The three school leadership requirements
Principals are required both to lead and to manage. Leadership develops shared vision, inspires and
creates commitment and embraces risk and innovation. Management develops systems, which limit
uncertainty, even out differences and improve consistency and predictability in delivering educational
Principals lead and manage through:
• vision and values
• knowledge and understanding
• personal qualities and social and interpersonal skills.
1. Vision and values
Principals lead the development of the vision of the school. They are committed to the learning
and growth of young people and adults guided by fairness, ethical practice, democratic values and
lifelong learning. Principals understand, lead, mediate and serve the best interests of the community.
This resonates through the strategic vision, school culture, traditions and positive ethos they seek to
promote across the school. They insist upon high standards and foster respect across the whole school
• Principals model “learning for life” through their own professional practice and promote it actively in
their interaction with students, staff, families and carers and the wider community.
• Principals inspire and motivate children and young people, staff and the school community and its
partners and set high standards for every learner, including students, staff and self.
• Principals behave with integrity underpinned by moral purpose. They model values and ethical
perspectives in relation to their own and the school’s practice and organisation. They promote
democratic values including active citizenship and inclusion.
2. Knowledge and understanding
Principals understand the practice and theory of contemporary leadership and apply that knowledge in
school improvement. Principals are well versed in the latest research and developments in pedagogy,
curriculum, assessment and reporting and student wellbeing. They have knowledge of relevant
national policies, practices and initiatives as well as relevant federal and state legislation, agreements
and policies. They understand the implications of child safety, health and wellbeing, human resource
management, financial management and accountability and other legislative and policy requirements in
relation to serving their community and broader society.
• Principals have a current knowledge and understanding of research into teaching, learning and
child development and how to apply such research to the needs of the students in the school. This
includes the management of performance in the school and strategies to improve practice.
• Principals apply knowledge and understanding of current developments in education policy,
schooling and social and environmental trends and developments to improve educational
opportunities in the school. Principals work collaboratively with their school boards, governing
bodies and others to achieve this.
• Principals apply knowledge and understanding of leadership and management concepts and
practice to deliver with others effective strategic leadership and operational management.
3. Personal qualities and social and interpersonal skills
This requirement recognises the importance of emotional intelligence, empathy, resilience and personal
wellbeing in the leadership and management of the school and its community. Principals regularly
review their practice and implement change in their leadership and management approaches to suit the
situation. They manage themselves well and use ethical practices and social skills to deal with conflict
effectively. They are able to build trust across the school community and to create a positive learning
atmosphere for students and staff and within the community in which they work.
• Principals are able to define challenges clearly and seek positive solutions, often in collaboration
with others. They know when decisions are required and are able to use the available evidence
and information to support, inform and communicate their decisions.
• Principals can communicate, negotiate, collaborate and advocate effectively and relate well to all
the school’s community. They are good listeners and coaches, clear in responding and able to give
and receive feedback.
• Principals take account of the social, political and local circumstances within which they work. They
continuously improve their networking and influencing skills.
The Five Professional Practices of Principals
While leadership requirements are common to all leaders there are five professional practices particular
to the role of the principal.
1. Leading teaching and learning
2. Developing self and others
3. Leading improvement, innovation and change
4. Leading the management of the school
5. Engaging and working with the community