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This article reports on data from a qualitative study which explored the reflections of South African primary school principals and the challenges they encountered when implementing and managing the curriculum.Constantly changing educational processes put a great deal of pressure on primary school principals. This study reports the reflections of grade 6 rural primary principals in Mpumalanga province. A qualitative method of inquiry was used in this article, where data were collected using individual interviews with three principals and focus group discussions with the school management teams (SMTs) of three primary schools. The findings show that the techniques used to administer the Annual National Assessments (ANAs) are problematic; the timing of administering the ANAs poses a challenge to principals, as the national guidelines indicating which aspects need to be covered by the ANAs are not distributed to schools. The findings imply a need for greater capacity building amongst principals,as well as further research into continuous curriculum changes in the South African education system.
Keywords: Annual National Assessments, management styles, rural primary schools, transformational leadership,women managers