School Leadership Development Strategy

School leaders play a vital role in providing every student in NSW public schools with a great education and the best start in life. They have a significant impact on classroom results, guide teacher development, and lead engagement with their school community.

About the strategy

The School Leadership Development Strategy was released in December 2021. It outlines how the department, through the School Leadership Institute, will ensure school leaders can continue to lead their school communities with confidence and strong moral purpose.

This will help lift student achievement in every school.

The strategy invests in great leadership from early career teachers to experienced principals through:

Why do we need a new strategy?

The evidence shows that investing in leadership at all phases of a school leader’s career makes a significant difference to the quality of teaching, helping lift student results.

That’s why the School Success Model is focused on support for our leaders at all levels to ensure we are delivering on our commitment to lift school and student improvement.

This new strategy supports the goal of the School Success Model by helping ensure that ‘every student, every teacher, every leader and every school improves every year’.

The School Leadership Development Strategy builds on the success of the previous School Leadership Strategy, released in 2017. Since then:

  • The SLI has been established and now offers a range of leadership development programs.
  • The number of Director, Educational Leadership (DEL) positions has doubled.
  • Principals School Leadership (PSLs) and Principals Coach/Mentors (PCMs) are supporting newly appointed principals for their first 2 years.
  • Comprehensive induction programs for principals, deputy principals and middle leaders are in place.

Elements of the new strategy

A range of new offerings will be delivered by the SLI to build on the success of the former strategy and increase the level of support available to current and future leaders in our schools.

Identifying leaders

Investing in the early identification and development of teachers who demonstrate potential for formal leadership is an essential element of the School Leadership Development Strategy.

Supporting middle leaders

Middle leaders – assistant principals and head teachers – are the school leaders with a direct impact on classroom results.


Current school principals, from early career to experienced, will have access to world-class professional development tools.

Research and resources

Under the strategy, the SLI will continue to work with key educational researchers to commission formal research to support the ongoing development, and evaluation of our programs and frameworks.

Building on our success

The new strategy builds on the success of the SLI since it was established and commits the department to continuing our range of leadership development programs and resources already in place.

Next steps

  • The first cohort of the Middle Leadership Development Program will begin in Term 3 2022.
  • The first 50 participants in FASTstream will start in Term 1 2022.
  • The Principal Leadership Framework will be available for all current and aspiring school leaders in 2022.
  • The School Leadership Identification Framework will be available to all schools in 2022.
  • Further leadership development programs and resources are being developed and will be made available in 2022 and beyond.
  • This strategy will be evaluated in 4 years.

Further reading

Additional information on the School Leadership Development Strategy is available on our Leadership Resources pages (available to staff only).

More information

For more information, contact the School Leadership Institute at

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