SPC/PPA Joint Media Release: Workload intensification and Principal wellbeing

The SPC and PPA are concerned about the increasing workload intensification being experienced by Principals in public schools following the release of the latest Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey. The President of the SPC, Chris Presland, said these findings come as no surprise:

“We have been surveying our members for a number of years about Principal wellbeing and the increasing workload is consistently identified as one of the most significant issues impacting negatively on Principals. This is supported by the survey findings where more than a quarter of Principals across government and non-government schools indicate they are working over 61 hours per week. The fact that we have this longitudinal data which is showing the same trends again and again sends a strong message to policymakers that this problem isn’t going away.”

The PPA’s President, Phil Seymour, echoed these concerns and suggested that the cumulative stress reported by Principals in the survey is also linked to the changing role of being a school leader:

“I think we can look at workload intensification in two ways. Firstly, there has certainly been an increase in the sheer volume of work within the role of being a Principal. We are working longer hours and working harder within each hour spent at work. However, the second component of workload intensification is a little more nuanced and that’s about the process of change being experienced in schools as a result of broader technological, social and organisational change. These challenges include elements such as the increasing number of work tasks, the “parenting” that increasingly seems to be a part of what schools are expected to do, shortages of specialist expertise and unreasonable timeframes and deadlines.”

Despite the survey results highlighting the need for better policies and resources to support Principals, both Mr. Presland and Mr. Seymour were positive about the overall job satisfaction of Principals:

“Principals love their jobs and you will find that their level of job satisfaction is higher than employees in many other occupations. What these survey findings show is that we need to support and build a culture of leadership resilience for Principals. Being a Principal in a NSW public school is a wonderful privilege and aspiring leaders should not be deterred from taking that next step in their Principalship journey.”

Chris Presland                                                                                                                 Phil Seymour
President, NSW Secondary Principals’ Council                                         President, NSW Primary Principals’ Association
M: 0414986514                                                                                                              M: 0412673378
E: chris.presland@det.nsw.edu.au                                                                      E: phil.seymour@det.nsw.edu.au


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