The role of the Educational Leader: Perceptions and expectations in a period of change

Alma Fleet
Macquarie University

Rod Soper
Thinkers.inq

Anthony Semann
Lorraine Madden
Semann & Slattery

At a time of rapid pedagogical and policy change in the Australian early childhood educators’ professional context, little is known about the experience of the evolving Educational Leader role. This position is currently mandated in educational settings for young children, but at the time of writing, both the perceptions about the nature of the role and expectations of such a person, were unclear. This paper reports on a study across two geographical regions which contributes to the knowledge base of the unfolding of this role in the prior-to-school early childhood sector. Based on surveys from 206 people in the ACT and NSW in 2012, information collection was followed by a series of intensive workshops designed to facilitate understanding of the role and of the processes of educational change. Data from the survey and from these 41 workshop participants from diverse organisational and geographical settings enable greater insight to the issues, complexities and potential of this important role in the educational and policy landscape as well as the realities of workplace experiences of Educational Leaders. This paper has a focus on survey responses as affirmed through contributions by workshop participants; the actual enquiry projects undertaken by participants as part of the workshop initiatives are not included in the current paper. Despite contextual differences in responses, it is clear that expectations of the Educational Leader are high, appointment processes are constrained and role definition needs relevant local clarification.

Australasian Journal of Early Childhood —Volume 40 No 3 September 2015

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