Recently I, along with 2 colleagues, were nominated by our network of schools to meet with the Minister of Education to chat over a few concerns our colleagues wanted us to raise.
We raised a number of points that he had heard before and his genuine response was that we needed to reduce the level of bureaucracy schools and therefore principals encountered but be sensible and take back or reduce some mandated compliance issues like asbestos inspections (currently principals are responsible for this).
We did raise processes where a few complaints were made by or about the small percentage of vexatious or litigious parents present in communities. Principals feel they are at the short end of this stick. I have felt this a few times over my career (18 years as principal) even taking the issue/s to Court.
My point in writing about this is that increasingly I see my recently appointed colleagues embroiled in issues like this with seemingly little system support. Don’t get me wrong here – often these new principals don’t seek initial support either for fear of perhaps not wanting to be seen as incompetent.
Its a complex issue one often not dealt with at induction. Don’t get me wrong the vast majority of parents are wonderfully supportive. Sure they have occasional “beefs” but these are sorted out at a meeting or by a phone call. One percent of cases mentioned above consume vast amounts of emotional and physical energy often derailing the “real” work of making learning engaging and worthwhile for young people.