Welcome to our September newsletter. The School Leadership Institute (SLI) team has begun implementing some exciting new initiatives for current and aspiring school leaders, with more programs planned for the future. As always our focus has been on designing and delivering world-class, evidence informed professional learning and development opportunities for NSW Department of Education staff.

Growing Great Leaders

Like so many programs in the COVID-19 world, our offering for newly appointed, first time principals has moved online. This year we have 91 new principals enrolled in Growing Great Leaders (GGL), the development course for principals new to the role.

The SLI team has worked closely with the University of Auckland to deliver this established course online, blending the use of Zoom meetings for lectures and facilitated professional learning groups, Google docs and a specific website for reading materials, course resources and chat forums.

Our first sessions started in Week 5, and we have further webinars and other online offerings being rolled out over this semester and Semester 1, 2021.

GGL focuses on developing the student-centred leadership skills of new principals and has eight modules, covering topics such as problem solving, building relationships, and quality teaching.

Take the next step in your leadership career

Thinking about taking the next step in your journey as a school leader?

Applications for the 2021-22 cohort for our Aspiring Principals Leadership Program (APLP) are now open.

The APLP develops the leadership capabilities of school and system leaders and helps improve student learning in our schools. It is for deputy principals, assistant principals and teaching principals who are already making a difference as a school leader and are looking to increase their influence and impact.

Applications should be submitted to your DEL by 19 October and provided to the SLI by 29 October.

You can find out more about the program and how to apply on the SLI website.

“The Aspiring Principals Leadership Program has certainly impacted on my leadership in a way that I will be forever grateful for.”

Kirk Grinham, Deputy Principal, Sydney Technology High School and APLP alumni.

Induction for assistant principals and head teachers

Term 3 has also seen the delivery of our first online induction program for long term relieving and newly appointed middle school leaders.

Over this term 385 assistant principals and head teachers have taken part in webinars covering topics such as the DoE Disability Strategy, leading for improved Aboriginal learning outcomes and expectations of leading teaching and learning.

We’ve set up a new Yammer group for program participants so they can continue talking and learning from each other as they progress in their leadership roles. The Middle Leaders Statewide Staffroom group is also open to all DoE assistant principals and head teachers, so feel free to join in the conversation or share the link with your staff.

Helping schools recover and thrive after the fires

As part of the Department’s Bushfire Recovery Strategy we’ve been delivering a range of professional learning opportunities for principals and DELs at schools impacted by the devastating fires of last summer.

These have included individual coaching sessions for approximately 100 principals through the Thriving for Tomorrow program.

Narooma High School Principal Fiona Jackson said she found the coaching sessions provided her with good tools to use as a school leader. “It has worked really well around me and my time, but it has worked well for the school because they all know I am using the coaching sessions and they know it is going to benefit them,’’ she said.

Another support strategy has been the two webinars delivered by our Director Joanne Jarvis and Principal Karen Maraga on the SLI Leadership Frameworks to support the leadership of principals as they lead their school communities through the next school planning cycle.

These webinars will be followed by the opportunity for principals to engage in small group professional conversations with trained principal facilitators.

If you are a principal whose school was impacted by the fires you can still sign up. The sessions will include four principals from similar school settings and a facilitator. They will:

  • Explore the SLI Leadership Frameworks and how they can help enhance leadership and school planning.
  • Strengthen connections between principals who have been through a similar experience.

There will be six one-hour sessions over Term 4 2020 and Term 1 2021, held via Zoom.

Research paper on system leadership

Our first research paper, on system leadership and why it matters for student outcomes, has been published on the SLI website.

System leadership is important in developing the capabilities of leaders in a strategic way to enhance leader, teacher and student learning. It means leaders and teachers having a shared commitment to foster collaborative networks at a local and system level.

Our paper can be used to help design future programs aimed at developing and embedding system leadership in our school system.

Coming up

We have many more development opportunities planned, which will be delivered over the next 12 months.

  • We will soon begin the first leadership development program for leaders in rural and remote schools, tailored to enhance the unique and specific leadership skills needed in these settings.
  • Our School Leadership Identification Framework is also being finalised, ready for a pilot program next year.
  • We are working on the design and delivery of a new leadership development opportunity for formal middle school leaders, also for pilot next year.

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