NSW principals will be freed up from drowning in paperwork, coordinating school repairs and IT troubleshooting under a $50 million-a-year plan by the state government aimed at getting school leaders back to teaching.
NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes announced the plan, which aims to give principals more time to focus on actual teaching, curriculum planning, teacher quality and student progress, at Sydney’s Killara High School on Monday.
It comes after a study by Deloitte found that principals in NSW’s 2200 public schools spend just 30 per cent of their day on teaching.
Dealing with the daily deluge of administrative tasks is a struggle said Killara High School principal Jane Dennett who describes it as “being pecked to death by ducks”.
“A typical day can range from anything from negotiating canteen menus to working out what trees are about to fall down or why the water was suddenly cut off,” Ms Dennett told reporters on Monday.
“I know that more time spent with professional development and reflection to drive improvement can only be a good thing, but I just can’t compromise that quality time.”
The NSW government hopes the money will allow government schools to appoint business managers, similar to those in private schools, to take on the bureaucratic load.
The ongoing funding will be distributed among schools based on their scale and complexity, with smaller schools advised to pool their resources to get the administrative support required.
Mr Stokes said principals have been burdened with administrative tasks that has relegated their role to being managers rather than leaders.
“(It is about) providing principals with the capacity to give them back the time so that they can be in classrooms supporting our teachers or they can be in the schoolyard supporting our students,” Mr Stokes told reporters on Monday.
A new team of trained officers also will be established to remove the compliance burden on principals, including annual work, health and safety inspections.
The strategy has been welcomed by the NSW Primary Principals Association and the NSW Secondary Principals Council.
“We believe this is one of the most comprehensive multi-phased strategies put in place to support schools for some time,” Secondary Principals Council President Chris Presland said on Monday in a statement.