Queensland Teachers' Journal, 19 July 2013, Vol 118 No. 5, p9

Area meetings unanimous in concern over "Great Teachers = Great Results"

Since the release of the state government’s “Great Teachers = Great Results” (GT=GR) plan, the QTU has been very clear that notions of performance based pay, contracts for principals and the removal of QTU panellists from recruitment and selection panels are not acceptable.

During the last few weeks of term two, the QTU held a series of area meetings across Queensland to consider members’ response to “Great Teachers = Great Results”. The meetings were attended by over 1,000 members, and all resolutions with respect to “Great Teachers = Great Results” were carried unanimously.

Among other things, the meetings resolved:

  • to condemn the state government for its lack of prior consultation with the QTU on the major educational reforms introduced since it came to power
  • to call on the government to commit to the Gonski funding reforms
  • to insist that the government begin meaningful negotiations with the QTU around any proposed changes to education
  • that if the government failed to meaningfully negotiate and consult with the QTU, members be balloted on industrial action during term three.

The plan is purely designed to pit teacher against teacher, principal against principal and school against school.

It fails to recognise the significant work that QTU members already do on their professional and personal development. It fails to recognise the complexity of the environments in which QTU members teach. It fails to recognise the collegial nature of teaching and the cross-sectoral and intra-school support that teachers provide each other. "Great Teachers = Great Results" clearly demonstrates this government’s failure to understand schools and what teachers do in them.

The plan is designed to invest $535 million in programs of “teacher quality”. The programs include the establishment of contracts for principals and deputy principals, the introduction of performance based pay, changes to how experienced senior teacher is accessed and the roll out of further Independent Public Schools. The QTU questions just how these programs could influence teacher quality.

Additionally the plan will require that principals or deputy principals should hold an additional qualification or higher degree in a relevant field, and should they transition to a contract, the attainment of such a qualification is necessary for the renewal of this contract. It is interesting that the additional qualification is to be in a relevant field, examples of which include business or commerce. GT=GR seems to be show that the government is no longer concerned about ensuring that our school principals remain educational leaders.

The continued failure of this government to recognise the QTU as the professional and industrial voice of teachers is evidenced in the removal of QTU representatives from principal selection panels (see page 19).

It would seem that this is a government determined to implement its ill-conceived schemes without recognising the agreements that govern members’ working conditions – agreements that this government has signed.

It is imperative that the government learn that teachers and school leaders will not be silenced. Nor will teachers and school leaders accept ill-conceived plans that do nothing to benefit students. The government would do better to invest the money for this plan into schools, providing students with access to additional resources developed to best support their needs, and let teachers and school leaders do what they are trained to do – educate students.

Kate Ruttiman
Deputy General Secretary