All school principals are now eligible for a nationally recognised professional certification, which will be awarded based on evidence of their enactment of the Australian Principal Standard.
The program was launched by the Principals Australia Institute (PAI), an organisation which provides support for principals’ professional development.
Louisa Rennie, director of the PAI’s Australian Principal Certification (APC) Program, explained to The Educator what the certification itself will mean for principals and their profession.
“Recognition from expert peers is a powerful form of reward for professionals,” Rennie said.
“It will provide a significant reference point for principals in their professional learning and ongoing leadership formation and contribute to the building and sustaining of expertise in the profession.”
Rennie said the ability to develop a publicly credible certification system is “a defining credential” of a profession.
“Principal Certification recognises the central importance of educational leadership for the quality of student learning and the quality of schools, and that the leadership provided by principals directly impacts on the work of teachers and the conditions for learning in schools,” said Rennie.
Principals engaged in the trial are currently gathering evidence of their enactment of the Australian Principal Standard, which sets out what principals should know, understand and do to achieve in their work.
“Principals will gather this evidence through a particular initiative they are leading in their school. Portfolio Initiatives provide the structure that enables principals to collect evidence to demonstrate the Australian Principal Standard in action,” Rennie explained.
“They are based on the authentic and seamless work of principals to meet the needs of their schools.
“For example, a principal may choose to focus on how they have led an initiative that has addressed a specific need they have identified in respect of student achievement and/or wellbeing in their school.
“Or, a principal may choose to focus on evidence that demonstrates how they have led and managed an initiative that has strengthened their school as a professional learning community.”
Rennie said portfolio Initiatives define a manageable, authentic scope of work to be undertaken by the principal, allowing them to make best use of their time and effort to achieve the certification.
“Portfolio Initiatives provide a structure which permits the assessment of principals’ evidence of the Australian Principal Standard to be conducted in a valid, reliable and manageable manner,” Rennie said.