The event

The event

The Principal For A Day ‘shadows’ the school principal, and participates in normal day-to-day activities in a primary, special or secondary school.

The principal and the Principal For A Day discuss the challenges and current issues each is facing in their leadership role. Other activities on the day usually include a tour of the school buildings and site; and discussions with students and teachers.

The forum

The forum

All Principals For A Day and their host principals, and other key leaders in education and business, are invited to the Principal For A Day Forum to share their leadership experiences, observations and knowledge.

The relationship

The relationship


Independent research has found that the day shared by participants in Principal For A Day is mutually beneficial for schools and participating Principals For A Day.

Principal For A Day is a valuable and rewarding experience for participants, and many Principals For A Day and schools continue their relationships on a voluntary basis. Results to date include professional learning exchanges, curriculum development, careers advice, job offers to students, industry and work experience visits, two-way mentoring and sharing of ideas and resources.

Benefits for school principals

Benefits for school principals

  • Acquire new insights on leadership from successful leaders in other spheres.

  • Showcase the school to significant business and community leaders.

  • Develop ongoing relationships for the school and its students.
Benefits for business and community leaders

Benefits for business and community leaders

  • Increase knowledge of the issues facing schools and the work they are doing.

  • Share ideas and perspectives on leading complex and innovative organisations.

  • Add value to their own organisation through participation.

I am interested in my school participating in Principal For A Day 2019

I am interested in being a Principal For A Day in 2019

I was thrilled to be invited to attend the 15th annual Principal for a Day Forum, and to come away with clear awareness that it is still a highly valued and effective way of building relationships between schools and the wider community.

Mary Cahill, founder Principal For A Day in Australia

Principal For A Day® will return in 2019.

Program features

Participants from diverse backgrounds and geographical locations are able to share their leadership experiences, observations, networks and knowledge.

Individualised matching process of each business or community leader and school principal based on particular interests, individual areas of expertise, immediate organisational priorities and geographic location.

Comprehensive information kit, including biographical and organisational profiles, briefs matched business or community leaders and school principals about each other’s background and priorities.

Forum participation for all Principals For A Day and school principals, as well as key leaders in education, to share experiences, discuss observations and propose ideas for further action.

About Principal For A Day®

Principal For A Day® commenced in Australia in 2001 and has been managed by ACER since 2006. It is currently operating in state primary, secondary and special schools in Victoria and is funded by the Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) through the Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership. Expressions of interest from other education systems in joining the Principal For A Day program are most welcome.

Principal For A Day® in Australia is modelled after the program of the same name developed by PENCIL (Public Education Needs Civic Involvement in Learning) in the United States. ACER acknowledges the generosity of PENCIL in allowing the use of their materials.

Principal For A Day is a very important program, and all business leaders should be encouraged to participate. It gives a real insight to the challenges we face in helping all students realise their potential, and what we as business leaders can, and must, do to help.

Michael Ullmer, Director Lend Lease, Director Woolworths

Mission and aims

The mission of Principal For A Day® is to increase and strengthen partnerships between schools and the community.

Principal For A Day® aims to:

  • Increase understanding and awareness between schools, business and the wider community
  • Promote the great work that schools do
  • Provide business and community leaders with first-hand and current experiences of schools
  • Enable school principals to develop on-going relationships with leaders from other spheres
  • Increase opportunities for schools and the community to work together in mutually beneficial ways


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