Slade Group’s 2023 Australian School Education Leaders Sentiment Index paints a powerful picture of education in Australia, and its opportunities for evolution and innovation.

Curated from in-depth surveys and interviews with 60 independent and public school leaders, it offers an incredible insight into the attraction and retention needs of Australian school leaders.

Among the key themes to emerge from the research was the importance of collaboration – in all its forms.

For Melbourne Girls Grammar CEO and Principal Dr Toni Meath, the disruption of the pandemic years has created a real appetite for further collaboration and shared learnings to plot a roadmap for the future of education.

As she notes: “Bringing students, their families, our school stakeholders and the wider community along on our journey is vital.”

For fellow principals and other leaders, the spirit of collaboration was broadly reflected in a range of survey findings, including:

  • Three quarters of respondents want to mentor or coach a colleague in their next leadership role.
  • Most respondents want to mentor or coach up-and-coming teachers within their school communities.
  • Education leaders emphatically support schools that listen, with intent, to the opinions, thoughts and ideas of students.
  • They further value a school that listens to opinions and suggestions from other stakeholders, such as parents, teachers, students and the wider school community, and believe they shape the students’ experiences.

Elsewhere in the survey, Dr Meath and other principals share their optimism about the education sector, about meeting the needs of students and about developing future leaders.

“We’ve never been in a better position to adapt, innovate and grow to meet modern-day demands,” she says.

Meanwhile, while remuneration has been identified as a significant driver for the wider teaching profession, the index found this to be less so for education leaders.

In fact the principals reported in the study all referred to their profession as a “calling”, one where they respond favourably to opportunities to develop through professional learning, and through mentoring and coaching.

They flourish in, and are attracted by, respectful school and community cultures that emphasise a strong voice and influence by all stakeholders.

These are the key drivers for leaders looking to grow their careers in education.

Perhaps these elements are similar across other professions too?

Read the full report on the Slade Group website and download your copy of the 2023 Australian School Education Leaders Sentiment Index.