The deputy principalship is one of the least understood roles in the schools of the restructured education systems of Australia. Little attention has been given by educational policy makers, academics and researchers as to how the deputy principal should contribute to the essential functions of the self‐managing school. Uses the research literature to identify the traditional role of the deputy principal and the factors which have constrained the evolution of the role. Assesses the effects of current policy initiatives for the deputy principalship in Australian education. An emergent facet of the role is proposed which gives greater emphasis to educational leadership in an administrative team. The failure of practitioners to make use of opportunities to reconceptualize the deputy principalship will marginalize the role to the central functions of the self‐managing school.
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