Scholarships for our best principals

The scholarship program

The scholarships for our best principals program was announced by the Minister of Education as part of the School Leadership Strategy announced on 11 September 2017. The announcement recognised that the scholarships would:

  • Better recognise the work of great principals
  • Be awarded to up to 20 highly capable principals
  • Enable participation in an international leadership program
  • Enable them to share their expertise and lessons learned to improve performance and collaboration across schools.

The Scholarship Program is in recognition of the NSW Department of Educations’ best principals and will further develop principal capabilities. The Scholarship Program is predicated on the research that instructional leadership is a major in-school lever in improving student progress and achievement. The purpose of the Scholarship Program will be to enable our best principals to further build their own instructional leadership capabilities and to subsequently share their learning to improve the practice of other principals.

Scholarship information page

  1. The School Leadership Strategy Scholarships
  2. The Scholarship program
  3. What does the Scholarship include?
  4. Who is Eligible?
  5. How to Apply
  6. Selection Criteria
  7. Key Dates
  8. Selection Process

1. Scholarships for our best principals

The Minister for Education’s announcement relating to the Leadership Strategy specified that up to 20 scholarships to participate in an international leadership program would be awarded to highly capable principals.

The purpose of the Scholarships are:

  • A high status strategy for recognising and rewarding the achievements of high-performing principals.
  • Aimed at enhancing and distributing the expertise of high-performing principals
  • A professional development opportunity

2. The Scholarship program involves:

Deep Learning - participants attend a high-impact, instructional-leadership, short course with school visits

Reflection, sharing and implementation planning over a 12 month period including webinars and presentations

Implementing learning in their context

Leading Practice –  Leading and Mentoring

The locations for the deep learning stage of inaugural 2019-2020 Scholarships

Research into internationally renowned institutions with integration into high-performing education systems resulted in the selection of a location for the deep learning component of the Scholarship. Recipients will travel toUniversity College, London (UCL). UCL are ranked highly in the world for education by the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings. It employs key members of the London Challenge, Professor David Woods and Rachel McFarlane as academic visitors. The London Challenge is an initiative which had very significant impacts on improvement of student learning progress and achievement in the London Boroughs. As a result of its success in international and national assessments, it was used as a basis for school improvement throughout England.

3. What does the Scholarship include?

Up to 20 principals will be selected to receive a Scholarship for 2019. Each recipient will receive a total of 20 days special leave to travel and attend UCL’s internationally renowned leadership program, and to fulfil their scholarship commitments.

Recipients may be required to meet throughout the year to participate in events. Travel and accommodation associated with those events will also be included in the scholarship.

Deep Learning. Recipients attend a high-impact, instructional-leadership, short course with school visits. In 2019, up to twenty Scholarship recipients will visit UCL’s Institute of Education for a ten day program of study. Recipients will have a meal allowance for some lunches and dinners. This allowance will be in accordance with Industrial Relations Circular IRC17/04 Meal, travel and Related Expenses. Claims can be made through SAP’s Employee self-service, Travel and expenses section.

Reflection, Sharing and Planning. Recipients develop a strategic project focused on instructional leadership designed to improve student progress and achievement at the recipient’s school and beyond. The evidence-based project with long-term measurable benefits should be informed by learnings from the London experience.

Implement learning in their context. Recipients implement their learning from the course to improve their identified area of practice. Recipients determine a plan, apply their learning and evaluate its impact using evidence. Recipients will form smaller collaborative support groups to collectively reflect on progress of goal implementation.

Leading and Mentoring. Recipients will be called upon to present at departmental conferences, workshops and masterclasses. The Scholarship year will include developing instructional leadership networks, skills and capabilities of others including mentoring through the School Leadership Institute.

The Scholarship recipients become members of an alumni that will grow every year, as each new group of recipients complete the scholarship. The Alumni will have an opportunity to contribute to the School Leadership Institute’s Aspiring Principal program in 2020

4. Who is eligible?

The Scholarships are open to substantive principals of all NSW public schools. Applicants must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident of Australia.

An applicant must be a current principal, who has a permanent, full-time workload with five years of substantive experience in the role and to the best of their knowledge, should intend to continue working at principal level or higher in NSW Department of Education for 2020-2021.

Applicants must first advise and have the support of their current Director, Educational Leadership before applying for a Scholarship. An applicant’s current Director, Educational Leadership must be listed as their referee on the application form and will be required to provide information to complete the application process.

The Scholarship applications open 9.00am (AEST) on 16 August 2019 and close 6 September at 5.00pm (AEST)

5. How to Apply

Scholarship applications can be made online via Survey Monkey. Applications are a three step process

Step 1

Principals seek their DELs support to apply

Step 2

Principals apply by completing the Principal Application Form.

Step 3

DELs complete the referee questions on the DEL Referee Form. Your current DEL must be your referee.

Applications are deemed to be complete only with a DEL’s support. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

All steps must be completed by 5pm on 6 September 2019.

6. Selection criteria

Applications will be assessed on the demonstration of professional excellence and achievement across the criteria focus areas.

Applicants are required to address the following three criteria:

  1. Leading school improvement - Describe an improvement initiative you have led as a principal which has had long-term impact on school improvement. Provide evidence of the substantial improvement.
  2. Developing leadership capacity in others - Reflect on your principalship and demonstrate how you have influenced others to improve their leadership capabilities. Describe the evidence of your impact on their leadership.
  3. Learning Intention – Why is participation in this scholarship important to your leadership development?  Outline a plan to implement outcomes of learning.

7. Key Dates

Applications open

9.00am (AEST) on 16 August 2019

Applications close

6 September 2019 at 5.00pm (AEST)

Scholarship recipients notified:

27 September 2019

Scholarship visit to London:

Mid. November 2019

8. Selection Process

Eligibility check

After the closing date, applications will be checked for eligibility.

Assessment of applications

Assessment panels comprising of members with education and leadership expertise will independently assess applications against each of the criteria.

Announcement of the Scholarship recipients

Recipients will be notified by 27 September 2019 immediately following the Selection Panel meeting.

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