The QTU is to investigate the unique issues facing teaching principals and find ways of reducing the burden they carry.
The QTU Principal Support and Involvement Strategy endorsed at the QTU State Conference in 2017 highlights five current issues of significance:
- the Promotional Positions Classification Review (PPCR)
- principal workload and wellbeing
- student protection reporting
- the promotion and relocation system
- teaching principals.
To address the last of these issues, a teaching principal strategy has been developed for 2018. While the QTU has been advocating and campaigning for years on the issues associated with being a teaching principal, this year we are taking a new look at how we can better advocate for our teaching principal members.
In the QTU’s PPCR submission, the role of teaching principals across the state was raised as an issue of particular significance that needed to be addressed as part of this review. There is a total of 384 Band 5 and 6 teaching principals in Queensland. As Darryl Murdoch argued in his “Teaching principals in smaller primary schools – their issues, challenges and concerns”, the dual nature of a teaching principal’s role means that they are required to interpret and adapt to changes imposed with larger school contexts in mind.
Relevantly, teaching principals face a number of challenges alone with limited (if any) support, both in terms of educational and legislative accountabilities. These include:
- insufficient time to manage their dual roles
- meeting accountability requirements
- policy development and paperwork
- student welfare and behaviour management issues
- limited out of class time
- the lack of a leadership structure to support them
- a small or non-existent teaching team
- thinly spread regional support
- the requirement to be a leader within the community
- the management of staff performance, including ATPR and MUP
- curriculum implementation and documentation
- education initiatives.
While the focus while obtaining feedback for the QTU submission to the PPCR was on the work value and complexity issues of different promotional positions, it was apparent that all small school principals had significant concerns about their workload, and a statewide review of their workload needs to occur. The QTU PPCR submission recommended such a review.
As part of the QTU teaching principal strategy, actions in 2018 will include:
- establishing a small school principals’ working party
- holding a two-day teaching principal working party workshop
- establishing a dedicated position for a teaching principal on the QTU Education Leaders’ Committee
- a series of articles in the QTU Journal
- an investigation into a method of delivering sessions on industrial relations and legal matters to teaching principals.
Paige Bousen Assistant Secretary – Education Leaders
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 123 No 1, 9 February 2018, p16