Within an era of seemingly ever-increasing school accountability to both Federal and State jurisdictions in Australia, the impact of such requirements has received little attention in the literature. This research project was designed specifically to investigate the impact of compliance requirements on school leaders’ workloads.

The literature reviewed finds that detraction from the key role of leading teaching and learning due to spending so much time on compliance requirements leads to disenchantment with the role of the principal and is a leading contributor to why so few aspirants are pursuing a career as a principal.

Eleven semi-structured interview questions were developed and analysis of the data revealed three broad themes: the use of resources required to meet compliance; the perceived value of the request for compliance; and, the impact of compliance on the independent nature of the school, educational leadership and personal cost.

The findings not only have implications for current school leaders, but also undergraduate and postgraduate course structures, particularly in educational leadership units, as the nature of the demands revealed in this study should be considered within course content.

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