- Why did the QTU sign up for this?
- What are the timelines for implementation?
- How much money will my school get?
- Who will determine how the money is spent at a school level?
- Why is it so important that there is a fully functioning LCC in an NP School?
- What happens at the end of the four years?
- What is the Department’s commitment to maintaining the additional resources at the end of the four years?
- Will there be any incentives for teaching staff including incentives for Heads of Programs and Deputy School Leaders?
- How will being in an NP School affect my entitlements and working conditions?
- What does it mean by an individual teacher performance agreement?
- What if I don’t want to work in an NP School?
- Why is the NP School principal receiving an additional $20,000 per year when there are no incentives for me?
- What does it mean by the principal having up to 10% discretion in staffing?
- What is in my principal’s performance agreement?
- If the principal has greater autonomy – what can they direct me to do?
The QTU has not “signed up” to the NPAs. The NPAs were signed by the Queensland Premier without any consultation with the Union.
The QTU is currently working with the Department on how key elements of the NPAs might be implemented.
The QTU has formally requested consultation with the government with respect to the NPAs since February. The first consultation that occurred was on 28 April 2009. However, the QTU did not receive the draft “Preliminary Implementation Plans” until Tuesday, 21 July 2009.
Formal consultation around the “Final Implementation Plans” occurred on Friday, 21 August 2009.
Prior to any of these consultations, the government had committed Queensland teachers to the National Partnership Agreements. However, negotiations regarding any of the suggested reforms have been minimal.
The QTU has to date agreed to three NPA matters:
- the conditions for teachers and co-ordinators in summer schools;
- the position description for numeracy and literacy coaches; and
- the recruitment and selection processes for National Partnership Schools (NP School) principals.
The Union acknowledges that the contribution of the Federal Government to support reforms in Low SES schools supports the QTU’s Meeting the Challenge campaign.
The QTU, therefore, will work with schools to support them in establishing reforms that might be sustainable, and that will provide for the first time in Queensland schools the ability to demonstrate the value of needs-based resourcing.
It is the Union’s view that the government would pursue the implementation of the NPAs with or without the QTU’s support. Therefore the Union has repeatedly requested participation in the discussions around the NPAs to ensure the protection of the industrial and working conditions of members.
Recruitment for Phase 1 and 2 principals has already begun. This involves 45 state schools. Once these principals are appointed to the schools, the school will need to have its implementation plan developed by November this year.
The remaining 86 state schools will be part of Phases 3 and 4.
Phase 3 commences in July 2010 and Phase 4 commences in July 2011.
The funding for the NP Schools from the National Partnership Agreements will run for four years.
The total federal funding each school receives is standard across the phases and is based on 2009 day 8 numbers.
The Federal Government has allocated $1000 per student in an NP School. However, the Queensland Government is retaining 20% of this funding. Therefore each student number is allocated $800 per annum or $3,200 over the four year agreement.
This is a fixed amount and independent of future enrolment growth. This means that if enrolments grow in 2010 the school will only receive the funding based on 2009 enrolment figures.
In addition to the federal funding, Phase 1 and 2 schools will each receive $13,000 per annum over the life of the NPA to assist in implementing reforms.
Phase 1 and 2 schools will also share:
- $3 million for additional teacher-aide hours;
- $3 million per year over three years targeted at Low SES schools in the Logan region; and
- $2.1 million in new funding for 2008/2009 to support strategic initiatives in low SES schools.
With respect to any reforms that utilise the additional funding, but do not also use existing staffing allocations, the principal must consult with the Local Consultative Committee (LCC) about these reforms but will have the final decision-making authority.
Any reforms using existing resources will be subject to the current LCC processes and will need to be referred to the Education Consultative Committee for approval of the proposed reforms.
Following the EB arbitration, the QIRC will issue a determination that will vary some workplace reform processes. These variations do not have any industrial enforceability until the determination is issued and LCC processes as outlined in the Department of Education and Arts Teachers Certified Agreement 2006 will remain in force until that time.
The NP School will receive additional funds to support reforms in their schools.
Any reform that is proposed that will impact on work practices or working conditions is required to be considered by the LCC.
When the arbitration of the EB is finalised the QIRC will issue a determination. The determination will contain alternative workplace reform processes and school-based management guarantees for NP Schools.
In order to ensure that QTU members are consulted about the proposed reforms in their schools, LCC representatives will need to be actively engaged in the reform process and be aware of their roles and responsibilities as QTU representatives on the LCC.
If the Federal Government does not extend the current NPAs, then funding for the implemented initiatives will expire.
Consequently any reforms created using NPA funding will need to end, unless the school can demonstrate their sustainability using other school funds.
This will mean any incentive schemes or new positions created as a consequence of the NPAs will cease as the funding ends.
However, the end of the funding does not guarantee a teacher appointed under an NPA will be transferred from the school or that the school leader will be relocated. At the end of the four years, teachers in an NP School convert to the same arrangements as teachers in other schools.
