Principal Update, 27 April 2018
Can principals please pass this update onto all staff in a promotional position.
PPCR focus group participation strongly encouraged
The Promotional Positions Classification Review (PPCR) is a significant program of work, and it is important to ensure that it is as thorough as possible. To ensure this, the QTU strongly encourages all members in promotional positions who have been invited to participate in the PPCR focus groups to take up the offer. Focus groups of principals, deputy principals, heads of department, heads of curriculum, HOSES, and guidance officers will be occurring across the state. These two-hour sessions are extremely important, as participants will be assessing the issues identified as relevant to each promotional position and examining potential options for a future promotional position classification structure.
Please pass on any observations you have of the focus groups, the process, and the outcomes to the QTU. The Union will receive a copy of the final report and participate in some groups, but on-going feedback is valuable in shaping the QTU position. Email your observations to email@example.com with PPCR as the subject.
The most significant outcome for school leaders and heads of program from enterprise bargaining negotiations in 2016 was a commitment to a review of the classification structure for promotional positions and the incorporation of outcomes of the review in future certified agreements. The certified agreement contains the following clause:
“The parties commit to conducting a review of the classification structure of promotional positions (taking into account school complexity and the impact of needs-based funding/staffing) to be completed no later than 31 December 2018. Outcomes of the review will inform the basis of negotiations for a future certified agreement.”
This clause was a major achievement of the final negotiations with the government, and was the government concession that allowed an in-principle agreement to be reached.
A review of the current structure is overdue, as it no longer reflects the levels of complexity in schools and communities that it was intended to, or the developments in roles and education in the 25 years since it was established.
A complete review of a classification structure is a complex process.
There is no doubt that those in promotional positions deserve significant salary increases. The best way to achieve those increases is through a review of the structure, rather than through ongoing tinkering and band-aids.
Higher Duties Directive 18/16
The Union has received a response to a letter it sent regarding the Higher Duties Directive 18/16 (Directive) on 29 January 2018.
The Department of Education has obtained advice regarding the directive and its impact on summer vacation payments, and the letter clarifies the department’s position with respect to the issue and outlines how any adjustments for teachers performing higher duties will be managed. The department has stated the following.
“In accordance with its obligations under the Industrial Relations Act 2016 and the directive, the department’s approach will be as follows.
- The first four (4) weeks of the summer vacation period is considered to be annual leave and will be paid in accordance with clause 13 of the directive. For the purpose of the directive, the department considers that “recreation leave” equates to “annual leave”.
- Teachers will therefore be paid a higher duties amount for the first four weeks of the summer vacation period, if they were being paid a higher duties amount immediately preceding the commencement of the summer vacation, or five weeks in the case of schools with seven weeks’ summer vacation.
- Paid leave during other scheduled school vacations will be paid in accordance with clause 14 of the directive. Therefore, for the remainder of the summer vacation (that is, any period in excess of four weeks’ annual leave, or five weeks where relevant) and for all other scheduled school vacation periods, a teacher will be paid higher duties amount if:
- the teacher performed higher duties for 12 months or longer immediately before the commencement of the period;
- the vacation period falls with the ‘relieving period’.
- If the higher duties arrangement ceases during a vacation period, the higher duties amount will only be payable for the period until the higher duties arrangement ceases. If the higher duties arrangement ceases prior to the commencement of the fifth week of the summer vacation period or prior to the commencement of another school vacation period, the higher duties amount is not payable.”
The letter goes on to explain that the necessary adjustments will be scheduled for payment during May 2018, but information from members has indicated that some adjustments have already been made.
Reference is also given to Union concerns about our members not being treated fairly, and an assurance has been given that local decision making focused on the needs and priorities of local schools will not be compromised with a view to minimising higher duties obligations. If members believe that higher duties obligations are being compromised as a result of these obligations, they should contact the Union.
The QTU Executive is meeting on Monday 30 April and will be considering the department’s approach to its higher duties obligations.
Appropriate and ethical use of public resources policy update
As a follow up from the meeting between the Queensland Teachers’ Union and the Department of Education on 21 March 2018, the QTU met with a representative of the department to discuss a policy evaluation plan for the appropriate and ethical use of public resources policy.
At this stage, a draft policy evaluation plan has been written.
This evaluation will comprise of a survey of stakeholders and targeted focus groups. The QTU is actively advocating for changes to this policy. The policy evaluation is welcome but less than what is necessary. The QTU will continue to pursue the issues involved, as well as providing industrial and legal support to members affected by the policy or its interpretation.
Investigations and discipline
Following a meeting between DoE and the QTU in March, the QTU is pursuing improvements to the process as outlined in this meeting. A further letter has been sent to the department demanding a response next week.
QTU Executive will consider the next steps at its meeting on Monday 30 April 2018.
Education leaders publication
The QTU has recently published a guide for education leaders which will be accessible in the first instance at training provided by the Union. The guide has information specific to school leaders and should be read in conjunction with other QTU publications on timetabling, consultation and EB implementation. Copies of the guide can be ordered at www.qtu.asn.au/order-guides
Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union