Teaming around the Principal
HEALTHY and happy principals create positive learning environments, which is why the Victorian Government has earmarked $5.2 million for a new program to ensure school leaders get the support they need.
The newly launched Principal Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2018 – 2021 comprises a suite of new programs and resources promoting improved mental and physical health in the State’s 3000 Government principals and assistant principals.
The 2017 Australian Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Survey found principals reportedly experienced stress symptoms and emotional demands 1.7 per cent higher than the general population, and depressive symptoms 1.3 per cent higher.
2.9 per cent of respondents reported thoughts of self-harm often or all the time.
“We have listened to your valuable feedback and designed an integrated framework of initiatives and practical resources that reflect contemporary research and respond to the specific needs of the profession,” Victorian Department of Education and Training secretary Gill Callister said.
“The Strategy places principals at the centre of these practical initiatives and aims to provide more direct support for them.”
Ms Callister said the strategy includes seven pilot initiatives.
The first included a new online School Policy Templates Portal to reduce administrative workload by streamlining the process of creating school-level policies on topics such as bullying, school uniforms, and anaphylaxis.
An early intervention program would allow principals to confidentially access health providers, and a new mentoring program paired principals with peers for advice and support.
The Government said more than 180 principals had already accessed the strategy’s free and confidential health checks.
Victorian Education minister James Merlino said school leaders worked “incredibly hard” to give Victorian kids a great education.
“This is all about developing effective evidence-based programs, support structures and resources that help them stay healthy and happy in the job,” Mr Merlino said.