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School Leadership Strategy – at a glance

The School Leadership Strategy increases support for school leaders so they can focus on leading teaching and learning in their schools.

School leaders are critical to shaping the future of our children and young people for a world that is rapidly changing. The School Leadership Strategy is a long-term strategic priority for public education in NSW. It aims to significantly increase the department's support for school leaders so they can focus on leading teaching and learning in their schools.

The strategy responds to research into effective leadership that clearly shows school leaders who focus on instructional leadership have the biggest impact on student learning. It also incorporates findings from an independent study into principal workload and time use (PDF 2447.85KB).

The previous 2015 School Leadership Strategy (PDF 127KB) established clear leadership pathways and a leadership and management credential for new principals.

The new 2017 School Leadership Strategy (PDF 95.94KB) focuses on:

  • quality leadership preparation and development
  • stronger collegial support for school leaders
  • improved services and support to schools.

Find out more on the leadership pathways section (staff only).

  • 25 October 2017 – Schools receive their funding allocation for 2018, including flexible funding to enable principals to focus on instructional leadership.
  • 11 September 2017 – 2017 School Leadership Strategy (PDF 95.94KB) released.

The strategy builds on our previous 2015 School Leadership Strategy (PDF 127KB), where we introduced elements such as the school leadership and management credential.

Research findings – instructional leadership

Research shows that school leaders who focus on instructional leadership have the biggest impact on student learning. The Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation (CESE) Learning Curve article on effective leadership found the following:

  • The most effective school leaders have a strong instructional focus – they are constantly seeking to improve teacher quality and student learning.
  • The leadership practice with the greatest impact on student outcomes is promoting and participating in teacher learning and development. This can reduce variation in teacher effectiveness within a school, reduce staff turnover and support succession planning.

Research findings – principal workload

In 2017, the department commissioned Deloitte to undertake an independent study to investigate principal workload and time use. The study found the following:

  • Principals spend a significant amount of time on activities related to management and administration, which reduces the time they have to be an instructional leader.
  • Although principals support having more authority to make decisions for their school, it increases their workload.
  • The main barriers to managing principal workload include:
    • limited training and preparation for leadership roles
    • insufficient administrative support
    • lack of access to quality support services, tools and systems.
  • There is no one-size-fits-all model of great leadership. Leadership practices are contextualised to the school.
  • Principals could better manage their workloads if department support tools and communications were better coordinated, streamlined and aligned.

For more information

Immediate actions under the strategy will be implemented progressively over 18 months. Subsequent phases may include further initiatives and resources as a result of reviews into educational services, assets management and staffing entitlements.

In its full implementation, the strategy will lead to significantly enhanced support for school principals and leadership teams in their focus on instructional leadership to drive better educational outcomes for all students.

Learn more in the implementation timeline of the 2017 School Leadership Strategy (PDF 95.94KB).

Contact details

Sandra Robinson
Director Leadership and Teacher Quality
02 9244 5548

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