Home' Independence : Independence Vol 36 No 1 May 2011 Contents 30 Independence Vol 36 No 1 May 11
LEADERSHIP & MANAGEMENT
portrait, farewell and recruitment of your
The cost of your sabbatical should
include a budget for you and your partner
which takes into account all airfares,
accommodation and meals, but not the cost
of that which is regarded as your holiday
component. This should be written into
your contract. If it is not, have it included
The Australian Tax Office website
contains information which includes
recommended costs of accommodation,
meals and daily incidentals in key cities
around Australia and the world. Use this
to prepare the budget for your board. A
school credit card is a useful way of both
tracking the budget and earning frequent
flyer points to pay for future school travel.
not worth it
Practise what you preach at speech night
when you say ‘our staff is our greatest
asset’. Remember, that includes you – and
work out ways of nurturing that asset.
Almost all the AHISA Heads I know
are hard working and caring in the
performance of a difficult task. The buck
stops with you. You are held accountable
for the way in which you deal with all
manner of situations – school accidents;
the media; competition; relationships
with board, staff and parents; possible
expulsions; cyber safety issues;
neighbourhood complaints about noise,
traffic and student behaviour; scholarship
‘auctions’; staff frustrations; and the
neglected child – to name but a few. You
do it well and often without thanks.
Your emotional time and energy is given
to caring for others often at the expense
of your own family. The sabbatical is
one way of having genuine quality and
quantity time with your family and
reinvigorating yourself to continue to
meet these demands.
Talk to other Heads about conference and
course opportunities. Consider courses
in areas outside of education and in the
development of those CEO skills Heads
require. What you learn will be just as
important as sharing with others who
understand the challenges a Head faces.
Sin 5: Too much focus on the present at
the expense of the future
The present has a way of totally
occupying us in managing our schools
but it is vital that we also look to issues
of future viability for our organisations,
as well as job satisfaction and security for
our staff. Yes, manage the present well,
allowing your staff to assist, but planning
for the future must always be one of your
key performance indicators. This is an
expectation and requirement of you from
your board, which should be asking:
• As Head, how will you position our
• What is the state of the school’s
• What are our ‘points of difference’?
• How will we afford to attract and
retain the best staff?
• How will we cope with a change in
• Are we pricing ourselves out of the
market by raising our fees?
• How do we cope with competitors?
• Are we managing the risk?
• How can we use technology to lower
the cost of delivery?
• What sort of infrastructure do we need
or can we afford?
• What model of pastoral care will suit
the increasing demands of our parents,
students and alumni?
The sabbatical affords us time to
consider these questions, and more. It
gives us crucial and uninterrupted time
for forward thinking, planning and idea
gathering. It cannot be viewed as an
optional extra. Ironically, the best time to
do this thinking is away from school and
its daily demands. You might also meet
other educators interstate or overseas who
are grappling with the same problems
and, like you, will be seeking creative
Sin 6: My family understands
Do they really? A few great Heads can
do it alone, but most of us cannot. Our
partners put up with a great deal: dinners
spoilt because we are unavoidably late;
our preoccupation at home with school
business; parents who target you through
your partner; you and your partner’s
encounter with lubricated teenagers at the
start of a school formal; long hours away
from your own children and even absence
from some of their important milestones;
and the physical and mental fatigue that
builds during the course of the year. Our
partners and children also have to manage
the effects of our position.
We have a responsibility to look after
ourselves and our families. It is not
unreasonable to give them undivided
time once every five years. It is good
role modelling within your school to
show that care for one’s own family, and
oneself, is important.
For a part of the sabbatical try to do
something you would not normally do
on holidays. For me, staying in a small,
remote village is a way of spending
quality time with my family.
The sabbatical gives us crucial and
uninterrupted time for forward thinking,
planning and idea gathering. It cannot be
viewed as an optional extra.
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