Since the 1990s, educational leaders in developed countries have experienced significant change across all educational systems. To date, this momentum for rapid change has continued unabated. Political pressures on schools continue to increase as short term governments expect improvements in educational outcomes in shortened periods of time. Public expectations of performance by schools are intensifying. School effectiveness dominates professional discourse. Learning technologies have expanded. Family contexts have changed and the nature of the educational workforce is dictated by society s economic and social situation. Catholic school principals, in addition to coping with such issues, are also regarded as leaders within the Catholic Church. The religious dimension of their leadership role requires significant faith-based grounding and knowledge about the Church in order to carry out their duties and responsibilities. For beginning principals in Catholic schools, their role is even more complex, demanding and challenging. They not only have to negotiate all the demands placed on them as Catholic school leaders, they also have to grapple with the newness of the role. This paper presents findings from a qualitative research study seeking to identify the professional and personal needs of newly appointed principals in Catholic education in Western Australia.


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