Last updated 30 May 2013

Independent Public Schools: Q & A

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Q1 : Last year the QTU recommended that schools did not submit an expression of interest in becoming an Independent Public School. What is the position of the QTU this year?

Answer (click to expand)

A. The QTU has released a position statement with regards to increased school autonomy. This position statement is reproduced below:

Increased school autonomy position statement

The Queensland Teachers’ Union is aware that the majority of educational research has not established a causal link between increased levels of school accountability and improved student learning outcomes.

The QTU understands that some Queensland state schools may wish to utilise varying degrees of autonomy of school governance and accountability, as proposed in initiatives such as Independent Public Schools.

The QTU supports schools that wish to exercise increased school autonomy, within the following parameters.

  • Schools wishing to move to models with higher degrees of school-based management and decision-making should do so only after a thorough process of consultation with and approval by the school community, including endorsement by the local consultative committee. The following outlined process should form the basis for any consultation taking place in the school.
    1. Discussion with principal about whether they are considering submitting an EOI to become an IPS.
    2. If the principal is considering becoming an IPS, propose a consultation strategy to be carried out in the school.
    3. After the meeting with the principal, call a meeting of all union members (QTU, United Voice and Together) to discuss the proposed IPS consultation strategy. At the end of the meeting with all union members, hold a meeting of QTU members to consider a motion endorsing the consultation strategy.
    4. If all union members endorse the strategy, meet regularly with the principal to discuss any issues or questions arising during the consultation process.
    5. Request that the draft EOI form and written application be provided to all union members with QTU IPS material.
    6. Before the EOI form is submitted, hold a secret ballot of all QTU members to vote on whether the school should become an Independent Public School, with other unions conducting their own.
    7. If the ballots of all unions are in favour of becoming an IPS, then final endorsement by the local consultative committee should occur.
  •  Funds that are allocated to the school for staffing must be used for the employment of staff.
  • Notional allocations for staffing should be used, rather than real dollar allocations to schools for staffing. 
  • All state schools should remain a part of a continuing, viable transfer system for classroom teachers and relocation system for classified officers. 
  • Where schools move to a model of governance incorporating school councils, the role of those councils will focus only on broad strategic direction. 
  • The government retains responsibility for funding of specific systemic imperatives, eg. workers compensation, workplace health and safety requirements. 
  • School decisions and actions are compliant with existing industrial agreements and conditions within certified agreements or established memoranda of agreement. 
  • Any scheme must be the subject of negotiation and agreement between the QTU and the Department of Education, Training and Employment, and the agreement must be in an enforceable form.

Q2 : My school is considering submitting an expression of interest in becoming  an Independent Public School.  Is there a process that should be followed?

Answer (click to expand)

A. Schools considering joining the Independent Public School program in 2014 should do so only after a thorough process of consultation with, and approval by, the school community, including endorsement by the local consultative committee.

To help schools with the consultation process, the QTU has developed an Independent Public Schools Consultation Kit. Embedded in this document is the “QTU increased school autonomy position statement”, as well as a copy of the draft IPS memorandum of agreement (MOA). Once the MOA has been signed by both parties (QTU and DETE), the QTU will send a copy to Union Representatives.

If schools have any questions about the consultation process, they should contact the Queensland Teachers’ Assist Desk on 1300 11 7823, email or contact their local QTU Organiser.

Q3 : Where can I find out more information about Independent Public Schools?

Answer (click to expand)

The QTU provides information regarding Independent Public Schools on its website

The department has produced a series of fact sheets that can be found on OnePortal. 

If you can’t find the information you want on the QTU website or from the department’s fact sheets, contact the Queensland Teachers’ Assist Desk on 1300 11 7823, email or contact your local QTU Organiser.

Q4 : Is it true that Independent Public Schools will have “first pick” of transfers, and with year 7s going into high schools in 2015, IPS principals will also have “first pick” of teachers transferring from primary to high school?

Answer (click to expand)

A proposal is currently with the regional directors seeking their support for allowing teachers applying for a transfer in 2014 to identify Independent Public Schools as a preference.  If approved, this will allow teacher transfer applicants to indicate Independent Public school locations as a transfer option.  IPS principals will be able to select from this list of transfer candidates if they wish.  There is no requirement for Independent Public Schools to accept teachers on transfer as part of the annual transfer process.

Q5 : If a teacher transfer applicant indicates Independent Public School locations as a transfer option, does the IPS principal get the option to choose the applicant before the regional process of teacher transfer occurs?

Answer (click to expand)

Before transfers are finalised, the IPS principal will indicate to the region which (if any) transfers he/she wishes to consider.  In most cases, the region will facilitate the request of the IPS school.

Q6 : Teachers in Independent Public Schools will not receive forced transfers even if they haven’t complete non-preferred service.  Is this true?

Answer (click to expand)

Teachers appointed directly to Independent Public Schools are still required to comply with non-preferred service requirements.

Q7 : We have heard that principals of Independent Public Schools in a region are provided with the list of identified teachers who the region wanted to target for non-preferred service.  What level of influence does the principal have with regards to the identified teachers and these teachers then receiving letters identifying them for transfer and non-preferred service?  Does the principal get complete say, some input or no say?

Answer (click to expand)

The IPS principal, in consultation with the local region office, may identify teachers who can be released on transfer as they have not worked in a non-preferred location. These teacher would be available to undertake non-preferred service at any location across the state identified as requiring their skill set and capabilities.

Q8 : If a school opts into the transfer system, do they have to take inbound and outbound transfers?

Answer (click to expand)

All staff at IPS schools retain the right to lodge a transfer application and seek an outbound transfer.  IPS schools may elect whether to receive inbound transfers or not.  There is no requirement for IPS schools to accept inbound transfers, even if teachers transfer out of their location.

Q9 : What is the exact interplay between regional office and Independent Public Schools?  Is there a list of areas on which IPS schools have to work with the region and another list of areas where they communicate directly with central office?

Answer (click to expand)

Regional offices provide operational support to IPS schools. Central office provides policy and strategic support around the IPS initiative. Two fact sheets were published on the department’s OnePortal site providing further detail on the role of regional and central office in relation to IPS schools:

  • “Independent Public Schools – the role of regional and central office”
  • “Procedural changes for Independent Public Schools”.

Q10 : Is there any information about Independent Public Schools and school autonomy in other states that I can read?

Answer (click to expand)
  • The Australian Education Union has provided a research report titled “Devolution and Education”. It provides an overview of the impacts of devolution on education. 
  • The Curtin Report provides an examination of Western Australia’s Independent Public Schools that was initiated in 2010.