Principals: Welcome to a year of challenge and opportunity

The education landscape is evolving in meaningful ways, particularly in its shifts during the recent pandemic years.

As the 2023 school year begins, modern technologies and methods of learning provide a unique challenge in adapting our approach to teaching while engaging students in the best means possible, often in difficult circumstances.

Recent research from RMIT purports that technology is no longer a motivating factor in learning – it’s a must. It needs to be incorporated in the future of education to ensure students are equipped with the skills to cope in a world dependent on technology.

Further, with the shift towards a more personalised learner experience, teachers are required to become data collectors, analysts, planners, collaborators, curriculum experts, synthesisers, problem solvers and researchers.

This provides a significant challenge for many principals when managing a limited budget, restricted access to the right hardware and software, and a shortage of staff with the experience and skills to administer and deliver the curriculum.

In the run-up to the NSW election on 25 March, policymakers on both sides of the political aisle will focus on teacher retention, staff wellbeing, salaries and conditions, technology and academic recovery after the pandemic. They’ll also work on more contentious topics, such as parental rights and LGBTIQ students’ rights.

The IEU Principals’ Sub Branch made a strong contribution to the NSW Parliament’s Inquiry into Teacher Shortages in 2022, and the branch’s involvement in visiting MPs to convey members’ concerns around staff wellbeing, pay, conditions and respect added gravitas to the ongoing education debate.

In engaging with their school colleagues and wider school communities in 2023, the role of principals and educational leaders requires deep commitment to addressing staff shortages, workload issues and enhancing the status of the profession, all the while maintaining educational integrity for their students.

The IEU acknowledges that huge responsibilities lie at our principals’ doors, and we thank our principal members for their best efforts at this very demanding time.

In a year that has huge potential for change, the IEU looks forward to working with our principal members in 2023 to support them industrially and professionally so they can continue making vital contributions in our diverse educational settings.

Lyn Caton
Principals’ Organiser