Senior Leadership - Aspiring Principals Leadership Program evaluation report


The NSW Department of Education’s School Leadership Institute (SLI) is committed to investing in ‘leadership for learning’ capabilities at all levels of the system. In 2018, it commissioned the Aspiring Principals Leadership Program (now the Senior Leadership - Aspiring Principals Leadership Program), the first of a series of leadership programs to be sponsored by the SLI.

The program is co-designed by University of Wollongong (UOW) academic staff and members of the SLI team to meet the needs of NSW public school senior leaders and aspiring principals. It is based on strong international evidence and experience about effective school leadership and contextualised for the specific NSW context and education policy frameworks.

Access to the program is highly selective, requiring prospective participants to provide written and digital evidence of their readiness to engage in the program.

This report, from the Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at UOW, evaluates 201 participants from the first 4 cohorts of the program between 2018 and 2021.

The report found 53.8 per cent of participants from the first cohort of the program secured a substantive principal role within 18-months of graduating.

It showed there was a significant upward trend in the proportion of participants who secured a permanent principal role on completing the program and more than a quarter of participants had moved into a substantive principal role within 6 months of graduating.

The report also found:

  • 81 per cent of program participants reported feeling ‘significantly capable’ or ‘very capable’ to lead school improvement, innovation and change after completing the program;
  • Almost 85 per cent of program participants reported having a ‘very strong capacity’ or ‘strong capacity’ to confidently lead the strategic organisation of their school; and
  • 82.8 per cent of program participants reported having a ‘significant’ or ‘very good’ understanding of the leadership practices that have the greatest impact on student outcomes.

Download the evaluation report

Further reading

Visit the SLI's Leadership Resources pages (available to staff only) to find out more about the leadership development programs we offer for current and aspiring leaders in NSW public schools.

More information

For more information, contact the School Leadership Institute at


  • Teaching and learning


  • All staff
  • General public
  • School Leadership Institute
  • Teaching and learning
  • Web page

Business Unit:

  • School Leadership Institute
Return to top of page Back to top