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The secondary school principalship in Australia and New Zealand: An investigation of changing roles

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 00:25 authored by Cranston, N, Ehrich, L, Billot, J
It has been well-documented in the literature that the roles and workloads of principals in many western countries have intensified in recent years, due to a range of pressures emanating from a changing turbulent policy environment. This study investigated the roles and workloads of secondary school principals from Queensland, Australia, and New Zealand. These were explored to determine if there was any discrepancy between how principals view their current practice and how they would desire their current practice to be. The study data drew on a specially developed questionnaire in addition to a small number of targeted interviews and focus groups. The findings indicated that for principals in Australia and New Zealand (i) pressure in the role and hours worked per week had increased compared with previous years; (ii) role overload, role ambiguity and role conflict now characterised the job to some extent; and (iii) principals devoted most of their time to management/administration and staffing issues, yet their ideal week was described as one where they would dedicate time to strategic leadership, curriculum leadership and parent/community issues. They were highly satisfied with their role, overall. The paper also provides a discussion of the skills and competencies required of the principalship and issues for the ongoing professional development of school principals in both countries.


Publication title

Leadership & Policy Studies in Schools






Faculty of Education


Taylor & Francis Inc.

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

The definitive published version is available online at:

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Management, resources and leadership

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