When I was a kid I thought the school principal’s job just involved giving speeches at assemblies and walking around saying hello to people. If only. As a new study shows, school principals in Australia work an average of 56 hours a week and are stressed about not having enough time to devote to teaching and learning.

Researchers at the Australian Catholic University have been surveying Australian school leaders about their wellbeing every year since 2011 – the longest-running survey of its type in the world. The findings in their most recent report, released today, paint a worrying picture about the people in charge of Australian students, staff and schools.

On top of the workloads, almost half of those surveyed have experienced violence in their workplaces, and more than half have been threatened with it. As one respondent told the survey: “I have been ground down by the almost constant negativity, nastiness and violence within our community.”

Against this backdrop, it’s hardly surprising some 56% of those surveyed are seriously thinking about quitting. This is a huge problem, not just for the people involved but for the schools they lead and an education system trying to retain teachers and expertise.

As authors Paul Kidson, Herb Marsh and Theresa Dicke write today: “The challenge from this year’s report is stark and immediate: an exodus is potentially on the horizon.”

Judith Ireland

Education Editor

‘I have been ground down’: about 50% of Australian principals and other school leaders are thinking of quitting

Paul Kidson, Australian Catholic University; Herb Marsh, Australian Catholic University; Theresa Dicke, Australian Catholic University

A major survey of Australian school principals finds they are copping abuse from parents and students on top of huge workloads. Many experienced leaders say they might leave the profession.

Aged care workers have won a huge pay rise. What about the cleaners, cooks and admin staff who support them?

Matthew Xerri, Griffith University

Most of the indirect care workforce will only see a pay rise between 3% and 7%.

Grattan on Friday: Australian PMs did OK under Trump Mark 1. Could Albanese manage Trump Mark 2?

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

Kevin Rudd received gratuitous comments from Donald Trump this week, leading the opposition to try score political points. But the question remains how Albanese will manage a possible Trump Mark 2?

Building remote Indigenous homes well is hard, but they won’t cost $1.5 million each

Liam Grealy, Menzies School of Health Research

Much of the $4 billion to be spent over ten years will go into maintenance and the preparation of blocks. It will also build Indigenous employment and Indigenous skills.

A major report recommends more protections for LGBTQ+ students and teachers in religious schools. But this needs parliament’s support to become law

Sarah Moulds, University of South Australia

The federal government has just released a long-awaited report about anti-discrimination laws and religious schools in Australia.

Almost a third of Australia’s plant species may have to migrate south if we hit 3 degrees of warming

Julian Schrader, Macquarie University

Our plant species are pickier about their preferred temperature range than you would expect. That means many will have to move south, seeking cooler climes.

From Taylor Sheesh to The Smyths: why tribute acts can no longer be considered just cheap copies

Colin Outhwaite, Edith Cowan University

Perth has had as many as five tributes to Oasis in recent years. As large concerts get more expensive and inaccessible, tributes will become even more important.

Attempts to access Kate Middleton’s medical records are no surprise. Such breaches are all too common

Bruce Baer Arnold, University of Canberra

If it can happen to a future queen, it can happen to you. Maybe it already has.

Treatments tailored to you: how AI will change NZ healthcare, and what we have to get right first

Arindam Basu, University of Canterbury

As New Zealand readies itself for AI-assisted medical treatment targeted to individuals, officials need to ensure the benefits outweigh the risks.

Prestigious journals make it hard for scientists who don’t speak English to get published. And we all lose out

Henry Arenas-Castro, The University of Queensland

A study of 736 biological science journals showed only a small fraction are making efforts to foster a multilingual scientific community.

Friday essay: ‘A prisoner on the rack’ – how 19th-century Australian women wrote about marital rape

Zoe Smith, Australian National University

At a time when women had limited rights, writers found ways to raise the issues of coercion and control.

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