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Work-related stress contributed to principal’s death – WorkCover

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Brett Henebery | 16 May 2016, 10:58 AM Agree 0
A landmark ruling by WorkCover has concluded work-related stress contributed to the suicide of a Melbourne principal in 2014.
  • A current prinicpal | 16 May 2016, 12:59 PM Agree 0
    The death of Mark Thompson was tragic and should serve as a wake up call the Victorian Education Department. Principals facing significant work related stress are increasingly on work cover and become victims of the Department who fail to maintain contact with those suffering and further add to their feelings of isolation and failure. I hope more is done in the future to support those at the coal face in schools.
  • Dee | 16 May 2016, 02:01 PM Agree 0
    Not nearly enough is being done to address workload, irrelevant paperwork and increased 'evidence' of same. Add to this, uncaring and often bullying 'overseers' and the results can be catastrophic. Mental Health is one thing but what of cancers, heart attacks, obesity, smoking/ drinking etc?
  • Another current Principal | 16 May 2016, 02:12 PM Agree 0
    This is a very sad indictment on the system. The pressures on Principals to achieve results is unrelenting. Principals are judged constantly by data of some sort; attendance, suspensions, academic results, parent engagement, and the list goes on. No Principal wants to admit they are not coping but many are not. To do so only adds to an already feeling of failure and an increase in the lack of confidence in the ability to do the job. Work related stress receives only lip service and causes much distress to many families. Work related stress in Principals is real and I hope something genuine is done for those in need.
  • Yet another current Principal | 16 May 2016, 05:40 PM Agree 0
    It is a tragedy that in service of his school community, Mark was pushed to this outcome.

    My deepest sympathy to Lynda as she grieves every day for Mark's loss. The spouse of a principal carries so much of the burden of the role as well. Her fight with courage to honour Mark shows her integrity and character.

    A balance where principals and teachers are protected from toxic cases needs to be looked at, with these protections built into the system for the good of all involved.

  • A NZ Principal | 17 May 2016, 06:17 AM Agree 0
    It is not just Australian principals facing this issue. New Zealand principals face the same challenges and work loads and yet no discussions are happening around this issue.
  • Current Principal | 17 May 2016, 09:11 AM Agree 0
    The Department's rhetoric is that the new Regional restructure will provide a greater level of support for Principals in their schools. To date this is far from the reality where SEILs are only interested in data collection and bogged down with accountability documents. The delay in responding to the 'real' issues that confront Principals in their schools is staggering. How long must we continue to fight for genuine acknowledgement from the Department that Principal Health be given high priority and action? We have lost too many colleagues already! My partner and I are both Principals and I see daily the toll of work-related stress!
  • Yet another current Principal | 18 May 2016, 09:19 AM Agree 0
    I heartily agree with everyone else. When a vexatious parent makes a complaint, the Department, Region and often the SEIL has decided the Principal's capacity is in question prior to speaking with anyone at the school. The main stress is the lack of support we all face every day. The necessity to complete documentation to an unknown standard and requirements not explicitly mentioned prior to starting the work, makes the administrative side of the position stressful and often unnecessary. Most SEILs to primary principals are male secondary ex-principals who do not understand the work required of teachers in the primary level. Selecting males as SEILs does not represent the number of females who are principals. It is about time female leadership, which is different to male leadership, is valued. Without support at one level or another, all principals could end up extra stressed. After an incident here last year, Region assumed we had done the wrong thing, before even speaking to the school. Those in Regional leadership positions, have not been chosen on merit. Many have been accelerated through the system, and have not real knowledge of the system. They are very busy making sure they look after themselves.
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