School Principal Recruitment

School principals play vitally important roles at Canberra public schools. Principals manage and lead their schools, ensure the needs of students are met, engage their school communities and build community partnerships.

There are three main ways principal positions are filled:

  1. Advertised vacancy (permanent)
    available to existing and prospective employees (For current vacancies, see: Typically, eligibility requirements will include a minimum of four years full time tertiary study leading to the award of a recognised school teaching qualification, current professional teaching registration with the ACT Teacher Quality Institute, and a current registration issued under the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act 2011.
  2. System placement (permanent) – transfer at level
    This allows the Education Directorate to ensure that all schools have appropriate leadership. The need for system placements will be managed on a case-by-case basis and will be considered in a limited range of circumstances such as: principal wellbeing, work health and safety, the current context of the school or the inability to recruit a suitable candidate. Generally, system placement will only be considered after other methods of achieving a satisfactory outcome have been exhausted. The Director-General holds the delegations for all system placements.

Temporary vacancy- transfer at level or with Higher Duties Allowance. This occurs for operational efficiency and often allows aspiring school leaders to develop their capacity and demonstrate their capabilities. The School Improvement Branch periodically calls for Principals and Deputy Principals to nominate if they are interested in temporary principal (or Director School Improvement) vacancies. This list (as well as substantive School Leader B) is considered when short term vacancies arise. See the

  1. For more information
    Where vacancies arise, every effort will be made to appoint, promote or transfer staff on a permanent basis to minimise the length of temporary positions/arrangements. Factors influencing the timeliness of principal recruitment may include status of the nominal occupant of the position i.e. long-term leave/unanticipated leave, temporary transfer, timing of principal career planning conversations and/or whether the position requires review for any number of reasons. It is recognised that certainty of placement is particularly important at the end of one school year moving into the next year.

    To clarify the arrangements for principal appointments at a particular school or schools, please call HR Business Partners on the hotline 6207 9772.

    Further information is available in

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