Home' Independence : Independence Vol 34 No 1 May 2009 Contents 2 Independence Volume 34 No. 1
Australian governments have been quick
to take on board and acknowledge the
fact that school leadership is something
that needs to be stimulated and supported
if we are to have effective schools.
Governments and other school owners
can set in place the policies and resources
that support school effectiveness, but they
cannot make it happen. That is the role
of the Principal. Principals are the
progress makers in their schools and,
as I am about to argue, have a role to
play in lifting the quality of schooling
right across the planet.
In November 2008, as Chair of AHISA,
I attended a Council meeting of the
International Confederation of Principals
(ICP). The meeting was held at Windsor
Castle in the UK. I make a point of the
location because many Principals I talk
with associate ICP with the exotic places
in which its conferences and council
meetings are held and tend to be
dismissive of its achievements. What I
ask in this brief note is that Principals
put aside the issue of location and instead
thoughtfully consider the issue of action,
of how you can take the best of what you
do locally and leverage that nationally
Principals by nature tend to be idealistic.
We want children to be educated and
educated well. Mostly, we work to make
these ideals real within our own schools.
Our challenge is to ramp this up, and take
our inspiration and aspiration to another
level to benefit all schools.
Growing school effectiveness globally
What was brought home to me at
Windsor was just how much Australian
Principals can contribute to raising the
quality of education around the world.
If you look at the OECD’s recent report,
Improving School Leadership, in which
ICP participated, the Australian cont-
ribution is impressive for its breadth and
quality. We are good at education and we
are good at sharing our understanding of
what makes schools operate effectively.
The ICP is now organised into four regional
zones – the Americas, Africa, Europe and
Asia/Oceania. Our region of Asia/Oceania
contains about half the world’s population
and a huge diversity in schooling models
and opportunities for young people. We in
Australia have so much we can share within
this region alone. Through ICP we have the
means to develop exemplars and programs
that can be used and applied anywhere in
ICP’s work is now wide-ranging, from
the provision of professional learning for
school leaders to projects in areas such
as school resourcing, school-family
partnerships and mental health and
wellbeing. Information about these
projects can be found at www.icponline.
org as can details for the next ICP
conference, ‘Charting the New Educat-
ional Landscape’, to be held in Singapore
from 6-10 July 2009. The conference will
be a good opportunity for AHISA
members to assess for themselves the
potential of this evolving body to become
the force in worldwide education it has
set itself to become.
ICP is reinventing itself as a purposeful
and productive network of educators,
non-political and non-sectarian, aspiring
to encourage a sense of belonging and
active participation in the worldwide
education community. It deserves our
serious attention and support.
As globalisation demands that we respond
to the educational needs of all children
everywhere, the increasing role of the
federal government in Australian school-
ing calls us to take action nationally.
As articles in the ‘Outlook’ section of this
issue of Independence make apparent, the
business of schooling is affected by the
business of governments. As school
leaders, as education leaders, we have
a vital role to play in advising govern-
ments on what is best for schools and
students. To do that effectively we must
be prepared to act together nationally,
through individual effort as members of
AHISA, and through AHISA in alliance
with other organisations.
Principals have a unique role to play
as advocates for school education. We
mediate at that critical point between the
classroom and the business of schooling
and no one is better placed to speak about
what makes for an effective school.
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