Evaluation of the Leading Australia's Schools Program

15 Feb 2008

The Leading Australia's Schools Program is designed to provide significant, leading-edge professional learning for school principals, with particular though not exclusive priority given to those in the early years of the principalship. The Program design focuses on improving the knowledge and skills of Australia's school leaders and increasing their capacity to lead their schools effectively into the 21st Century.

The Leading Australia's Schools Program addresses in a highly explicit and truly national way an area about which there is substantial national and international research. The literature points consistently to the key issues and themes around which the Program is structured. Inter alia, these include the approaches and practices through which educational leaders can impact student learning. While there is much research, nationally and overseas on teacher practice effects, there is also now a growing body of evidence about the leadership effect. Investment in Australia's educational leaders is an investment in the quality of learning in which Australia's children and young people will engage, now and into the future.

Another issue recurring in the literature is the critical role of effective educational leaders in creating and sustaining the circumstances in which a learning community can grow and prosper. Much of this is reflected in contemporary research literature around the concept of networking and how principals can shape policy, approach and practice across school communities. Another issue, strongly reflected in the research, is that of identifying and harnessing opportunities in a highly complex milieu. In this regard, the literature points to how effective school leaders can transform teaching and learning, build a broad base of identity of the school as a learning community, and expand students' social capital through broadened and more flexible and innovative concepts of schooling.

There have been many calls over the years for the development of teaching in Australia so that it has the key qualities and characteristics of a profession. One of the recurring characteristics of a profession is that its members take significant responsibility for and engage in professional learning. At its leading edge, such learning addresses key issues and questions in professional leadership. The Leading Australia’s Schools Program represents, therefore, an initiative through which the profession itself contributes to the professional learning of its members.

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