AQ: Australian Quarterly

Rural school principals   Professional development and getting the 3Rs correct

Principals of rural schools are integral parts of their communities. They know everyone. They work twenty-four hours a day in the “fish bowl” environment of a country town. They support our country families: those kind folks who protect Australia’s iconic bush environment, our waterways, and grow our food. Principals address a myriad of needs of all the families in the entire district. I briefly examine 5 of these needs in this paper: domestic violence, juvenile justice, mental health, issues relating to indigenous students and, of course, student learning. Principals often address these issues with only the resources within their community at their disposal.

With all the complexities of the job, why would anyone be a school principal, let alone an isolated principal in the country? Rural school principals do an amazing job and are generally highly respected by community members; but who supports them?

In a 2011 survey, 46% of Australian school principals reported having undertaken no training before taking on the job. But why should training for country principals’ matter? For starters, we know that in schools where Australian principals have been trained, students achieve higher results.

46% of Australian school principals reported having undertaken no training before taking on the job.

Rural school principals deserve ready access to professional development and training that empowers them to enact their best work. Only when principals are supported can they get their 3Rs correct: Relationships, Responsibilities and Resourcing. In turn, principals can then support students get their own 3Rs correct, thereby lifting education attainment of rural students.

Australian research shows us that

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from AQ: Australian Quarterly

AQ: Australian Quarterly7 min read
Deleting Democracy: Australia And The Surveillance Juggernaut
The ‘datafication’ of the economy as we near the third decade of the 21st century is all-pervasive. The model, in the space of a decade and a half, has become so utterly hegemonic that it has earned its status as a special type of capitalism – Survei
AQ: Australian Quarterly2 min read
A Word
It is fundamental to human nature to want to see beyond the horizon–both literally and figuratively. From the earliest times, this instinct has inevitably led us into contact (and conflict) with other groups, it resulted in tribes, cities, and nation
AQ: Australian Quarterly9 min read
Why A Fair Go Should Be The Law
It’s been almost 71 years since the United Nations proclaimed the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. This milestone document was announced at the United Nations in Paris on December 10, 1948 and set out, for the first time, fundamental human righ