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Rethink urged on school principal's role

Patrick Duignan, Foundation Chair in Educational Leadership at the Australian Catholic University, said the shortfall of school principals is becoming critical, and a redesign of the role is necessary.

He told the Catholic Weekly that reformulating the job specifications with a woman with children in mind could ease to shortfall of Catholic school principals across Australia.

It could provide "a model that could be adapted for a whole range of people", a Catholic education researcher said on the occasion of the biennial conference of the Association of Catholic School Principals.

He said that fewer and fewer people are applying for the role of principal because of its highly stressful nature.

"A high percentage are saying: 'I never applied for the principalship and I never will'," he said. "The principals themselves are experiencing huge pressures. And the people down below are seeing this and saying" 'not for me'."

Mr Duignan said declining numbers of principals was a problem around the world.

The situation was made difficult for Catholic principals by the pressure to play a spiritual role.

"Catholic principals don't really want to be priest and principal all in one," he said; it it makes the job so big, so complex and so demanding.

Australian Catholic University - School of Educational Leadership

Catholic Weekly

29 May 2002