3 School Leadership Trends for 2021

As we head into the halfway mark for 2021, it’s time to check in with all the educational leadership trends that were predicted by experts and researchers to be big news in 2021 and beyond. This week on School Stream, we’ve been to every corner of the education internet to see what is making waves in the leadership field so far. You won’t be surprised to see that the upheaval of 2020 has had a significant impact on school leadership trends. 

Lead the way in school communication with School Stream. Keep reading for our exploration of school leadership trends or see how we can help you

But first, thank you

School leadership matters. You will find a great principal behind every school with consistent academic results and a tangible culture of positivity. To say education leaders are crucial to the success of a school can only be described as an understatement. It’s not the easiest job out there, so to those doing the critical work of leading schools, we applaud you.

1. Wellbeing Leadership

COVID-19 has touched on almost every aspect of our lives, and education is no different. So it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that Wellbeing Leadership is dominating discourse when it comes to leadership trends in 2021 – and this is particularly true when talking about educational leadership. The benefits of embracing a wellbeing mindset are many: Leaders who focus on the wellbeing of their staff tend to have better relationships with their team and are more likely to act in a way that encourages higher job satisfaction and workplace wellbeing. In a school context, this means supporting teachers, something school leaders are already across. We all understand the implications of a highly stressed, demotivated teacher, so it’s important we get school staff wellbeing right at every level. And this includes wellbeing for school leaders too. Remember the old adage about fitting your own oxygen mask first? 

2. The triple bottom line

What is the triple bottom line? In short, it’s a popular idea in business that emphasises the equal importance of social, environmental and financial results. What does this have to do with schools? Recent research has shown that “Australians see accountability, ethicality and creating social value as highly important for education institutions”. While this research is focused largely on tertiary education, anecdotal evidence from our recent experience with the pandemic suggest that Australians already believe schools do a good job on this front. Schools, after all, with their core business of educating and preparing students for the life beyond academia, are well placed to serve the public good. And there is a strong case made by researchers that the very purpose of educational leadership can be described as being as, and for, public good.

3. Nurture your workforce

The trend of nurturing your workforce is very much tied into the idea of teacher wellbeing. If you value your team and want to keep them, now is the time to tell them. Ideally, if you are in a position to implement any further changes that will contribute to feelings of wellbeing that will in turn keep them happy and engaged teachers, this is an opportune time to put plans in motion. Nurturing your team to greatness (or as it stands in 2021, wellbeing) has been around for eons, so why is it gaining traction right now? It seems people are exploring their options after the stress of last year. This is leading to high levels of internal migration that will see people moving from cities to regional areas – which is great news for regional schools who can sometimes struggle to attract staff, but is also leading to high turnovers in a profession well known for challenges in staff retention. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed our round up of education trends to watch this year. It will be interesting to see what trends emerge in the coming years, and which of those we have explored today are here for the long haul.

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