Emerging Issues in Formalising Principal Preparation in New Zealand, 7(17)


  • Carol Cardno


This paper presents a background to the New Zealand context, in which pre-employment preparation for the principalship is being shaped, by drawing on international literature and policy responses that identify challenges likely to attend future policy development. It reports a small study conducted to examine the perceptions of practising and potential principals regarding issues related to the formalising of pre-employment preparation. The study found that whilst participants (primary and secondary principals and deputy principals) agree there is concern about the adequacy of preparation and are in favour of some form of compulsory preparation they do not favour restricted entry to the profession based on assessment of potential. Lessons from abroad and close to home in the form of recent recommendations from Education Review Office research indicate that establishment of a regulated environment may well be inevitable. The major issue identified for the profession, the employing boards and for government is formulated as a strategic dilemma that questions whether adequate and compulsory provision can be provided without avoiding a central regulatory feature: selecting candidates for the role. This dilemma demands a strategic consideration of the issues of policy borrowing and the nature of mandated pre-employment preparation for future New Zealand principals.