Rural and Remote Leadership Development Program

The Rural and Remote Leadership Development Program (RnRLDP) is a 12-month program for aspiring and current school leaders in rural and remote settings. The program enhances leadership development through the delivery of rural and remote-centric learning opportunities.

About the RnRLDP

The SLI recognises rural and remote schools have their own unique circumstances, which is why the Rural and Remote Leadership Development Program has been developed with experts in rural and remote education. It is tailored specifically to meet the needs of these school communities.

Through the core concepts of contextual leadership, pedagogical expertise, and cultural humility, participants engage in evidence-informed leadership frameworks and student-centred leadership inquiry.

The RnRLDP is a significant contributor to the Rural and Remote Education Strategy (2021-24).

Rural and Remote leaders

This program is for current and aspiring leaders from rural and remote schools. Participation involves:

  • 4 leadership seminars and periodic webinars with the SLI and academic partners
  • working with appointed highly skilled mentors
  • submitting an inquiry project for validation at the conclusion of the program.

Rural and Remote principals

The Rural and Remote principal plays a critical role in the program. They enable conditions for evidence-informed leadership learning and explore reflective practices to enhance leadership capabilities. Participation involves:

  • online engagement in periodic webinars and components of the leadership seminars
  • the provision of support to other program participants.


Mentors from senior leadership positions across NSW leverage their expertise to work with Rural and Remote leaders and develop relational trust to foster learning and inquiry. Participation involves:

  • leadership seminars and periodic webinars
  • supporting assigned Rural and Remote leaders through 1:1 support
  • residential mentoring, observation, and feedback in the school setting of program participants.

Metro leaders

Selected assistant principals, headteachers, and deputy principals from metropolitan schools will undertake professional learning that deepens their understanding of the role of community engagement and cultural humility in leadership. Participation involves:

  • 3 5-day residentials to teach and reside in a rural and remote community
  • periodic online engagement with an academic partner
  • submission of a leadership impact statement relating to the rural and remote residential experience.

Academic partners

Emeritus Professor John Halsey (Flinders University)

Professor Halsey’s expertise in contextual leadership will enhance participant understanding of content and commitment to action that informs leadership in rural and remote settings.

Dr Cam Brooks (University of Queensland)

Dr Brooks’s expertise in effective classroom teaching and learning practices will help build participants capacity to lead learning.

Key dates

Please note: dates for Phase 3 will be rescheduled to Term 2 2022. The SLI will advise participants of the new dates when confirmed.

Participant feedback

This learning was brilliant. It was high quality in all aspects and extremely considerate and adaptable to the unforeseen restrictions implemented by the occurrence of COVID and lockdowns. Without doubt the best leadership TPL that I have ever participated in.
This is honestly the best professional development I have had in my 30-plus year career. Totally relevant to my role as a leader, I am acting on knowledge and skills developed from this course and this will continue to over time.
I thank the SLI and RnRLDP for providing such a rich and valuable program to leaders in rural and remote schools across the state, in communities that are faced with many challenges and hardships, with schools providing valuable support in addition to the educational opportunities and experiences.
An excellent course that has long lasting and really varied applications. The course, the presenters and the organisers make rural and remote leaders feel valued and heard. The relationships made with others leaders was extremely valuable. It was a pleasure to work with like-minded leaders.

Further reading

Information for deputy principals, including a role description and leadership resources, is available on our Leadership Resources pages (staff only).

More information

For more information, email the School Leadership Institute at

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