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Beginning Principals Program

The Beginning Principals Program ensures two years of formal structured support for those new to the role of Principal. The program equips new leaders as they transition to their role as faith leader and instructional leader of their schools.

The principal coach ensures proactive support that extends to ongoing formation, professional discourse, networking, and capacity building. The two-year Beginning Principals Program seeks to provide principals with both common and core high yield leadership skills and strategies, while also building on the unique personal and community contextual differences among principals and schools.

A key component of support for beginning principals is networking with colleagues in the Beginning Principal Program. There are two dimensions to this program:

  1. Eight face-to-face days (one per term over two years) held in schools, including collaboration and shared reflection online within the group between sessions.
  2. Individual support on-site by the principal coach to assist the principal put into practice the components of the program within the individual school context.

The eight days provide a range of experiences and are sufficiently flexible to respond to needs as they arise, but also refer to a select range of evidence-based theories and tools which are recognised as integral to quality formation in principalship. The program is designed to be flexible enough to enable newly appointed principals to join as their appointment commences and leave after eight sessions over two years.

Retiring Principal Louise Outram addressing beginning principals as part of the two-year program.

By the end of the two-year program, principals should be intimately aware of the AITSL Principal Standard and Leadership Profiles. They should also have had extensive experience considering their own strengths and needs within the Standard, setting goals for improvement against the Standard and have been guided through a range of electronic resources that unpack the Standard.

In addition to the formal program, each beginning principal is provided with targeted coaching on-site at least twice per term, as well as regular communication between visits, enabling continuous and ongoing practical support relating to the role. Whilst the site visits and communication are responsive to the myriad of issues facing principals, they also drill into the work of the formative program, ensuring the capacity building of principals remains the long-term goal.

Shadowing Principals Program (Leaders Shadowing Leaders)

One strategy for beginning principals supported by the principal coach is the voluntary ‘shadowing’ program. Shadowing is a process whereby the newly appointed principal can watch and discuss the functions of the school principal role with an experienced colleague in a supporting and professional relationship. Based on the Leaders Shadowing Leaders program promoted by the Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA), this program for interested beginning principals enables a new partnership of support and a professional relationship for an experienced colleague in the diocese. This involves reciprocal visits between a beginning principal and experienced colleague.

Some determination of goal setting takes place following identified needs of the beginning principal, and strengths of the experienced colleague. The professional discourse, however, seeks mutual learning from both principals, utilising the wisdom and offerings of both.