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 in Education. We offer world-class, evidence-informed and future-focused leadership programs so that DoE school leaders can focus on the learning of both teachers and students in their schools.

DoE staff can access our SLI intranet pages to find out more about our programs, how to apply, links to our resources and registration for events.

A video snapshot of the School Leadership Institute.

I'd highly recommend this to people that want to get in touch with the kind of leaders they are, who they want to be, and to do it in the very safest and best hands.

 I applied for the FASTstream program because I have an unwavering belief in the power of public education.

The FASTstream program amplifies impact. Impact on students, staff and communities. I believe the program and all the benefits and all the supports that it entails will inspire me to develop, learn and become the teacher and leader that I hope to be.

I applied for the program essentially because I want to become a better leader. I've spoken to a couple of colleagues that have been through the program. They spoke so highly of it and they've actually both become permanent principals now as a result. 

 I would really encourage my colleagues to become, you know, heavily involved with the School Leadership Institute. It can be done in so many effective ways, as has been my experience. Whether it be through conferences, professional learning, network meetings, or simply the individuals in which you help encourage, take up some of the leadership opportunities that, from beginning teacher through to experienced principal, help to further their skills and help them to become more effective in what they do.

The School Leadership Institute team is really passionate about supporting all current and future school leaders because we know that having skilled leaders in our schools is crucial in helping students to achieve their best.



Vision and mission

Our vision is to enhance the capabilities of all educational leaders in NSW public schools, so they have the greatest impact on teacher and student learning.

Our mission is provide world-class, evidence-informed, future-focused leadership development programs and resources to support school leaders at every stage of their career.

Our leadership programs and resources

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.

The SLI develops programs and resources to build school leadership capacity across the NSW public school system. Current and future leaders can access a range of opportunities to support their leadership growth at every stage of their careers.

The SLI Development Continuum underpins all our programs. It articulates opportunities for leadership learning through interrelated career stages. At each stage the learning focus is on developing skills, capabilities and mindsets to enhance leadership impact.

This enables leaders to expand their sphere of leadership influence on the learning of teachers and students within and across NSW public schools. The continuum also identifies key transition points for teachers and school leaders into broader leadership roles.

All our programs are evolving, responsive to the needs of the profession, aligned to the SLI Development Continuum and delivered through a mix of in-person and online learning.

The SLI Overview of Programs 2023 sets out the focus areas and learning outcomes for each of our offerings.

Image: The SLI Development Continuum

Teacher leaders

Teacher leaders are classroom teachers whose sphere of influence has expanded to impact positively on the learning of students beyond their classroom, and on colleagues within their school.

Our support for teacher leaders includes:

  • the School Leadership Identification Framework (SLIF), a framework and suite of resources to identify and develop teacher leaders who are ready to move into a formal leadership position
  • the FASTstream program for those in the final year of their studies and current teachers who have demonstrated leadership potential. Current teachers may be beginning teachers, experienced teachers or those in middle leadership positions. FASTstream provides mentoring and intensive support to accelerate their path to principalship within 10 years.

Find out more about our support for teacher leaders (staff only.)

Middle leaders

The department is committed to supporting the identification, development and leadership growth of assistant principals and head teachers (middle leaders). The opportunities and resources available for middle leaders from the SLI include:

  • the Middle Leader Induction Program
  • the Middle Leadership Development Program – an intensive, 18-month leadership development program delivered in partnership with the University of Wollongong and the University of Newcastle
  • the Middle Leader Role Description
  • a comprehensive suite of learning resources focused on the 4 key drivers of middle leadership effectiveness

Find out more about our support for middle leaders (staff only)

Senior leaders

Senior leaders promote a school’s strategic vision, aligned to the department’s priorities, and develop a positive school culture in partnership with the principal, staff and the school community. The SLI has leadership induction and development opportunities for senior leaders – deputy principals and experienced assistant principals. These include:

  • the Deputy Principal Role Description and Companion Resource
  • the Deputy Principal Induction Conference
  • the Senior Leadership – Aspiring Principals Leadership Program for leaders who are already having an impact in schools and seek to expand their influence or prepare for principalship.
  • the NSW Public School Leadership and Management Credential, which all applicants for a principal role in the NSW DoE must complete.

Find out more about our support for senior leaders (staff only)


Principals play a vital role in leading their schools. They guide staff development, enable student improvement, and lead engagement with the community.

We offer a range of world-class professional development opportunities, and support for all NSW public school principals, at every stage of their career, to help them successfully enact their role. These include:

  • the Principal Role Description and Companion Resource
  • the Principal Induction Conference
  • the Growing Great Leaders program for newly appointed principals
  • the Principal Leadership Learning Program featuring national experts on education, communication and leadership
  • the Principal Leadership Learning Resource, which brings together current national and international research and evidence informed practices, to support school leaders to enhance their leadership capabilities
  • Scholarships for School Leaders

Experienced principals are also invited to participate in a number of our programs as principal facilitators.

Find out more about our support for principals (staff only).

Evaluating our programs

The SLI's evaluation methods measure the outcomes of leadership programs and the impact on the NSW public school system. We are committed to thorough, evidence-informed reviews of our programs to help continually improve them.

Find out more about the SLI Evaluation Strategy (staff only)

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.


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