Information for first-time principals

These resources focus on helping you to begin your role as a school’s educational leader.

Deputy principal in office.

School principals lead and manage multiple and complex responsibilities. 

They are expected to improve the quality of teaching and learning in their schools in an environment in which change is constant.

Beginning principals support

Support is available to all beginning principals. The programme is run through Evaluation Associates. View their website for information and contact details:

Support for beginning principals

Information on this website

Use the links below to find some of the guides and articles on this website that can help you with management tasks:

Guides for managing your school

Leadership dilemmas

Education and the law

Leading staff

Presentations to first-time principals

University of Auckland Centre of Educational Leadership (UACEL)

Many presentations to first-time principals are available on UACEL on Vimeo. These include:

Surviving your first principalship, Linda Bendikson (2012)

The leader as evaluator, John Hattie (2011). Three videos:

Effect size and leadershipExpectations and target-settingSeeing learning through the eyes of students

Evidence-based leadership, John Hattie (2009) 

Further information

Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership

Leadership scenarios

Videos exploring six challenges for new school leaders. 

Other articles

New support on its way for beginning principals – Education Review, April 2017

Asks two leadership advisors what they think the main challenges are for beginning principals. 

The principalship: First-year hurdles – ASCD

Reflections of a new US primary principal on common challenges and how to respond to them.

Supporting a principal's first years on the job – ASCD

Looks at transitioning into a principal role. Includes a list of common emotional conflicts.