26 November 2013    No. 30-13

Don’t be misled – reject the introduction of teacher rankings by stealth

QTU members employed by the Department of Education are hereby directed not to volunteer for or participate in a pilot/trial of teacher and school leader performance appraisal/ranking process for 2014.

Despite the overwhelming rejection of notions of teacher and school leader rankings performance bonuses and contracts for school leaders by QTU members, it has become apparent the government is determined to implement teachers and school leaders rankings, even if this means doing it by stealth.

The government is currently seeking school and QTU members to be trial/pilot schools for the teacher and school leader performance appraisal process in 2014. Some employees of DETE have suggested that this is by agreement with the QTU.

This statement is false. The QTU does not support a proposed performance appraisal model that includes ratings/rankings for school leaders and teachers that undermines the collegiality of the profession and relies on student achievement data to allocate this ranking.

The QTU has not agreed to any performance development process other than the Developing Performance Framework (DPF) or Principals Capability and Leadership Framework (PCLF). It is important that QTU members reject process that differs from these agreed models.

Members should not be misled into engaging with processes that do not reflect the DPF or PCLF. It has been brought to our attention that members in schools are being presented with developing performance templates that do not reflect the process agreed upon between the department and the QTU under the auspices of our enterprise bargaining agreement.

While it is appropriate for teachers to give consideration to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers [APST] in developing performance reflection, planning and conversations, the following things ARE NOT REQUIREMENTS of the developing performance process as agreed between the department and the QTU:

  • There is NO REQUIREMENT for teachers to undertake a ‘self-rating’ in relation to the APST. 
  • It is NOT APPROPRIATE for a supervisor or line manager to give a rating in relation to APST
  • Classroom observations and collegial engagement are valuable professional development activities, however THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT for classroom observations to occur as a part of the DPF process. In fact, rather than being a part of the process, these most appropriately arise as a result of the process. That is, a teacher identifies classroom observation as a support or professional development activity.

The developing performance process HAS NOT CHANGED. The Queensland Teachers’ Union HAS NOT AGREED TO CHANGES AND HAS NOT ENDORSED ANY NEW ADDITIONS TO THE PROCESS.

QTU members are encouraged to provide the QTU with copies of any new annual review or DPF documentation they are presented with, so they can be advised as to whether it complies with the agreement.

QTU members are encouraged to revisit the following joint statements, as these represent the only agreed positions regarding the Developing Performance Framework.

Is what we are being asked to do really the DPF?

Below is a quick checklist for members to determine if implementation is in accordance with the agreements between the QTU and DETE.

1.  Has the model to be implemented been the subject of consultation at the school level?

NB. The QTU/DET joint statement states that “[u]nlike traditional supervisory models of performance appraisal, the framework supports group, team, collegial and mentoring approaches to the process of developing performance. These approaches are recommended …”

2.   Does the model provide a process that covers all three of the following aspects?

  • Key work tasks for the period of the agreement and expectations of employees.
  • Activities towards furthering employees’ career goals.
  • Support or professional development necessary to support the achievement of work and career goals?

3.    Does the model involve a genuine negotiation of objectives that takes account of workload of individuals/teams and the school’s capacity to provide necessary resources?

4.    Has the model to be implemented (including structure, the timing of any meetings etc) been considered and agreed (by consensus) at the local consultative committee (LCC) or in accordance with the Consultation Processes for Small Schools?

NB. If consensus cannot be reached, the dispute will be referred to negotiations between the QTU and DET.

5.   Have staff and team leaders received induction on the DPF and its processes as part of the implementation?

There are, of course, many more detailed issues. Unless the answer to each of these questions is “yes”, the DPF is not being implemented as agreed.

Some examples of implementation that are not in accordance with the agreement would be:

  • a model imposed without consultation or consensus agreement at the LCC
  • a process that doesn’t include all three aspects of the second question above (if it doesn’t include all three, it is not the DPF and doesn’t have to be implemented)
  • objectives imposed without negotiation
  • objectives that are not supported by adequate resources, whether material, time or professional development (if necessary resources are not available to pursue an objective, then it is not a legitimate objective)
  • unrealistic expectations or objectives that lead to work intensification
  • a model that includes teacher rankings/ratings.

The DPF is supported by the QTU and DETE as a positive form of performance management based on the supported and ongoing development of teachers’ skills, knowledge and performance throughout their careers. It provides teachers with the structured opportunity to nominate career goals and to negotiate support for work tasks and those career goals, as well as the protection of an agreement that the process is not to become a process of work intensification.

These are legitimate industrial and professional rights of Queensland teachers which will remain as long as Queensland teachers assert them.

What to do?

If you believe that the implementation of the DPF is not in accordance with the agreement, you should raise the issue with your school Union Rep

The Union Rep may wish to canvass other staff before raising the issue with the principal. The local QTU Organiser should be notified of the problem and advice sought if necessary. If the issue cannot be resolved at a school level, the QTU Organiser should be advised so that further steps can be taken to ensure that the agreement is implemented properly. This may involve a vote to suspend the DPF until such time as a settlement can be negotiated with DET.


Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary,
Queensland Teachers' Union,  21 Graham St,  Milton,Q.4064