Currently any Post Level One Educator in South Africa may be appointed to the position of School Principal with only the basic qualification, i.e. matric and a three-year teaching diploma (REQV 13). As per the Educators Employment Act (1998), the minimum teaching experience required for a principalship range from 3-7 years depending on the grading of the school (P1- 4 for primary schools and S1 - 4 for secondary schools). According to these stipulations, a qualification in management or another form of validation to ensure that candidates have the ability to cope with the demands of the management of a school is not a requirement. The purpose of this study is to investigate the challenges experienced and coping strategies new school managers (school principals) employ to manage their institutions. It also addresses the common challenges and obstacles faced by new school managers. The study was conducted in the Western Cape using a mixed method qualitative approach to investigate the research questions. After the development of the data collecting instruments, data was collected using semi-structured questionnaires and interviews.