No more audits until you say so...

The QTU’s directive suspending participation in the teaching and learning audits remains in place until members have had a chance to pass judgement on the proposed changes.

The department has proposed a number of modifications to the process and wants to conduct audits later this year, but in spite of a communication issued by the Director-General suggesting that the audits will now go ahead, the QTU has not yet accepted the proposals, and will not until members are balloted on the changes.

The modifications would result in:

  • a joint communiqué between the QTU and DETE outlining the purpose and processes of the teaching and learning audits
  • the development of an executive summary without ratings to be provided to schools in prose and to be published on the school website
  • the use of the audit tool to develop a school profile that would assist in the writing of the executive summary.

There would also be changes in the way in which the audit tool is applied and the department has responded to school concerns about the timing of audits early in term one and term four.

The department cannot provide absolute assurances regarding exemption from right to information applications and subsequent publication, but has developed the new format to make it less likely to be used by potential publishers, and it feels that the risk has been minimised.

However, there is concern over the department’s suggestion that school profiles created to assist in the writing of the audit report should be published to school websites, as any document that contains a rating would be open to being misconstrued and misreported outside the school community. In considering the issue, State Council felt that the executive summary would already be supplying the community with lots of meaningful information, making publication of the profile superfluous.

State Council voted to recommend to members that the teaching and learning audits resume, provided that:

  • the executive summary is provided in prose
  • a joint communiqué outlining the purposes and processes of teaching and learning audits be developed
  • no central collation or retention of audit reports/outcomes occur
  • the school’s profile not be published.

Additionally, State Council determined that if teaching and learning audits were to continue in 2012 that they be conducted only in schools that self-nominate following endorsement by the school’s local consultative committee.

A ballot was being prepared as this Journal went to press, with detailed information concerning the changes to the audits and the ballot questions due to sent out at the end of May.

Kate Ruttiman
Deputy General Secretary

Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 117 No 4, 1 June 2012, p15