QTU nominees kicked off principal selection panels 

On 30 May, the QTU received an email from the Director-General stating that Action 14 of the “Great Teachers = Great Results” plan – the removal of QTU representatives from principal selection panels – was to be implemented immediately.

The Union received no warning of this decision, even though a “Great Teachers = Great Results” implementation stakeholders meeting occurred on Monday 27 May. No mention of this proposal was made at that meeting.

The QTU nominees, all of whom were experienced school-based principals, ensured that there was an open and transparent process and removed the perception of bias. Their removal will have left most panels without a current school-based principal, and in a number of cases, without gender balance.

A number of principal panels had already commenced work, and many QTU nominees, who took their role very seriously, had already invested a significant amount of time and effort, working through the applications in their own time.

The Director-General of Education, Training and Employment indicated in further correspondence to the General Secretary that the decision to remove QTU nominees from panels is non-negotiable.

Why do principal selection panels need QTU representatives?

The QTU believes that selection panellists play a significant role in determining the future leadership of Queensland’s public schools, a responsibility that should not be underestimated.

Until now, selection panels comprised a chairperson, a DETE representative and a QTU nominee and always had to have a gender balance. Selection panels for principal vacancies also include a parent representative, either from the community or from Queensland P&Cs. The QTU has always believed that the community should have a say in the selection of school leaders, but it is also important that there are representatives on the panel who understand the role of the position in differing contexts. All panellists share the same responsibility to ensure this principle of selection is upheld, even though each will bring a different perspective to the task.

QTU nominee panellists helped to ensure that panels complied with the set procedures at all times. Their focus was on ensuring that all applicants were treated consistently, ethically and fairly, providing applicants with confidence that the process has operated as intended.

The government’s decision to remove QTU nominees is bound to lead to a lack of confidence in the recruitment and selection process.

The QTU has always played a critical role in the development of promotional selection procedures and in these panels. Selection panels have included QTU nominees since they were first established in the early 1990s. Before this, the QTU was also significantly involved in the previous inspectorial process for promoting principals in Queensland. In the 1970s and 1980s, a QTU nominee sat on the three-person panel that oversaw the ranking of appraised applicants and the allocation of positions based on this ranking.

QTU members have expressed outrage and disappointment that there will no longer be QTU nominees on these panels. Many members have spoken to the QTU about the level of knowledge and experience that our nominees have provided on these panels and appreciation for the role they have played.

The QTU would like to thank all members who have participated in principal recruitment and selection panels over the years for their hard work, experience and passion.

Paige Bousen
Assistant Secretary – Education Leaders

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