School principal


Also known as:

  • Headmaster/mistress

What they do

School principals oversee the planning, organisation, direction and coordination of the day-to-day educational and administrative aspects of a school. They are often responsible for hiring new staff, including teachers and support staff, as well as setting the educational program, based on the curriculum set out by the Western Australian government. They also set up systems to monitor and improve school and student performance. These workers prepare and manage school budgets, and may also oversee additional fundraising activities, often in conjunction with parent groups. In some schools, the principal may also be responsible for the clerical and administrative duties involved with student enrolments and have some teaching duties.

Specialisations include: Middle or Intermediate School Principal, Primary School Principal, Secondary School Principal

Working conditions

Principals work in all Western Australian schools, including public, catholic and independent schools. They usually work regular teaching hours, but are expected to work additional hours to attend staff meetings and undertake administrative tasks and, in some cases, prepare for classes. They may also be required to work additional hours to take students on excursions or camps, or to attend assemblies, graduations or other school functions. They frequently have a high level of contact with the public, often acting as the school's representative in the community and sometimes meeting with prospective students and their parents.

Tools and technologies

Principals use computers and other general office equipment to carry out general administrative duties. Those with additional teaching duties will need to use textbooks and other subject specific learning aides. Some principals may use microphones and other audio equipment to make announcements to the school, either at school assemblies or over a school PA system.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a school principal, you usually need to study a degree in primary or secondary education. Alternatively, you can study a degree in any area followed by the completion of a postgraduate qualification specialising in primary or secondary education.

Most school principals will generally have significant experience in teaching before progressing to a school principal role. You may also be required to complete further postgraduate studies in education.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Required registration and licensing

To work as a school principal in Western Australia, you will need to obtain registration with the Teacher Registration Board of Western Australia (TRBWA). You will need to obtain a Working with Children Check (WWCC) from the Department of Communities and undergo a National Coordinated Criminal History Check (NCCHC) conducted by the Department of Education Screening Unit.