Education Ministers commit to supporting principal and school leader wellbeing - Education Matters Magazine
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Education Ministers commit to supporting principal and school leader wellbeing

The Australian Secondary Principals’ Association (ASPA) has welcomed a statement from Australia’s Education Ministers expressing their continued support and commitment to principal and school leader wellbeing.

The statement follows a presentation from ASPA President Mr Andy Mison and Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA) President Ms Angela Falkenberg to the Education Ministers in Perth on 26 April.

The ministers’ commitment was highlighted in a Communiqué published after the Education Ministers’ meeting. It now includes the wellbeing of principals and school leaders as a critical aspect of the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan.

“ASPA is pleased that the importance of retaining and sustaining our principals and school leaders is now firmly on the national agenda,” Mr Mison.

Andy Mison. Image: ASPA

“Education Ministers have responded to requests from ASPA and APPA for education officials to work with the national peak bodies to provide advice on further actions that can support principals and school leaders.”

Mr Mison said this positive development comes after many years of alarming data from the annual Australian Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Survey, published by the Australian Catholic University’s Institute of Positive Psychology and Education, which has consistently highlighted the challenges faced by principals and school leaders.

“The commitment from Education Ministers to include the profession in discussions at the highest level of government about how to address these issues is a significant step forward,” he said.

The long running survey shows rates of occupational violence and other ongoing stressors are unacceptably high, with the issue of teacher retention a significant factor.

“Given that school leaders play the most critical enabling role in our schools, their health, wellbeing, and efficacy are essential prerequisites for happy, healthy, and successful schools. After more than a decade of monitoring, effective interventions are required,” Mr Mison said.

The issue of principal and school leader wellbeing is now firmly on the Education Ministers agenda as part of the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan, and will be discussed again at their next meeting.

“This is a direct result of the work of ASPA, which raised the worrying trend data when it met with Federal Education Minister Jason Clare on 21 March, and then secured a public commitment from Minister Clare to have this added to the Education Minister’s agenda at the ASPA National Education Summit at Parliament House on 26 March,” Mr Mison said.

“With this renewed collaborative focus from Education Ministers, we look forward to developing and implementing practical measures to assist and enable our principals and school leaders to thrive in the job they love on behalf of school communities across the country.”

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