Congratulations to you and all of your staff for the amazing work you have done to educate and care for the students at your school. I am sure your staff have been a wonderful support for your community’s families during the challenges of 2021.
Thank you to all of our Principals who completed the CaSPA Survey during November. The response rate was outstanding and CaSPA looks forward to sharing the results and analysis with you during 2022. Congratulations to the 5 Principals who won a $100 Book Voucher: Andrew Baker, Michael Hanratty, Brad Cooney, Andree Rice and Frances Robertson.
On behalf of the CaSPA Board I would like to sincerely thank Andree Rice (NT), Darren Atkinson (Vic) and Joe Hoyne (WA) for their dedicated service as CaSPA Directors. Their wisdom and commitment have contributed much to CaSPA’ work and advocacy. I wish them well for 2022 and beyond and look forward to officially thanking them at the CaSPA Conference next year.
I would also like to acknowledge Phil Lewis, our Executive Officer, for the extensive and thorough work done in nurturing partnerships, advocacy across many sectors, in ensuring executive functions were implemented, and for networking across sectors.
May I also express my good wishes to all of the Principals who are either retiring or moving to a non-Principal role next year. Thank you for your leadership, commitment and service to your community as Principal. May God’s blessings be with you as you transition to the next phase of your life.
We have had an active year, and established solid credence at national levels, where we are well recognised as a peak body and consultation with us is sought by government agencies, other peak bodies/organisations and Catholic entities.
In conclusion, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. I hope you have a truly restful break and my very best wishes for the New Year.
God’s Blessing to all,
- Cluey Learning - offer to provide online tutoring for small groups in response to COVID for students with learning needs. Information was sent to local associations for distribution.
- CESF Meeting 15 November – Last meeting of the year with CSPA, ACPPA and NCEC. Key agenda items included staffing of Rural and Remote schools and the effects of COVID around Australia.
- Perth Conference Meeting with CSPA (WA) and CEWA Conference Committee to organise the program and promotional flyers.
- NCEC eSummit – 25 November: Webinar about Catholic Education throughout Australia. Topics included the needs of Regional & Remote schools, Faith Formation and Teacher Workforce quality and Professional Learning. Minister Alan Tudge also presented to the Forum.
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- CaSPA collaboration with ACPPA – The associations have met and are looking to work closely together into the future especially in the area of Principal Wellbeing.
- CaSPA Board Meeting (4 November) – COVID issues were discussed at length. The CaSPA Constitution will be evaluated by Russell / Kennedy Lawyers during 2022 and meeting dates for 2022 confirmed.
- Rebranding of CaSPA Website – Work has commenced on the redevelopment of the CaSPA Website. The structure is planned to be completed later this year and the format of the contents will be updated in early 2022.
- DESE Meeting: Teaching and Leading Workforce Webinar – Postponed due to technical difficulties.
- CAP Meeting (26 November) – Final meeting for 2021. Updates from all associations and guidelines for CAP were discussed during the hour.
- PIVOT Survey – CaSPA’s Survey closed on 26 November. The response rate was very high and the CaSPA Board looks forward to releasing and analysing the interesting results during 2022. Many thanks to all the Principals who were able to take the time to respond.
Profiles of all the CaSPA Board are available on the CaSPA Website: https://caspa.schoolzineplus.com/current-and-past-board-members
Report reveals 4 keys to high-impact rural school leadership
By EducationHQ News Team
Published November 5, 2021
A new, government funded report has identified the key elements of outstanding leadership in country schools.
Leadership in country schools requires a sense of collective responsibility, the paper argues.
According to the University of New South Wales’ High-Impact School Leadership in Regional, Rural and Remote Schools report, the best leaders have four key attributes: an innovation imperative, collective responsibility, a focus on teaching and learning, and visibility in and commitment to the community.
To come to their conclusions, the researchers conducted a series of scoping studies, held workshops with representatives from principals’ associations and interviewed high-performing principals.
Lead author Associate Professor Scott Eacott told EducationHQ that many teachers in rural areas only plan to stay for a short time, which makes building relationships difficult.
