12 April 2018
Commentary on an article which appeared in the Australian Teacher magazine entitled “Principal Health and Wellbeing” 10 April 2018 plus solutions offered by BCF
The article reports
1. Australian principals are on average working 60 hours a week with 11% working 70 hours a week.
2. ANU had reported beyond 32 hours a week for women and about 39 hours a week for men you start to see declines in health – particularly mental health
3. Demands placed on principals by departments of education are increasing. Accountability and administrative work is ramping up but without the adequate resources to match those demands.
Commentary by Alan J Whitaker CEO BCF on the overloading of principals
1. Principals are overloaded by admin required by district offices.
2. Many principals swamped by administration become stressed and relationships between district office officials, principals and school management become adversely affected.
3. The consequence of this relationship breakdown and of trust is that much of the positively intended assistance, and the interventions and policies which district offices try to impose on, or recommend to, schools are negatively received. Silo thinking becomes entrenched.
4. Many principals, especially of under-performing schools, overload themselves by handling all disagreements between members of staff and all issues of discipline.
5. They also fail to delegate management and administration duties to deputies and HODs. When questioned they say that discipline, admin and M&E of curriculum delivery “is their job”.
Solutions provided to principals by the BCF Districts Centre of Excellence Programme
1. Silo thinking and the breakdown of relationships disappear or are reduced as the District Director, Circuit Manager, Cluster Leader, Principal, Deputy Principal, HODs, Academic Staff and Parents become one synchronised team working towards:
a) Delivery of quality education at each school.
b) Timeous and quality curriculum delivery in every classroom every day.
c) Creating pride at all levels of management and staff throughout each School, Cluster, Circuit and District.
d) Eliminating unnecessary and duplicated administration and policies which currently overload and frustrate teachers, principals and district office management.
2. The current load borne by most principals, especially those of under-performing schools, is radically reduced as the roles and responsibilities of each district office official, school-based manager and teacher are jointly examined and clarified.
The Deputy Principal runs the school and handles all discipline and conflict issues
This frees the Principal to focus on implementation of the strategy to reinvent his/her school to become a centre of excellence, fiduciary management and compliance, the building and maintenance of relationships with key stakeholders including parent bodies, school governing bodies, community leaders and potential donors.
HODs focus on timeous and quality curriculum delivery in every classroom.
3. The role of Circuit Managers, Subject Advisors and other district officials change from a focus on compliance to change leadership.
Key elements of the BCF Districts Centre of Excellence Programme
1. This is a culture change programme conducted over a period of four months.
2. BCF trains the District Director and senior district management to reinvent their district office to become a centre of excellence focused on every school in the district becoming a centre of excellence.
3. BCF trains Circuit Managers to train and empower Principals of all the schools which report to them to become centres of excellence.
4. Circuit Managers train and empower Principals of the schools which report to them at four workshops spread over four months. BCF facilitators attend these workshops to provide additional information and coach circuit managers where required
5. Circuit Managers visit each school to monitor and assist each principal with implementation. BCF facilitators visit schools with Circuit Managers to monitor the process and coach Circuit Managers where necessary.
Quotations are available to conduct this highly successful culture change Programme per district in every country.