An expert panel has finalised their response to the National School Reform Agreement (NSRA). This joint agreement between the Commonwealth, states and territories sets out directions in national policy and reform over the next five years. The review to Inform a Better and Fair Education System was published today.
Professor Jane Wilkinson, Monash University Faculty of Education
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Read more of Professor Wilkinson’s commentary on Monash Lens
The following comments can be attributed to Professor Wilkinson:
“The panel report released today has suggested areas for focus and investment including: improving principal and teacher attraction and retention; strengthening high-quality professional development, support and connection for principals, teachers and other educators; better supporting teacher wellbeing in schools by investing, for example, in wellbeing coordinators; and celebrating the profession.
“Australia is confronting an occupational crisis arising in relation to the health and wellbeing of school leaders. There are persistent pressures and problems in relation to burnout, excessive workload, as well as conflict within school communities, amongst students, between parents and carers and educators.
“Principals are pivotal to what the panel recognises as a need to strengthen ‘links between schools and community and health services, particularly in the most disadvantaged communities, to ensure that schools and students receive the support they need’. It has suggested incentives to attract and support highly effective leaders and teachers to stay in disadvantaged schools.
“Our national survey into the emotional labour of principals found that principals are having to handle natural disasters, arson, suicides, allegations and disclosures of sexual abuse, violent students and parents, children who need more support than is possible, deaths of staff or parents, accidents on the school site leaving children injured for life, and more.
“While there are already wellbeing programs and support for principals, we need to develop better, productive ways that principals can be supported, particularly when principals confront critical incidents.
“To support attraction and retention, reducing workloads and celebrating the profession are just the beginning.”
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