Wellbeing a major priority for Victorian principals

Wellbeing a major priority for Victorian principals
In August 2017, the Victorian Education Department announced a state-wide strategy to improve support for principals, who are facing increasing levels of stress, burnout and violent incidents.

In a discussion paper, Victorian Education Minister, James Merlino, pledged $4m in funding to support early intervention strategies, specialist advice services, professional development, mental health awareness and coaching for the state’s 1,500 principals.

Meadowglen Primary School principal, Loretta Piazza, who was involved in formulating the strategy, said principals, Melissa Gaddie and Sue North, spent “countless days and hours” traversing the state to identify the most pressing issues of school leaders on a day-to-day basis.

As the new school year begins, principals, Victorian principals say the priority is on how schools work collectively to develop a system-wide Principal Mental Health and Well-being Action Plan.

“This will ensure the profession reinforces positive approaches to mental health and well-being,” Victorian Principals Association (VPA) president, Anne-Maree Kliman, told The Educator.

“It will also mean that, as a sector, we lead through the complex external stressors that affect schools on a daily basis and address the challenges and opportunities for our school leaders.”

Kliman said a healthy workforce is also an enabler for reaching the Education State Targets.

The Victorian Government’s $12.1m support package for principals will run over four years, delivering new and expanded leadership development programs.

The Local Leaders Program will empower 200 principals and assistant principals with the leadership skills needed to train and develop up to 1300 high potential teachers in their schools.

“Supporting our principals to undergo professional and leadership development will help ensure our kids can get the best possible education, and the best shot in life,” Victorian Education Minister, James Merlino, said.

“It’s an exciting time for Victoria as we embark on a series of landmark reforms, marking a significant step in making Victoria the Education State.”

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