Frequently asked questions

Who can apply?

The program is for school leaders who are currently in an educational leadership position, and are preparing for principalship.

Is the program open to part-time executives or only full-time?

The program is open to all aspiring school leaders. However, applicants must demonstrate their capacity to lead as set out in the application criteria.

Can teaching principals apply?

Yes. Their applications are assessed in the same manner as other applications.

Could State Office staff considering principalship as their next step apply?

Yes. Their applications are assessed in the same manner as other applications.

What form should the digital story should take? Is it a video of me talking or a series of slides, Powerpoint or photo story?

The digital story needs to speak to the core beliefs that motivate you to want to lead a public school, and include evidence of those beliefs. Your physical presence in the digital story would strengthen the conviction in which you articulate the moral purpose of your message. The way core beliefs are evidenced can be done in a range of ways. For more details about Digital Stories, please visit our Selection Process page.

How do I upload my digital story?

For a step by step guide on uploading your digital story visit How to submit your digital story. If you require additional help, please email the School Leadership Institute at slicorrespondence@det.nsw.edu.auau.

Does the application have to be endorsed by the current Director, Educational Leadership?

Yes. Directors may also choose to speak with their predecessor to clarify any information.

When will the next selection process take place?

The next selection process for the 2021-22 program for Cohort 6 will take place in late May and early June 2021. Applications are now closed. Applications for Cohort 7 will open in Term 3.

How are applications assessed?

Panels of two people, consisting of current and/or retired principals/directors, review applications and conduct phone or video leadership conversation interview based on written applications, digital story and referee comments. These panels conduct the leadership conversations and make recommendations to the School Leadership Institute, regarding who should be chosen for the program.

When will I be notified if I have been accepted into the program?

Successful candidates for each cohort are notified of the outcome one week after the conclusion of the selection process. For the 2021-22 program, applicants will be advised in early June.

Can I have details of the program?

The application provides you with a broad idea of what will be included in the program design together with the intended outcomes of the program.

How many days will I be required to be out of my school?

The Leadership Seminar component of the program will involve participants being absent from their school for approximately nine days over 12 months.

What form will the School Improvement Challenge take?

Participants will identify a key area they are seeking to improve in their school or educational setting. It is not expected that all projects will be conceived and completed during the lifetime of the program. However, participants will need to demonstrate that they have begun significant conceptual work and data analysis and provide a report that demonstrates impact or potential impact on student learning outcomes.

Will I be guaranteed a principal's position as a result of completing this course?

No. It is expected that a participant’s involvement in this program will build their capacity to confidently lead a school. The key outcomes of the program are identified in the application.

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