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Principals…they need your support to be successful!

Principals have an incredibly challenging role. They are responsible for the management of multi-million dollar organisations and the majority of schools are large employers. These responsibilities are in addition to the Principals core role of ensuring the wellbeing and successful education of all students.

The business model under which a schools operates sees the loss typically between 7 to 10% of their enrolments through the graduation of Year 12 alone. This occurs year upon year. Therefore, each year’s new student enrolments must meet these levels just to maintain the status quo.

Taking a historical view of school management highlights the many challenges Principals need to address:

Principals need you - table image

The good news is that solutions are available through the proper engagement of:

  1. The School Board
  2. The Executive, and
  3. External Consultants

The objective is to have all of these resources working together to support the Principal.

A School Board will best serve the School and its Principal when it is made up of cross functional, enthusiastic and experienced members. The School Board establishes the Strategies to meet the Goals and Objectives and sets the tone and the parameters of the school through the creation of a range of Policies.

The Board’s role is also to ensure that the Principal is supported publicly at all times and assists the Principal through the provision of resources as they request. The Board need to support the Principal during times of unfair criticism from Parents, Staff and/or Students.

The Board is responsible for the overall Welfare of the Principal.

The Board and Executive should ensure that the Principal is not drawn unnecessarily into negative issues. Principals need to be the flag bearer of their school and engage in topics that create positive messages about the school wherever possible.

In conjunction with the Principal, the Board should be developing Strategies to attract new enrolments and maintain the current enrolments. Schools should be in a permanent active marketing cycle. The only right time to market is, all of the time.

The Board is responsible for deciding on Investment and Capital Improvement which will best retain current enrolments but will also be valuable in attracting new enrolments.

The Executive is responsible for the implementation and management of, all Board Policies.

Technology impacts school operations across all disciplines and is a major academic, operational and financial challenge. The Executive need to take control of this matter and ensure advice is presented to both the Principal and the School Board on both the requirements and the most cost effective ways in which to achieve its technological objectives.

The School Board and the Executive, where appropriate, with the lead taken by the Business Manager, should be looking at the Strategy of Multiple Income Streams to deal with any reductions in tuition fees and recurrent funding such as:

  • PrincipalEstablish a Foundation
  • Investments in shares, property or both
  • Old Scholars Association
  • Wills and Endowments
  • International Student Program

As the opposite approach to more income, the Business Manager can lead the charge in:

  • Increasing operational efficiencies
  • Implement a process of continuous improvement
  • Maximise the benefits of the school’s software
  • Document the processes for staff to follow

The cost savings and efficiencies can then deal with both the increased burden of statutory reporting and the loss of volunteer labour, now converted to paid labour with all of the associated costs, both direct and indirect.

External Consultants can provide important support to the proposals outlined.

The Board can engage a consultant to assist with:

  • Future board member make-up
  • Constitution reviews
  • Establishing Strategies, Goals and Objectives
  • Assist with the Master Plan

Marketing consultants can assist with the implementation of Marketing Strategies supported by a Demographic Analyst to assist in targeting the marketing strategies.

Consultants can be engaged to upskill the Executive team in their areas of responsibilities outlined above including Media training.

IT consultants can be used to assist with the Technology Strategies and Consultants from the school’s software providers can provide important information as to how to gain efficiencies from the software as well as retrain staff where required.

In summary, the Principal’s role is extremely challenging but there are both internal and external solutions to these challenges in addition to the resources to ensure your Schools Principal is successful and therefore by association your school is successful.