“When I was a teacher back in the 90s, it was a bit of a rite of passage for you to go and do a bit of country service…” he said.
“I think there’s a bit of a legacy there, that sometimes it is that you just go and 'do your time' in the country, whereas I think all of the principals that we spoke to [emphasised that] to actually have impact as a leader in these types of locations is to be both visible in the community … and actually showing a commitment to the community. So you're not just using them as a stepping stone, you're actually there and trying to impact on the outcomes of students, staff and the community.”
Leadership in country schools also requires a sense of collective responsibility, the paper argues.
“The idea … that every member of staff is responsible for every student and every family, and really building that idea that you don't just look after your class or the students that you've worked with; everybody in the school is responsible for every family and every student in the school,” Eacott said.
“It's this idea of collective responsibility, you don't leave it for someone else to pick something up, you actually do it yourself. If you see something, you act on it. I think that was a really important thing … how do you build that locally grounded responsibility, where everyone's involved and everyone feels a sense of responsibility for everyone in the school?”
Lower educational outcomes in rural areas call for innovative leadership, Eacott said.
“The outcomes at the moment are not good enough, we can't just keep doing the status quo, we need to be thinking outside the box and doing something a little bit different.
“So in some ways, there's actually a little bit more permission to be innovative in these sorts of locations, and that calls for different types of leadership.”
Eacott added that it is important to move away from a deficit mindset when talking about regional, rural and remote education.
“It's really easy to fall on the data that the farther a school is located from a major centre, the lower the outcomes are and all of that type of stuff, but that sets you up in quite a deficit way [of thinking].
“We really tried in this project to look at the impact that you're having in your school as opposed to, ‘What do you need to do to make your school better?’
“So we tried to flip that narrative and have a really positive story about the work that's going on in those schools rather than a deficit logic.”
Associate Professor James Ladwig of the University of Newcastle welcomed the report, but added some "cautionary notes".
"First, on the cautions, the report really is mislabelled," Ladwig said.
"Because the authors were really only able to obtain direct evidence from principals and system agents, the findings should not be considered definitive statements.
"They are better understood as what principals and systems people from rural and remote schools say. Of course, that isn’t to be discounted completely – but it is only one viewpoint we would include in a better understanding of the issues at hand.
"Second, the report declares impact without any evidence of actual impact – so we can’t really test the findings on impact. In this case, the key points of the report (that the leadership needed in rural and remote settings is different to metro- settings and that ‘an innovation imperative,’ ‘collective responsibility,’ a ‘focus on teaching and learning’, and ‘visibility in and commitment to the community’ are in fact causal factors for school impact) remain plausible and reasonable, but un-tested. More research is needed to secure these findings.
"Finally, it is likely that some of these points are very much understated and in many ways the consequence of how systems manage rural and remote schools. Innovation is often a means to obtain needed basic supports in these settings. Collective responsibility isn’t optional there. The need to focus on teaching and learning is probably not unique, and the relationship with community extends far beyond commitments and visibility – but requires long term authentic membership in these communities."
Eacott noted that, when visiting schools to conduct case studies, the researchers spoke to school staff and community members as well as principals.
"We did actually speak to more than just the principals, but at the same time, it isn't definitive," he said.
"It's four case studies, it's 20 interviews, it's part of an ongoing agenda to try to improve outcomes in regional, rural and remote Australian schools."
Burnout among principals has become a chronic problem – general upper secondary schools the worst, with regional differences.
There has been a permanent and significant increase in the work load of Finnish principals, resulting in stress and exhaustion. Current leadership structures are incapable of providing sustainable solutions for today's challenges, states Antti Ikonen, the chair of Sure Fire, the Association of Finnish Principals.
– This may affect equality in education and the future of education. There should be no more delays for reforming the leadership system in education. The reform has been included in the current Government programme and it should be implemented, calls Ikonen.
The long coronavirus era, which is still ongoing, has left a heavy mark on schools, learning, and the well-being of principals. Much of the overall responsibility for continuing education during the crisis has been borne by the principals, whose level of exhaustion grew deeper and more persistent during the last year. At the same time, principals' enthusiasm with their work plummeted from last year.
