Wednesday 27 February 2019

‘The best job in the world, with some of the worst days imaginable’

‘The work of a principal has been described as the best job in the world, with some of the worst days imaginable,’ said Beth Blackwood, CEO of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA).

Ms Blackwood said the results of the 2018 Australian Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Survey (pdf), released today, offer insights into why the job of leading a school is one of apparent extremes.

‘The Survey results reveal that principals work longer hours and suffer far higher levels of work-related stress than the general population,’ said Ms Blackwood, who was a member of the Survey’s consultative committee. ‘They are also at greater risk of physical violence and threats of violence. At the same time, principals report far higher levels of job satisfaction than the general population.’

Ms Blackwood said that principals typically express the opportunity their role brings to positively influence the lives of young people as the key to their work satisfaction.

‘The chance to make a significant difference to a whole community of students and their families, and to contribute to education more widely, is often the driver for teachers to seek leadership pathways,’ said Ms Blackwood.

‘Principals are intrinsically motivated and values driven, and the community has a responsibility not to take advantage of this,’ said Ms Blackwood. ‘The Survey results send a strong warning that when employers or parents trade on principals’ aspirations for their schools and students they are putting principals’ health and wellbeing at severe risk. The results can therefore be interpreted as a barometer of the health and wellbeing of our nation as a civil society, and the indicators are there for all to see: for the sake of all those who work and learn in our schools, Australia must do better.’


Contact: Ms Beth Blackwood, AHISA CEO, mobile 0417 180 842.

'The best job in the world, with some of the worst days imaginable'