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Are Principals too timid to lead the Education Narrative in Australia?

Posted on 23 March 2019
Are Principals too timid to lead the Education Narrative in Australia?

Above: Loretta Wholley [CaSPA]; Andrew Perpont [ASPA]; Malcolm Elliot [APPA]; Mark Merry [AHISA]

Presidents from all Peak Principal Associations in Australia along with other key stakeholders were participants at a significant Education Forum in Canberra on March 22, 2019. In recent times the Associations have collected set out to "reclaim the narrative" regarding Education in Australia. This is the result of a growing concern that others in the political and public sphere have tended to use discussion around Education as a means of pursuing their agendas - often at the expense of accurate or helpful regard to the real educational issues at hand.

The highly volatile and public debate about funding and Gonski 2.0 in recent months would be a typical example of discussion about the Education Sector being hijacked. There is a growing view that not only is this a sad example of "fake news", but also an instrument for "trashing the brand" of education more generally.

Among the issues raised during the Forum by moderator, Kerry O'Brien, was the question of the "timid" nature of those in Education and Principals in particular when it comes to leading public discourse on matters educational. He asked if Principals are either too reluctant - or too restricted by System and School Authorities - to take the lead in the media and similar forums.

Significantly thought, there is strong resolve by leaders of all Principal Associations to seek to publicise what unites rather than what divides those in the various sectors and produced the following communique at the conclusion of the Forum:

We understand that Australians want children, adolescents and young adults to experience a world-class education. As educators we fully support this goal. 

We believe that, as professionals within this education sector, we are the people who understand best what it means to be a 'world-class learner' and what that looks like throughout 13 years of learning at school.

We commit, as educational leaders, to exercising our professional wisdom so as to be recognised within the political process and to shape public debate.  This execution will further contribute to a clear and coherent narrative for world-class education in Australia. 

We stand together in our profession and are determined to inform the future direction of Australian education policy.

CaSPA wishes to thank Andrew Pierpont and his colleagues at ASPA for the excellent initiative of organising the Forum and their generous invitation for us to attend.

Tags: Principals Australia

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