SCHOOL LEADER CRI­SIS

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS -

were not work­ing and the Back to Bal­ance re­port called for more trust, prac­ti­cal sup­port, such as per­sonal as­sis­tants for pri­mary school prin­ci­pals, and the wind­ing back of com­pli­ance and ex­pec­ta­tions.

“We can’t keep say­ing you have to work harder, you have to work longer, you have to do more. There’s noth­ing left in the tank to do more,” Mr Yar­ring­ton said.

“What our re­sults clearly show is that prin­ci­pals love their job but we need to look at chang­ing pro­ce­dures and poli­cies. “Go­ing around with a clip­board count­ing how many trees there are on the school, is that the role of the prin­ci­pal? Then you’ve got the other fac- tors of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, so­cial me­dia, the con­stant ex­po­sure – it’s a fish­bowl and ev­ery­one has an opin­ion.”

Queens­land As­so­ci­a­tion of State School Prin­ci­pals pres­i­dent Michael Faye said new mea­sures, such as giv­ing mid- size schools money for more part-time deputies, would help, but at­tract­ing peo­ple to the role was still tough.

“The big chal­lenge we have is the grow­ing prob­lem of deputies who are not keen to take the next step,” he said.

Queens­land Sec­ondary Prin­ci­pals’ As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Andrew Pier­point said the men­tal health of high school lead­ers was so crit­i­cal, it had just set up a psy­cho­log­i­cal ser­vice. In the first month, the ser­vice was used by eight school lead­ers, one of whom has since re­signed, Mr Pier­point said.

He said while men­tal health was a ma­jor is­sue, con­di­tions, workload and so­ci­etal ex­pec­ta­tions all con­trib­uted.

“We have a lack of peo­ple ap­ply­ing for prin­ci­pal­ships right across the board ... and go­ing for­ward, I can’t see that im­prov­ing greatly,” he said.

“I know plenty of prin­ci­pals who work 70 hours a week, and in prin­ci­pal-land, ev­ery week is the same. The in­creased ex­pec­ta­tions on prin­ci­pals ... make it very com­plex and chal­leng­ing.”

Queens­land Teach­ers’ Union pres­i­dent Kevin Bates said a pub­lic aware­ness cam­paign was needed to ad­dress ag­gres­sion against school lead­ers.

He said that for the first time in 25 years, the union was also re­view­ing prin­ci­pals’ re­mu­ner­a­tion and work value lead­ing up to new en­ter­prise bar­gain­ing in 2019.

DEEP END: Prin­ci­pals Karen Pearce of Marian Catholic School in Townsville, and Zoe Ste­wart of St Pa­trick’s in Mitchell; (left) APPA chief Den­nis Yar­ring­ton. Pic­tures: Jamie Han­son

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