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The secondary school principalship in Australia and New Zealand: An investigation of changing roles


Cranston, N and Ehrich, L and Billot, J, The secondary school principalship in Australia and New Zealand: An investigation of changing roles, Leadership & Policy Studies in Schools, 2, (3) pp. 159-188. ISSN 1570-0763 (2003) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1076/lpos.


It has been well-documented in the literature that the roles and workloads of principals in many western countries have intensified in recent years, due to a range of pressures emanating from a changing turbulent policy environment. This study investigated the roles and workloads of secondary school principals from Queensland, Australia, and New Zealand. These were explored to determine if there was any discrepancy between how principals view their current practice and how they would desire their current practice to be. The study data drew on a specially developed questionnaire in addition to a small number of targeted interviews and focus groups. The findings indicated that for principals in Australia and New Zealand (i) pressure in the role and hours worked per week had increased compared with previous years; (ii) role overload, role ambiguity and role conflict now characterised the job to some extent; and (iii) principals devoted most of their time to management/administration and staffing issues, yet their ideal week was described as one where they would dedicate time to strategic leadership, curriculum leadership and parent/community issues. They were highly satisfied with their role, overall. The paper also provides a discussion of the skills and competencies required of the principalship and issues for the ongoing professional development of school principals in both countries.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Australia, New Zealand, secondary school, high school, principal, roles, workloads
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Specialist studies in education
Research Field:Educational administration, management and leadership
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Schools and learning environments
Objective Field:Management, resources and leadership
UTAS Author:Cranston, N (Professor Neil Cranston)
ID Code:58555
Year Published:2003
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2009-10-14
Last Modified:2015-06-23
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