Media release: Emerging Canberra public school leaders inspired to take the lead

Future education leaders from Canberra public schools, celebrated their completion of a world-class school leadership program at the National Portrait Gallery today.

Facilitated by internationally recognised education experts, the ACT Aspiring Leaders Program is a partnership between the University of Melbourne and the ACT Government that aims to build knowledge, skills and leadership attributes to support student, and system improvement.

Professor John Hattie, from the University of Melbourne, said that the program empowers participants to lead transformations in their schools by using evidence-based approaches that have a high impact on student learning.

“The greatest influence on student progression is having highly expert and passionate school teachers and leaders working together to maximise the effect of their teaching,” he said.

“The program has a strong focus on applying research and evidence to practice. Participants apply what they learn directly into their school environments to make real improvements.”

The opportunity came at a good time for Mitch Bartholomew, an Executive Teacher at Richardson Primary School, who stepped up into a leadership position last year.

“My research project allowed me to focus on instructional coaching and work with teachers to build capacity. This is an important part of my role and the direction that the school is heading in, and the program helped make this a real priority.

“It was also rewarding to get out of day-to-day school operations, and talk with other leaders outside of my own school about how we can have a bigger impact on student learning,” he said.

“There is so much great expertise within the Canberra public school system, and the program used this to help develop the next crop of leaders. I really benefited from the opportunity to network and bounce ideas off other school leaders.”

The program included a range of professional learning days, a targeted research project within participant’s schools and a strong mentoring system.

Minister for Education and Training Joy Burch said that each participant was supported by two mentors: a local principal or deputy principal within the Canberra system, and an academic mentor from the University of Melbourne.

“It’s great to see our aspiring Canberra public schools working together, with leading academics, to further build our already high performing schools and staff,” Ms Burch said.