Swords and shields: But what do the commanders know about the Rules of Engagement
Trimble, AJ, Swords and shields: But what do the commanders know about the Rules of Engagement, Proceedings of the 22nd annual Australia and New Zealand Education Law Association (ANZELA) Conference, 2-4 October 2013, Hobart, Australia, pp. 21. (2013) [Conference Extract]
School principals now work in complex educational environments reflecting challenges from global, national and individual levels. To properly secure the safety, success and sustainability of their schools, principals must bring to bear an expanded portfolio of professional knowledge and capacities in diverse areas, including that of Education Law.Although principals' understanding of Education Law in Australia attracted some research interest a number of years ago, there has been little recent work in this area.
This paper reports on a recent exploratory study into aspects of legal knowledge held by Tasmanian government school principals, focusing on non-sexual physical contact between teachers and students. The small-scale mixed-method research project produced three key findings. First, the participating school leaders utilized two different forms of Education Law knowledge: one related to legal problems, and the other to legally-related routine activities, although both domains involved principals dealing with a broad range of legal issues. Second, on the specific topic of non-sexual touching, some knowledge held by principals was not legally accurate. Third, for major legal problems participants indicated that they acquired information from legal experts; the situation for routine legal matters was less clear, although experience and in-service training were identified as knowledge sources. The study participants identified their need for a sound knowledge of Education Law for dealing with school security and safety matters. The findings of the project are generally consistent with earlier Australian and international studies, suggesting that further research is required concerning the development of Australian principals' Education Law knowledge.
education law, principals and the law, legal environment of schools