Despite the Andrews government’s significant and welcome investment in school infrastructure over the past four years, there is still considerable investment needed and much more work to be done. Managing this work should not be the burden of our principals and assistant principals, as is currently too often the case.
Central to the AEU submission to the Victorian parliament’s public accounts and estimates committee (PAEC) inquiry into managing school infrastructure was our argument that ‘schools and therefore principals should have less formal responsibility and fewer expectations placed on them around managing school
assets not more, with the DET taking greater responsibility’.
It is unreasonable for principals to continue to be expected to plan and manage school infrastructure under the current model. While there has been some mandated DET training in the context of the accountability required of them, this has been limited, and effectively takes the attention of school leaders away from their more
fundamental responsibilities, not least educational leadership.
Of greater concern is the impact upon the workload of principals and assistant principals. The excessive workload of school leaders is well documented, with principals working an average 60 hours per week.
The continued expectation that principals can be largely responsible for developing, implementing, and managing a plan for the development and general maintenance of school buildings and grounds is not reasonable in the context of the enormous roles and responsibilities outlined in their contracts.