Central assessment process for selection of 35 principals in NSW public schools

Recently the NSW Department of Education advertised 35 principal positions that were all made available at one time due to the recruitment of principals for the new Director, Educational Leadership (DEL) positions.

The advertisement indicated a variation to the usual staffing procedures for principals, which will be implemented as a trial. Federation has given in-principle support to these changes, pending the outcome of ongoing meetings with the Department to finalise details.

Federation wishes to assure members that the Staffing Agreement continues to apply for filling these positions. A number of vacant principal roles in this trial have already been filled through priority transfers.

Federation sees the modified process for the remaining positions as an acceptance of the union’s long-held view that existing selection processes are inadequate. Federation has repeatedly advocated for significant reform of the current promotions system, which has been largely unchanged for more than two decades.

Under this trial process, which is currently in operation solely for the purpose of filling this large number of principal positions, all candidates will be evaluated by a central “assessment centre” to determine those who have demonstrated the required capacity for performing as a principal in the state-wide public school system. Successful candidates will then proceed to local selection interviews in the schools with vacancies that arise from the recruitment of DELs.

This trial is a move towards the concept that Federation has been pursuing in negotiations with the Department, as per undertakings the latter gave in finalising the current Staffing Agreement. Federation advocates that applicants should meet a standard for promotion at that level in the state-wide system, and that this should be a prerequisite for proceeding to local selection at the school level.

Negotiations with the Department are ongoing, and updates will be provided as documents are finalised and further information becomes available.