The health and well-being of Australian primary school principals are being neglected by their bosses, according to a new report commissioned by the Australian Primary Principals Association which surveyed more than 2,600 principals around the country at government, independent and Catholic schools, Ninemsn says.
Author Dr Kathy Lacey described the role of a primary school principal as relentlessly intense and said it was important they be given the opportunity to "mentally refuel".
She said surveyed principals indicated they needed employer-funded counselling services and those services should be better publicised because principals were turning to private counselling services for help.
A number of principals also said they wanted employer-paid sabbatical leave to study new trends in education rather then increased annual or long-service leave.
"Overall, it is ironic that schools emphasise pastoral care, yet this care doesn't appear to extend to the principal," Dr Lacey said.
"Where counselling does exist, most principals say they don't use it because it is not independent and either staff or their direct supervisor will see them undertaking it, and thus the rumour mill may start."
The report showed Catholic primary schools provided the most support for principals, followed by government schools, with independent primary schools offering the least help.
Association president Leonie Trimper said the report showed principals faced serious work-related problems that could affect their professional duties.
"Clearly, this report shows there is an urgent need for many employers to review the support services and resources available to principals," Ms Trimper said.
School principals' welfare neglected (Ninemsn, 15/8/07)
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Australian Primary Principals Association