Stellenbosch Policy Brief No. 01/2015
School principals matter for children’s learning – both anecdotal and international quantitative evidence support this. But policy makers often do not pay sufficient attention to the way good school leadership can improve the quality of education. This policy brief summarises evidence from two quantitative studies by the author on the labour market for school principals in South Africa.1 In this brief I describe four features of this market: aging and retirement, long tenure, unequal distribution in terms of qualifications and experience, and unreliable indicators of quality. I explain how an understanding of these features can inform and support policy for school principals.