Term 1, 2017

Welcome to 2017 and the first edition of FLARE, the QTU e-newsletter dedicated to issues relevant to pre-service teachers and teachers in the first three years of their careers.

Firstly, congratulations to those of you who have gained employment with DET for the first time! The journey you are embarking on can seem daunting, but remember, wherever your career takes you, you can be sure that the QTU will be there, walking beside you.

In this edition we discuss:

  1. probation and provisional registration
  2. the beginning teacher mentoring program (MBT)
  3. the DET interview process for rating purposes
  4. a wellbeing and retention study.

Remember, the QTU is always here to support and assist you. Your first point of call should be your school based Union Representative. QTAD can also assist in providing information and support with your enquiry via 1300 11 7823 or qtad@qtu.asn.au

Another source of information is the QTU website www.qtu.asn.au, where you will find information brochures, current issues, training opportunities and so much more. The website also has a directory of QTU Officers available to help.

Have a fantastic term 1, 2017.

Probation and provisional registration

What is probation? All new permanent employees of DET are required to undergo a period of probation upon appointment. The process involves formal induction and supervision with the aim of satisfying the employer as to your suitability for continuing employment.

Timelines. For teachers, the probation period is set at eight months. A decision on whether to confirm you in your position or terminate your engagement must be made before the end of the eighth month (for those appointed at the beginning of the year this will be immediately prior to the September school holidays).

What happens during probation? At the end of three months of service, your supervisor (the principal) will carry out a performance review, which is recorded on the applicable form. If there are areas of concern, an agreed action plan for improvement will form part of this record.

The actual induction and monitoring process will vary from school to school to reflect the individual needs of each workplace.

A formal appraisal will be conducted by the end of six months of service. This will result in a recommendation of either confirmation or termination of employment.

What is provisional registration? To teach legally in Queensland you need provisional registration, which is granted on completion of an approved teacher qualification through the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT). This allows you teach for up to two years. At the end of two years of successful teaching you will be granted full registration by the QCT.

Timelines. Full registration may be granted after a year of successful full-time teaching (or 200 days).

To learn more, read the QTU information brochure “Beginning to teach (probation, provisional registration and induction)”

The Mentoring Beginning Teachers (MBT) program

The aim of the program is to allocate funding to better support identified mentor teachers and new educators in their first year of teaching.

You can access information regarding the program via the DET LINK, which includes relevant information and the associated funding mechanism and nexus.

While the funding is relatively new (and very welcome), the programs being run in schools are not. Every state school in Queensland is obligated to undertake an appropriate program to support teachers new to the profession who are appointed permanently or on longer term contract/temporary engagements.

Schools determine this program in consultation with mentor teachers and beginning educators to ensure the program meets need at the particular school. The intent of the funding is NOT to invent entirely new programs for beginning teachers and their mentors BUT to allow an enhancement of current programs being undertaken. Examples of enhancement to current programs include, but are not limited to:

  • providing in-school time for mentors and new educators to meet
  • reducing new educators workloads
  • allowing professional observation during school hours
  • accessing professional development during school hours.

Two areas of concern which are constantly raised by QTU members regarding the program are:

  • examples of best practice (or lack thereof)
  • transparency in the use of the allocated funding.

The QTU is in discussions with DET to determine appropriate mechanisms to ensure transparency in the use of the allocated funding provided to schools for the program and also reporting of best practice. The QTU will keep members informed as information comes to hand.

As a new educator, if you have concerns regarding the program being run at your school, in the first instance speak with your school Union Representative. If there is no Union Rep at your school, contact the QTU via qtu@qtu.asn.au

Read the QTU fact sheet “School based mentoring”.

Update regarding interview processes for rating purposes

There are many and varied myths circulating regarding the interview process for rating purposes. DET have commenced a review of the process (the QTU has been consulted and will continue to have input), and the current state of play is as follows.

  1. Regions determine needs based on discussions with educational leadership teams.
  2. Regions obtain information via the Queensland Teacher Applicant Centre regarding graduates, temporary teachers and other applicants who meet their specific region’s need.
  3. Regions contact applicants to arrange an interview for rating purposes (this can be done via Skype or teleconference, dependent upon the region and where the applicant resides)
  4. An interview does not mean that an applicant will be granted employment. For example, there may be four applicants who have been identified for one position. The successful applicant will be the one who best performs in the interview process.
  5. All elements of the interview process have equal weighting. It is important for all applicants to understand what is required as part of this process. Learn more at DET’s “Make a difference teach” website)
  6. An applicant cannot appeal their allocated ranking, but they can appeal a breach in interview process. To learn more, see the QTU brochure on suitability rankings.

The above process means that only applicants who meet DET needs will be granted an interview for rating purposes. This has been the case since 2013.

If you are not granted an interview for rating purposes, this does not prevent you from undertaking supply or short term contract work. If a school wishes to engage you in a contract for more than one term, you must be given the opportunity to interview for rating purposes. This is to ensure that suitable teachers are in front of children in all state schools. If you have been working on contract at the same school for more than one term, speak to your Union Representative. If your school does not have a Union Representative, contact the Queensland Teachers’ Assist Desk (QTAD) at qtad@qtu.asn.au

If you are a graduate teacher and are commencing work with DET for the first time in 2017 then this research project is for you!  

A study titled “Supporting the wellbeing and retention of beginning teachers” is being conducted by Professor Paula Brough from Griffith University. This study will inform DET of current trends amongst new educators and ultimately look at how the employer can better assist new educators to transition into working life. 

For further information regarding the study and contact details of the research group if you would like to participate, click here.  

The QTU is a co-sponsor of this study and we encourage our associate student members who meet the criteria to engage with the study.

 Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union