All this was revealed by the Principal Barometer 2021, a study led by Academy Professor Katariina Salmela-Aro and Professor Minna Huotilainen from the University of Helsinki as well as Professor Philip Riley from Australia. The results from this year's study were also compared to those from the barometers of two earlier years. The dataset was collected in late spring 2021.
– In spring, 20 per cent of principals were burnt-out, 45 per cent were at risk of a burnout, and 35 per cent were inspired. The situation has become persistent, as the number of burnt-out principals and those at risk of a burnout has been increasing since the pre-pandemic spring of 2019. In 2020, 17 per cent were experiencing moderate to severe exhaustion; this year, this group had grown to 26 per cent, says Academy Professor Katariina Salmela-Aro.
According to Salmela-Aro, more than half of the burnout is explained by the demanding nature of the work. There has been an increase in the work load of principals, cognitive and emotional demands, conflicts in reconciliating work and family, and Covid stress.
– Enthusiasm with one's work, on the other hand, is explained by work-related resources such as possibilities to influence and develop the work, received feedback, and sense of community. The ability to modify one's work is a crucial psychological factor that can increase coping at work and being inspired by work, recounts Salmela-Aro.
Most exhaustion found among general upper secondary school principals
Some aspects of the results may even pose a threat to equality in education. There are differences between educational levels: principals of general upper secondary schools showed a higher level of exhaustion. This may be due to many reforms carried out at this level lately – a new core curriculum, increasing the weight of matriculation examination, extending the compulsory education – as well as hybrid teaching and other Covid arrangements.
In addition, there are regional differences: in spring, the darkest places on the principals' exhaustion map were Lapland, Central Ostrobothnia and Central Finland.
Similarly, Professor Minna Huotilainen's physiological measurements on principals showed poorer results than a year ago: a principal's workday contains less relaxed time and more stressful time. On average, there was over 15 hours of stressful time per day, and less than four hours of relaxed time.
– These symptoms have become chronic as well. The quality of sleep among principals has deteriorated, although the length of sleep has remained the same, about seven and a half hours, says Huotilainen.
Urgent to fix the situation
According to Chair Antti Ikonen, the development of chronic stress and exhaustion among principals is bad news for all Finns.
– The lack of leadership resources can, at its worst, jeopardise the functioning of the entire school community. The well-being of each member of the community is intertwined. The long pandemic has deteriorated the well-being of students, educational staff, and principals. It is challenging to address the lack of well-being caused by Covid at a time when everyone's resources are limited, says Ikonen.
According to Ikonen, the fact that exhaustion among principals has remained unchanged or become worse since spring 2019 is a sign of insufficient commitment by some education providers to fix the issue. Management and training are also in need of improvement.
– This problem affects more people than just the principals; they should not be left to cope alone. Another reason the matter should be fixed urgently is that the number of large schools is growing along with shrinking age groups, promising similar or higher work load on principals in the future.
According to Ikonen, a principal's work has transformed from administrative work towards leadership and support of the entire school community. However, the principals' training and competence development system gives insufficient resources for this.
– Reforming the leadership system is included in our current Government programme, and should be implemented as soon as possible.
2022 CaSPA Awards and Scholarships
The Scholarship applications closed on the 30th October. We will publish the successful applicant in due course.
The 2 Awards close on February 28th 2022 and we encourage you to apply by clicking on the below link.
CaSPA is very proud to announce the launching of the 2022 Scholarships and Awards.
Nomination Forms have been sent to all State and Territory Catholic Principal Associations and can be viewed at the following link on the CaSPA website: https://caspa.schoolzineplus.com/introduction
Please remember that all awardees to be eligible are expected to attend the 2022 Conference to receive their award in person.
New Caritas Resources for your Teacher and Students
Find out about them through this video https://vimeo.com/639321493/cc0c47c56a
Please pass these links onto your RE Team and teaching staff for curriculum use and planning.
Advent Resources (Coming soon)
Join the Justice Education Facebook Page to receive updates on release of new resources.