7. What is the Department’s commitment to maintaining the additional resources at the end of the four years?
Currently the additional resources that will flow to the NP School over the four years of the implementation are federally funded. If, at the end of the four years, this funding is no longer available there is currently no commitment from the Department to continue to fund the NP School reforms.
The issue of sustainability of reforms is one of the primary criticisms by the QTU with respect to this National Partnership Agreement.
8. Will there be any incentives for teaching staff including incentives for Heads of Programs and Deputy School Leaders?
One of the performance objectives of NP School principals will be the development of an incentive scheme for staff.
The QTU does not support localised incentive schemes for teachers, but instead believes that a centrally funded and administered scheme of teacher incentives should be in place.
Currently the Low SES schools NP HR Working Party is investigating the types of incentives that may be available to teachers including monetary incentives as well as HR incentives such as “boomerang” transfers or “preferred” placement transfers.
The funding for such an incentive scheme will be determined based on what “teacher incentives” the NP School elects to offer.
Teachers working in an NP School will have access to all of the entitlements and working conditions contained in the Certified Agreement and Teachers’ Award, including standard hours of duty and access to leave. Teachers will also have the same capacity to request or appeal transfers as teachers in other schools.
Similarly, Heads of Programs and School Leaders will continue to be eligible to apply for relocations and promotions on merit while working in an NP School.
The Department has expressed a view that it prefers that leave taken by NP School principals should be minimised. However, the QTU has informed the Department that NP School principals must retain their leave entitlements and leave will be granted subject to departmental convenience as is current practice.
The individual teacher performance agreement will be that developed using the Developing Performance Framework (DPF).
The QTU has supported the roll out of the DPF in the current certified agreement. However, until such time as the current agreement is replaced by the determination of the QIRC the current arrangements for DPF as prescribed by the current certified agreement prevail.
If you do not wish to work in an NP School then you have the same rights to apply for a transfer as all teachers in Queensland.
However, being in an NP School and not wanting to continue to work in a school because it has become an NP School does not guarantee a transfer/relocation to another school.
If you have serious reservations about working in an NP School, then you should discuss your desire to transfer/relocate with your principal. However, transfer/relocation from an NP School is currently not guaranteed.
12. Why is the NP School principal receiving an additional $20,000 per year when there are no incentives for me?
The QTU believes that all staff in an NP School should receive incentives as the achievement of the performance targets will require the commitment and effort of everyone at the school – not just the school principal and will continue to work with principals and the Department in order to develop such a scheme.
The Queensland Government determined that it wanted “highly skilled”, “high-performing” principals in NP Schools. Principals in these schools will be the subject of an employment agreement that will require them to develop their own performance agreement with targets and outcomes that must be met. They will also receive an annual bonus of $20,000 and a completion bonus of $20,000 at the end of the four years. These bonuses will not be considered salary for superannuation purposes.
The decision regarding incentives for principals was made by the Queensland Government in the absence of any consultation with the Union. The QTU’s preferred incentive model for principals is that incentives should be paid on a sliding scale depending on size and complexity of the school.
The Union has attempted to have the current NP School principal incentive scheme changed. However, as the decision was made by the Queensland Cabinet prior to any discussions with the QTU this has not been possible.
Instead the QTU has received a commitment that NP School principals’ incentives will be the subject of review prior to the commencement of Phases 3 and 4.
The Principal will have the capacity to appoint up to 10% of the teaching staff. This may occur through the teacher transfer process/relocation process or direct appointment.
Currently, investigations are occurring around the establishment of a process for NP School’s similar to the Partners for Success (P4S) Schools, where teachers looking to apply for a NP School would be required to complete an expression of interest outlining the skills and study they have to support their appointment to these schools.
Principals will also have the capacity to identify teachers for transfer. These transfers (unless requested by the teacher following a discussion with their principal) would be required transfers and would be subject to the required transfer provisions of the Teacher Transfer Guidelines.
The principal’s performance agreement will be based on the attainment of the achievement targets which the Principal will set in the school’s four year plan.
Copies of the performance agreement will be made available to staff and will include the following indicators:
- Percentage of students achieving the national minimum standard for reading and numeracy on NAPLAN;
- Mean scores of students for reading and numeracy on NAPLAN;
- Percentage of Indigenous students completing Year 10;
- Proportion of young people participating in post-education or training six months after leaving school;
- Average student attendance rate;
- Apparent progression rates;
- Percentage of Year 12 students completing a SAT or awarded QCE, IBD and/or VET qualification; and
- School Opinion Survey data.
The autonomy of principals is more about the expenditure of the additional funds and the appointment of staff to the school.
An NP School principal has no greater authority than another school principal.
Your rights as a teacher/Head of Program/Deputy School Leader as prescribed under the Teachers Award State 2003 and the current agreement continue if you are in an NP School.
Condolences to US community
Tragic news continues to come from Moore, Oklahoma, where young children have died at Plaza Towers Elementary School, which was in the direct path of a tornado. As President Barack Obama has said, these children lost their lives in one of the safest places they knew – their school. The thoughts of 44,000 QTU members are with the devastated community.
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