I have spoken to many members in the last fortnight, who are already counting the days until the end of term, knowing and hoping that Term 2 will bring with it, a significant step closer to a leadership role that is more closely aligned with the JDF.
Members are being asked to do an extraordinary amount of health-related contact tracing, communication, data input, and technical matters that schools are simply not designed to. Whilst Covid has certainly added to leaders' workload, the long term picture is still not getting any better, as you will see below.
The Australian Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Report
Yesterday saw the release of ACU's Australian Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Report.
In its 11th year, the survey captures data from Principals, Assistant Principals, and Deputy Principals from every sector, state, and territory. In 2021, 2950 leaders participated.
The results are in no way news, or surprising, with rates of Cognitive Stress and Burnout being the highest since the survey started.
Rates of Physical Violence (45.8%) and Threats of Violence (47.9%) in WA were higher than the national average, but more worrying is the fact that they were 11 and 6 times higher than that of the general population, comparative data.
Whilst our Department has taken positive steps to introduce support structures for leaders, the data continues to show the main source of support continues to be partners, colleagues and friends. Social support from external colleagues was the highest it's been in the survey's history.
As is always the case, Meaning of Work and Commitment to Workplace continues to rate very highly. When looking at the bigger picture, this tells us that leaders are highly committed and passionate about the work they do, but simply can't keep doing it with the current workload, external pressures and expectations.
A clear plan is needed, that involves the development of policies that protect leaders, that creates a greater level of support within the community, and that ensures leaders' health and wellbeing is prioritised by both employers and employees. WAPPA will continue to support members' needs and advocate for these necessary changes, such that leaders can continue to be as passionate and dedicated as they always have been, without putting themselves at physical and mental risk. As always, we are here, should you wish to talk about anything.
WAPPA's Communication Strategy
Since starting as President, I have taken every opportunity to engage with members across the state, listening to the positive and constructive feedback and I ensure that this feedback is shared with the Board and Business Centre Team. This feedback and review process is resulting in some changes to the way we do things, but as you all know from your leadership journey, sweeping changes too early are never a good thing! We are continuing to refine what our 2022-2024 Strategic Direction will include, and more importantly, we are trying to bring a greater focus and clarity onto what our core business is, what our 'why' looks like and how to best provide all of our members with the services, support, advocacy and leadership development they seek.
We have placed a significant emphasis on changing our communications, to be more streamlined and timely, allowing us to share things with you more efficiently. This has included WAPPA business, Department information, member celebrations and WAPPA Partner engagement.
In the last few weeks, our Communications strategy has resulted in the following results:
Closed Facebook Group - 633 members (up 26)
Facebook Page - 157 friends (up 21)
Twitter - 889 followers (up 39)
LinkedIn - 291 followers (up 43)
The open rate of the fortnightly update email has increased by 21% this year. As a result of this positive change and increased engagement with members, the Board voted this week, to stop publishing the quarterly WORDS Magazine. We will however be retaining WORDS in a different format and I talk more about this in today's video update.
In spite of ACU's Report and my opening comments, I still continue to feel passionate about the role we play as leaders and the importance of leading with confidence and clarity in uncertain times. It is clearly evident that our members do this on a daily basis and I feel privileged, in some small part, to be able to work with a team who support you in doing so.