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Are Principals at Breaking Point?

stressed tired lady“Principal health and well-being is definitely in decline, and it’s across all three school sectors, ” according to Philip Riley, Associate Professor of educational leadership at ACU. Riley’s warning comes as the 2015 Australian Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey opened for new participants.

Riley, who led last year’s Principal Health and Well-Being Survey, said reducing, “Unsustainable workloads was needed. Things are getting harder rather than easier.”

According to the feedback the associate professor has received, principals increasingly have to fulfil tasks that are unrelated to teaching and learning.

“What the principals are saying to me is that the administration load is just killing them. They simply don’t have the time to do the job that they signed up for,” Riley said, adding principals are often inundated with administrative compliance work.

“They’re counting taps, doing asbestos audits and looking at what chemicals are in the cleaners in the toilets. There’s no question those things need to be done, but they don’t need to be done by the principal. We need to get the thinking around that changed so that we get better policies, better distribution of workloads. Then teachers and principals can get on with the real work – the teaching and the learning.”

Leadership is essential in schools. The leadership team sets the tone for the school climate. If the leaders are not getting satisfaction from their work that has a significant impact on the school culture.

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