Doom and gloom or a time for optimism: Potential aspirants' views about school leadership - now and for the future

Year: 2006

Author: Cranston, Neil

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Principal recruitment has attracted national and international attention in recent years (eg. Barty et al, 2005 in Australia; Earley et al, 2002 in the UK; Brooking et al, 2003 in New Zealand; Williams, 2003 in Canada). Importantly, Australian research in both state and non-state schools suggests that potential principal aspirants are less enthusiastic than might be expected in their desire to become principals (D'Arbon et al, 2002; Cranston et al, 2004; Lacey, 2002).

Given the importance of ensuring we have quality leaders for our schools in the future, the research reported here (which is on-going and involving follow-up interviews) examined the views of potential aspirants (primary and secondary deputies) from one large government education system in Australia about the principalship and their intentions in seeking promotion (or otherwise) to such positions and the reasons driving these intentions. Data were collected via the Aspirant Principal Questionnaire (APQ) - especially developed for the study - comprising 38 closed items mainly of a Likert type format, 5 open-ended items linked to particular closed items allowing participants to add their own suggestions/ideas, expand/elaborate on responses; and 4 further more general open-ended items.

A number of system-level policy and practice recommendations have been developed from the findings.