24 January 2014

In this issue: Changes to principal recruitment and selection | Communication of employee information | Performance review update | Great Teachers = Great Results | QTU: 125 years of achievement | QTU App | Other announcements

Changes to principal recruitment and selection

As outlined in the QTU Principal Update of 10 December 2013, the Department of Education, Training and Employment (DETE) is implementing a new recruitment and selection process for principals in 2014. 

We strongly recommend that members who are interested in relocation contact the Queensland Teachers’ Union (QTU) so that we can provide them with appropriate advice and support.  

The QTU has developed a number of resources and these can be accessed on the Education Leaders’ section of the QTU website. In addition, this Principal Update provides links to an overview of the new process, as well as changes to the relocation process for principals. 

If you have any questions with regards to recruitment and selection processes, contact Paige Bousen (Assistant Secretary – Education Leaders) on 3512 9000 or email services@qtu.asn.au

Communication of employee information

The QTU met with DETE on 8 January 2014 to discuss the development of an appropriate policy to ensure that relevant employee information is being communicated between regions when a relocation is being processed, without damaging employees' right to privacy.

The meeting followed the release of the findings of a recent inquest by the office of the State Coroner, which prompted the Deputy State Coroner, to make the following recommendation in December:

"I RECOMMEND that the department in consultation with appropriate stakeholders (such as the QTU), develop an appropriate policy, procedure or guideline that provides staff with clear direction on information concerning their medical, mental health, rehabilitation and grievance history that should and can be communicated or which can be communicated with their consent (and if relevant, information that should not be communicated), when staff are being considered for transfer or relocation, to enable regional staff (either at a HR level and/or other sections of the administration and/or the vacancy review panel) to better place employees to best fit the needs of the employee and the school and to determine if any particular level of support is needed."

The QTU wrote to DETE before Christmas about the recommendation.

The QTU will continue to keep members informed as this policy is further developed.

Performance review update

On 13 December 2013, the QTU met with departmental representatives in relation to matters related to teacher and principal performance reviews.

In these discussions, the department stated that there is currently only one new performance model in existence - a draft model pertaining to principals - and that there will be no performance review trial/pilot in relation to Education Queensland employees without the agreement of the Queensland Teachers’ Union.  This is a welcome development.

Contrary to what has been stated by some DETE officials, the QTU had not previously consented or agreed to changes in performance review models.

The QTU and the department have committed to meeting to negotiate the performance review model early in 2014.

As advised on 2 December 2013, the directive not to nominate for or participate in any pilot or trial of a teacher and/or school leader performance review that is not agreed with the QTU remains in place.

An additional directive was given on 6 December:

QTU members employed by the Department of Education, Training and Employment are hereby directed not to participate in any DPF processes* that differ from those used in 2013 with the exception of the use of the Australian Professional Standards of Teachers as agreed through the DETE/QTU joint statement.

*Refer to DETE/QTU joint statement and QTU Newsflash 30-13, 26 November 2013.

If members become aware of any revised performance processes or it is suggested that their school is to become part of the pilot/trial of the new teacher and principal rankings, they should contact the QTU immediately.

Great Teachers = Great Results 

In November 2013, Members voted overwhelmingly to support industrial action should the government attempt to implement any of the Great Teachers = Great Results plan’s unacceptable elements, including performance appraisals, bonuses and contracts for principals and deputy principals.

The five motions and results can be found by clicking here

While it is a new year, the motions endorsed by members are still in force.  If the government or department acts unilaterally on the elements of the Great Teachers = Great Results plan rejected by members in the ballot, the QTU will issue directives for industrial action.

The QTU will provide more information as developments occur.

QTU:  125 years of achievement

The QTU marked the 125th anniversary of its foundation on 9 January 2014 with a reception at the Brisbane City Hall.

On that day in 1889, 24 delegates from across Queensland created the Union at a conference at the School of Arts in Brisbane, laying the foundations on which was built a professional trade union representing the industrial and professional interests of 43,000 teachers and leaders in state schools and TAFE.

2014 provides an important opportunity to celebrate the many successes of the QTU and its members over the past 125 years.  A few of the many achievements include:

  • legal defence scheme (1906)
  • public service superannuation (1913)
  • first award for teachers in Australia (1917)
  • equal pay for women teachers (1967)
  • the first compulsory teacher registration system in Australia (1975)
  • reduction in class sizes from 36 in 1974 down to 28 at present in years 4-10 and 25 in other classes.

For more information on the 125th anniversary and the Union’s history, visit the QTU website. The March edition of the Queensland Teachers’ Journal will be a special edition celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Queensland Teachers’ Union.  

Keep in touch with new QTU App

The QTU is in the final stages of registering a QTU App in the iTunes store.  It will be downloadable for free and will also be available for Android devices.   The app will provide another way to keep in touch with Union and education developments.

Other announcements

There were a number of major announcements affecting schools over the summer vacation:

  • a review of the Australian Curriculum announced by the federal government
  • DETE’s response to the Review of Service Delivery conducted by KPMG (which The Courier-Mail referred to under a headline “Education chiefs’ fail mark for school system”)
  • The Queensland Government’s response to a parliamentary committee’s report on assessment methods in senior maths, physics and chemistry.

 The QTU is analysing the documents and seeking further information to provide advice to members.  The QTU will also be responding and coordinating member responses on each of these issues.  More information will be provided as it becomes available.

Graham Moloney                 Paige Bousen
General Secretary            Assistant Secretary – Education Leaders