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Case study: The benefits of Certified Practising Principal accreditation (CPP)

ACER news 4 minute read

One of our newest Certified Practising Principals, Helen Jamieson, found professional certification invaluable to her school's strategic planning work.

For Helen Jamieson, becoming a Certified Practising Principal (CPP) has resulted in a new schoolwide approach to strategic planning. The Corinda State High School Executive Principal achieved the certification in December last year after reading about CPP in The Australian.

‘I’m always looking for growth and I liked the approach this took,’ Ms Jamieson said.‘It demonstrates that we walk the talk,’ she said. ‘It’s really important for principals to be able to undertake disciplined reflection and to look at the whole process and the action planning cycle and how useful it is. I think it strengthens your skills and it shows that the work we’re doing is credible, it’s not ad hoc – it’s considered, it’s planned and it’s responding to what the evidence is telling us.’

Helen Jamieson, Executive Principal, Corinda State High School, Qld

CPP is an independent, professional certification for principals who have demonstrated high standards of educational leadership by lifting school outcomes. Certification enables principals to further their professional practice, hone their leadership skills and become thought-leaders in the education sector.

The benefits of self-reflection

Ms Jamieson has been a school principal for 25 years, and this is her 14th year at Corinda State High School in Brisbane’s western suburbs. With an enrolment of 2100 students and a large ESL population, literacy is the main challenge at Corinda.

As part of the CPP process, applicants must submit two reflection papers demonstrating through validated evidence significant improvements achieved in their work as a principal.

Ms Jamieson’s papers described improving the school’s reading agenda and literacy performance and improving the delivery of teaching in classrooms.

‘The process certainly gave me an opportunity for more disciplined reflection to review practices and strategies for strategic planning,’ Ms Jamieson said. ‘In our roles as leaders, I think we don’t dedicate enough time to that in our jobs.

‘It really made me stop and examine our thinking around the strategic planning and execution within the school.’

Following her successful completion of CPP, Ms Jamieson has started 2020 with a fresh outlook and is busy implementing new initiatives in the school.

‘We’ve embarked this year on a very thorough strategic planning process to make sure we have success profiles for everything we’re doing over the next four years,’ she said. ‘It has reinforced that need to be very strategic in our thinking and in our actions, and how we enact culture change within the school in order to keep improving and keep abreast of change in education.’

Ms Jamieson said: ‘Basically, we’re developing a whole leadership framework within the school to hold us to account for our strategic planning, so we can measure targets and make sure our evidence is a result of the work we do.’

Ms Jamieson said she would love to see principals formally encouraged to complete CPP accreditation as part of ongoing professional development growth plans.

‘It’s good evidence of the work that’s going on in schools,’ she said. ‘Our academic work is just as important as our day-to-day work. It’s a skill we all need to be able to possess in order to lead our schools in a strategic manner.

‘I learnt a lot about myself from the process and about myself as a leader. I think to be a highly effective leader, you need to be good at that.’

Like to know more?

Are you a principal looking to take your leadership to the next level? The certification process is designed by the profession, for the profession. To find out more, please go to www.certifiedprincipal.org.