Principals as Literacy Leaders

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

Principals as Literacy Leaders (PALL) was developed by the Australian Primary Principals Association in 2009 and has since run with exceptional success in South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland. The Victorian Principals Association is offering this program to Victorian principals in 2017 in conjunction with the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

The program is based on research findings that demonstrate that successful schools are schools where the principal is a leader in teaching and learning. The program provides a moral purpose and foundation to the directions and actions in a school, namely the improvement of literacy achievement of its students.

Program objectives

  • to examine school and system data for the purpose of evaluating performance and developing plans and strategies for improvement and sustainability of high levels of literacy achievement
  • to lead the design and implementation of literacy improvement in participants’ schools
  • to build a professional learning community for improving literacy in participants’ schools
  • to contribute to literacy development from a system perspective.


An evidence-based leadership for learning framework, that is applied to the project design and implementation, recognises that leaders’ best affect student learning outcomes when they:

  • have an agreed and shared moral purpose
  • plan, monitor and take account using a strong evidence base
  • are active professional learners with their teachers
  • attend to enhancing the conditions for learning
  • coordinate, manage and monitor the curriculum and teaching
  • use distributive leadership as the norm.

Key findings from the pilot project indicated that:

  • there is no turnaround in the achievement trajectory of students without the action of dedicated and talented principals
  • in schools where the principal was a leader in literacy teaching and learning, students demonstrated progress in their literacy achievement levels.

Program outline

The program is delivered by a combination of professional learning modules workshops with follow up activities after each workshop. The follow up activities are undertaken by the principals with their communities with the supported of principal mentors.

Module 1: Leadership for Literacy Learning Blue Print (in this module principals are introduced to a leadership for learning framework which synthesises five recent meta-analytical research reports

Module 2: What Leaders Need to Know About Learning to Read (provides principals with an overview of recent research studies in reading from Australia, the UK and USA)

Module 3: Leading Literacy Data Gathering and Analysis (exploring the usefulness and limitations of different types of data about literacy learning)

Module 4: Designing, Implementing and Monitoring Literacy Interventions (exploring intervention planning processes)

Module 5: Intervention, Evaluation and Future Planning (enables leaders to design and implement an evaluation of the intervention they have planned)

The PALL program will incorporate the elements of high quality professional development that principals require to be leaders of learning in their schools:

  • it will have a clear purpose
  • it will use coaching and mentoring as powerful processes for building capacity
  • it will use current research and provide principals with the knowledge they need to take a lead in learning
  • it will be evidence-based, and assist principals to use school data and context effectively
  • it will use both outside and collegiate expertise – the program will involve tertiary experts and highly experienced principals who have recently retired
  • there will be an emphasis on supported follow up and implementation in the school community
  • the program will enable the participants to learn how to conduct disciplined dialogues with their teachers about strategies that relate to the work they do in their classrooms and engage them in reflecting on their teaching practice.


  • One program of 20 participants will be offered to Victorian government school principals- includes five full-day modules with ongoing support and 10 hours of coaching provided throughout the year.

Location - Victorian Principals Association, Unit 2, 13-21 Vale Street, North Melbourne, 3051

21-23 February 2017 Module 1: Leadership for Literacy Learning Blue Print
22-24 February 2017 Module 2: What Leaders Need to Know about Learning to Read
28 April and 3 May 2017 Module 3: Leading Literacy Data Gathering and Analysis
9-8 August 2017 Module 4: Designing, Implementing & Monitoring Literacy Interventions
31 October and 1 November 2017 Module 5: Evaluating of Intervention & Future Planning

More information

For further information please contact the Victorian Principals Association at: