Leading the Self-Transforming State School
Brian J. Caldwell is Managing Director and Principal Consultant at Educational Transformations and Professor Emeritus at the University of Melbourne where he served as Dean of Education from 1998 to 2004. This paper was presented in an invited keynote address at the Inaugural Professional Learning Conference for Principals on the theme ‘ConnectED – Staying Connected’, Crowne Plaza, Terrigal NSW, 4 April 2014.
It is difficult to name any field of endeavour where there is not currently a call for transformation. School education is no exception, with transformation defined as significant, systematic and sustained change that secures success for all students in all settings.Change on this scale will not be secured by incremental change or trying harder to do things the way they are currently done. Change on this scale calls for significant, systematic and sustained innovation.There have been far too many constraints that have prevented innovation and hence transformation from flourishing, leaving us with a host of seemingly intractable problems for which schools are frequently blamed. Most importantly, as a result of these constraints, we are shackling principals and other school leaders and short-changing students when it comes to preparing them for success in the 21st century.These are major themes in my recently co-authored book The Self-Transforming School (Caldwell and Spinks 2013) from which I shall draw in suggesting a way forward. I shall also set my remarks in the context of school reform in New South Wales, the Australian Professional Standard for Principals, and the fact that all that we have written about has been drawn from self-transforming schools in Australia and around the world.