Principal Update 27 June 2019
Strike called for 18 July – Important information for school leaders
This Principal Update includes important information with regards to the proposed strike action planned for 18 July (Thursday of week 1, term 3).
As previously advised to QTU members in the Members Newsflash sent on 25 June:
All members of the QTU employed by the Department of Education are hereby directed to stop work for a period of 24 hours on Thursday 18 July 2019.
Attached to this newsletter are two important documents for school leaders:
Contained within these documents is a sample letter which can be used to advise parents of school arrangements on the day of the strike action through letters home to parents and caregivers.
Notice should be given to parents/caregivers of the industrial action to allow parents sufficient time to make suitable arrangements as soon as possible but no later than 48 hours before the strike day. This means that parents should receive the letter no later than 15 July 2019.
The industrial action can be averted if the government provides an acceptable offer that addresses the four key priorities of the QTU claim. However, in the circumstances of an acceptable offer not being made, the strike will proceed.
What constitutes an acceptable offer?
The offer must:
- establish a new classification system for promotional positions.
- provide conditions that assist in mitigating workload
- take steps to address gender employment inequity
- increase salaries so that they are at least comparable to higher paid interstate colleagues
School holiday rally
QTU members who are in Brisbane over the holidays are encouraged to take part in the rally being held at 9am on Wednesday 3 July at Queens Gardens, Brisbane.
After ongoing discussions with the department about the advantages and disadvantages of the different models, there has been a focussing in on a modified version of Option Three (as provided in the department’s PPCR Report) as a basis for a new classification structure
The QTU and the department are still working through the matter of parity between primary and secondary sectors, as well as an issue at the top end of the classification structure and salaries being limited by the salaries of assistant regional directors and regional directors.
The QTU strongly believes that salaries for our members in promotional positions should reflect the work that they do, and this is a priority in the discussions with the department.
QTU member feedback following central office behaviour roadshow
The QTU has received feedback from members with concerns following their participation in the central office behaviour roadshow. In particular, they have reported concerns with suggestions that the QTU supports of changes to behaviour management policy, including school disciplinary absences.
This is just not true. The QTU does not support changes to the behaviour management policy, as we believe it creates a significant workload impact on school leaders. We have sought changes for school leaders, including the ability to delegate certain behaviour management functions to other classified officers. The department has advised that this did not comply with the current legislation, the Education (General Provisions) Act, and could not be reflected in policy. The QTU has called for a change to the legislation as a matter of priority.
QTU Deputy General Secretary Kate Ruttiman has written to Assistant Director-General, Bevan Brennan, to reiterate the QTU’s position, and to request that this be made clear to members during the roadshow.
We have advised that the QTU will continue to use behaviour management directives in schools to support QTU members.
Key issues of concern that require attention under a legislative review include:
- refusal to enrol
- student code of conduct: delegation of exclusion and student disciplinary action to school leadership positions inclusive of the principal, deputy principal and heads of campus
- student code of conduct: delegation of advice to parents and students regarding student disciplinary actions
- student code of conduct: detentions.
Prior to the roll-out of the new procedures, the QTU has requested that fact sheets and advice be developed as a matter of priority regarding the role of the school in relation to cyberbullying, including what is “inside” and “outside” the school gate.
The QTU also sought clarification of the intent of the Reducing and Eliminating Restrictive Practices in School procedure and the use of this terminology. The department advised that the title reflects the recommendation from the taskforce that schools should eliminate the use of restrictive practices where they can and reduce them as much as possible when they cannot be eliminated. The Union and other stakeholders asked for this to be made clear in the communication of this procedure.
Exit summary and observation report (ESOR):
The QTU has received feedback from school leaders questioning its support for this new process and the workload implications for school leaders.
The QTU does support a process which provides principals’ feedback on prospective new teacher employees’, particularly in the absence of the suitability rating process for graduate and interstate/overseas applicants.
The ESOR team is inviting feedback on the process and is committed to streamlining processes in schools. It is currently investigating ways to streamline the reporting process, particularly when contracts are extended for teachers. The training package and documentation will also be streamlined.
Teachers continuing with concurrent contracts in schools only require 1 ESOR.
The lesson observation process should also be incorporated into other established school practices, such as collegial engagement in classrooms and annual performance development processes, so as to minimise workload.
Where appropriate, the principal can delegate the ESOR function to other classified teachers in their school.
Where a substantive vacancy exists, it should be filled with a permanent teacher. In many cases, long-term vacancies can also be risk-managed by the region. Principals should be in discussion with regional HR to discuss filling vacancies with permanent teachers thus eliminating the need for this process and maximising permanency for QTU members.
Instrumental music teacher/instructor work-to-rule:
The QTU acknowledges the support school leaders and their local communities have provided to our members employed as instrumental music teachers/instructors and who are working-to-rule. The directive is in nine parts and was developed following a process of consultation with our instrumental music teachers/instructors that included two separate ballots at the end of the 2018 school year. The work-to-rule directive can be viewed on the QTU website.
The QTU is proud of the action that our members are taking to draw attention to the Department of Education’s decision to change the practice of instrumental music teachers/instructors without consultation. The QTU is committed to seeking a resolution to the matters highlighted in the work-to-rule directive and will continue to negotiate with the department, as well as work with individual members and their school leaders.
Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union
21 Graham Street,Milton, QLD, Australia, 4060