About the School Leadership Institute

The School Leadership Institute (SLI) was established in 2018 to provide leadership development programs and support for current and future school leaders at key points in their career. We offer world-class, evidence-informed and future-focused leadership programs so that our school leaders can focus on the learning of both teachers and students in their schools.

Our vision is to shape a future that enables all educational leaders to influence and impact positively on the learning of teachers and students in our public schools.

Our mission is the provision of world-class, evidence-informed, future-focused leadership development programs and initiatives to make the difference we seek in public education.

Research has shown the direct connection between school leadership, teacher professional learning and improved student outcomes. Excellence in leadership is a crucial factor in determining whether students and schools succeed. It is second only to the in-school effects of high quality teaching.

A snapshot video of the School Leadership Institute

Joanne Jarvis, Director, School Leadership Institute

The New South Wales School Leadership Institute was established as part of the leadership strategy, the aim of the School Leadership Institute is to ensure that we provide evidence-informed, future-focused, innovative, world-class leadership programs to support school leaders at every stage of their career. So, the aspiring principals leadership program is a program that has been co-designed with the University of Wollongong it’s based on adult learning principles. It has eight leadership seminars, but between each seminar, the participants engage with intersessional activities. They work collaboratively within their teams. They are in contact with their principal facilitator to ensure they are supported in their learning.

Heather Ale, Principal, Curran Public School

So really excited to be a part of this opportunity. Mainly because I have access to world research and a lot of wonderful presenters such as Viviane Robinson who we’ve heard today.

Foty Loupos, Deputy Principal, Nowra High School

Being part of this parent Leadership Program is actually a wonderful opportunity to be able to sit down with established principles, experienced directors, academics all in the same room sitting together bouncing off to our colleagues. This has been one of the best professional development, I’ve been a part of.

Joanne Jarvis, Director, School Leadership Institute

The outcomes of the program are significant. Participants will learn to lead improvement, innovation and change in their schools. They’ll learn to understand the collaborative practices essential to bring teachers on board with them, as they focus on student learning outcomes. At the end of the 12-month program, their learning is validated. They will receive 50% credit towards a Master of Educational Leadership with the University of Wollongong and 64 hours accredited it lead with NESA. Wow!

What we do

The SLI develops programs and resources to build school leadership capacity across the NSW public school system.

These include

The SLI is also working on other development resources for school leaders.

We also offer a range of resources for school leaders, and research into leadership practices and drivers of leadership effectiveness..

The SLI Development Continuum underpins all our programs and is aimed at developing the leadership capabilities of school leaders at each stage of their career. It sets out opportunities for leadership learning through different career stages. At each stage the learning focus is on developing skills, capabilities and mindsets to enhance leadership impact. The continuum also identifies key transition points for teachers and school leaders into broader leadership roles.

Joanne Jarvis, Director, School Leadership Institute

Joanne Jarvis standing in front of a painting
Image: Joanne Jarvis, Director, School Leadership Institute

Joanne Jarvis has been an active contributor to the professional learning of teachers and school leaders throughout NSW over an extensive period of time. Her leadership of professional learning in effective leadership, curriculum and formative assessment has resulted in positive evaluations across NSW.

Joanne has a strong background in curriculum development and school leadership and has been a NSW secondary school principal for 14 years. Joanne is a member of the executive of the NSW Australian Council of Educational Leadership (ACEL). She is a NSW Fellow of ACEL and in 2017, she was honoured to be conferred as a national Fellow of ACEL.

SLI Advisory Board

The School Leadership Institute Advisory Board provides independent expert advice to guide the activities of the School Leadership Institute. The department has engaged Emeritus Professor of Education Bill Louden from the University of Western Australia to chair the Board. Ann McIntyre and Dr Simon Breakspear have joined the Board as international experts in leadership development, in addition to representatives from stakeholder groups, who will provide valuable insights regarding the needs of school leaders.

For detailed information on members visit School Leadership Institute Advisory Board.


The SLI Advisory Board discusses the mission of the SLI

Ann McIntyre

The School Leadership Institute in New South Wales was developed at a really important time.

It was a time when there was a recognition of the value of school leaders in making a difference in schools.

Making a difference in terms of teacher learning and also making a difference in terms of student learning.

And as we set about developing the programs within the School Leadership Institute, we were focused on three things.

The first was that things needed to be world class. And by world class we didn't mean scouring the world to try and find things that we wanted to superimpose on NSW schools, but rather contextually developing something that was going to be responsive to the quite unique needs of NSW public schools.

The second thing that we were mindful of was the importance of having an evidence-informed approach.

We quite intentionally use the term evidence-informed because we were wanting to focus on what we could learn that was focused on the future rather than having something that was evidence-based and focusing on something that had happened in the past and another time.

And the third point was that we needed to be future focused. We needed to make sure that we were actually developing school leaders who were going to carry the moral purpose of NSW schools to make a difference in the hearts and minds of every child in the future, knowing that there were substantial changes that were occurring in terms of the leadership roles within our schools.

Bill Louden

And what was so interesting at the beginning was we came together as a group of people during the initial planning.

Some of us knew each other and some of us didn't. And we had a white board in Bridge Street and we started writing down, what would world-class look like?

And I thought this was pretty interesting because I expected, not knowing these people, that we might have quite different ideas about what we ought to do and what really would count.

But what was very surprising to me is how quickly we settled on the same sort of characteristics. We wanted programs that took people on a journey over some length.

We wanted to select people carefully to make sure that we were working with people who are on the edge of further growth and development.

And we wanted to make sure that being in the program meant they had to do something substantial, so, hard to get into and hard to get out of.

And I think that's what we've achieved. And that's why it's having such a good effect.

Simon Breakspear

I think what was so exciting about the opportunity to have a NSW School Leadership Institute is to build something that was truly for the school leaders of NSW.

And this meant it could be built in deep partnership with the profession, with the professional associations, with the Teachers Federation coming together to say what do we want for our leaders and what do we need them to know, do and understand.

And from the very outset this has been designed in partnership with the profession and with a real focus on NSW school contexts.

Our 2200 or so schools that have unique needs and being able to start with those school needs and what those leaders are navigating within those contexts gave us, I think, a really rich insight into how to design programs that were fit for purpose in NSW.

And lastly, whilst we had learning from international research and international approaches, we needed to make sure our leaders were developing confidence and capabilities in implementing school improvement and developing teacher learning within the context of our policy architecture and our frameworks.

And so, right at the core we've been able to develop programs that allowed leaders to, yes, build their general capabilities, but be able to apply those within the NSW policy context.

Return to top of page Back to top