in this approach, said the report, is for the government to provide teachers and schools with better methods of tracking the progress of their students over time in ways that directly inform their teaching.

The ‘Towards an adaptive education system in Australia’ report warned that Australia won't achieve excellence in school education unless policy makers give teachers the practical support they need to rigorously adapt and improve their practices.

Dr Peter Goss, school education program director at the Grattan Institute, said the ‘Review to Achieve Excellence in Australian Schools’, led by David Gonski, was “a reform opportunity that must be seized”.

“School education in this country faces three major challenges: to improve student learning in core academic areas; to better prepare young people for adult life; and to do so in a way that is fair for all,” Goss said.

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