Teacher transfer and relocation pilots
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 124 No 5, 5 July 2019, page no. 18
Arising from the 2019 review of Independent Public Schools, the Union was able to negotiate both a teacher transfer pilot and a relocation pilot for school-based promotional positions. This article provides members with an update on the progress to date of the two pilots.
Teacher transfer pilot
The teacher transfer pilot has been implemented in conjunction with the 2019 teacher transfer process.
To be eligible for the pilot teachers had to:
- be in a TR4-7 school, have completed minimum service requirements for the school and have 20 or more points
- list at least two geographic preferences (if they were in an AMP community)
- list at least three geographic preferences (in all other communities)
- be capable of teaching at least two subject areas, neither of which are to be phased out (secondary teachers only).
If the transferring teacher complied with all four criteria (primary and special) or five criteria (secondary) they will be guaranteed a transfer. If they do not comply with at least one of the criteria, they will not be guaranteed transfer and may wish to have their application considered in the normal transfer process. All teachers who met criterion 1 were sent an email and invited to participate in the pilot.
The department has committed to case managing the teachers in the pilot. In 2019, these case managers are in addition to the regional staffing officers and will be in regular contact with the pilot participants.
The applications for the pilot opened and closed on the same dates as the annual teacher transfer process. Teachers were encouraged to lodge their applications as early as possible as they would be processed and managed as soon as they were received. Early lodgement also would help the department to meet its deadline of having these transfers finalised and teachers notified by 31 July. Other teacher transfer applicants not in the pilot will receive their transfers on the last Thursday of term three.
During the pilot, the QTU has been made aware of the following concerns, which have been communicated to the department.
Teachers with a large number of points being forced to list three geographic areas when only one should be required. Some of these teachers have decided not to participate in the pilot and instead lodged a normal transfer application.
Teachers believing that the only way to obtain a transfer was to participate in the pilot, e.g. a teacher may only want to list one geographic area. This teacher cannot participate in the pilot, but in some cases it has not been made clear to these teachers that they can still lodge a transfer application in the annual process.
The QTU continues to meet regularly with the department and to provide feedback about the pilot. Teachers who have any concerns about the pilot or the general transfer process should contact the QTU for further advice.
Classified position relocation
The pilot of changes to the relocation process is now in effect and operating across the state.
The pilot was developed in response to the 2018 evaluation of the IPS system and is trialling changes to the department’s recruitment and relocation processes for classified teachers (including heads of school and heads of campus, excluding principals). The Independent Public Schools Strategic Directions Steering Committee (IPSSDSC) flagged some early concerns with the early trends, pointing out that:
- there were very few relocations
- very few eligible applicants have been considered or successful
- there was a large backlog of “pending” decisions on the merit/relocation decisions for positions (at the time of printing, 32 relocations remain in the ‘pending’ status)
- there was a small reduction in the pool of applicants carried over from 2018 or the target pool of relocation applications for the pilot
- there was increased pressure on promotion panellists given the growth in the number of positions being considered.
Several barriers have been identified as causing some of the issues:
- the lack of response from eligible applicants to request for CVs
- repetitious requests for expression of interest from some applicants
- narrow preferences for relocation (single school/single position) from applicants
- slow rate/deliberate delay of notification of vacancies by schools.
The IPSSDSC met in June and received a report on some positive signs of change. An increased number of relocation outcomes have been delivered over earlier stages of the trial, and nine long term applicants in the target centres have now received relocations. The next meeting (in July) will take stock of the impact of the trial over semester one and assess the need for amendments to the pilot to deliver better outcomes and further reduce the backlog of relocation applicants on the waiting list.
The IPSSDSC has already designed key questions for a review of the classified teacher relocation process that must be completed in time for a report to State Cabinet in early December.
We will continue to advocate for improvements in the system to allow the timely replacement of vacancies in schools and the opportunity for classified teachers to relocate to other positions across the state. The QTU welcomes any feedback by QTU members involved in the relocation trial to inform future the future direction of this process.