8 September 2015  | No. 17-15Download as PDF

Changes to IPS nominations and future operations

The Department of Education and Training has opened expressions of interest for the 2016 round of Independent Public Schools (IPS). Nominations close on 16 October 2015.
In response to QTU concerns, in June this year the Queensland Government suspended the nomination process for the 2016 cohort of IPS, pending an evaluation of IPS. The QTU participated in this evaluation, which is now complete.

While the government has not yet formally responded to the evaluation, a number of the QTU’s concerns have been addressed in the nomination process, and others are expected to be addressed in the near future.

This means that any school planning to nominate does so on the understanding that the program’s operations are likely to change, particularly around staffing processes and supervision of IPS principals.

Nomination process

This year’s nomination process is more robust and transparent than those of previous years. This includes all nominations being assessed by a panel which will include QTU representation.
A key difference is the far stronger mandatory consultation process; to pass stage 1 of the EOI, the IPS nomination must be supported by QTU members, the Local Consultative Committee and the P&C. If any one of these groups does not support the nomination, it will not proceed to stage 2. The quality of consultation will also be considered as part of the overall nomination.

To pass stage 1, schools must also demonstrate suitable financial controls, particularly in their latest school audit result.

Unfortunately, the theory of strengthened consultation has been undermined by the short timelines for nomination, which include two weeks of school holidays, when there is very limited contact with the school community.

Future operations

Some of the major threats facing QTU members in IPS have been eased by the new Queensland Government’s roll-back of the former government’s extreme changes to industrial relations laws – for example, school-based management guarantees now remain protected in industrial instruments.

The QTU remains concerned about the impact of IPS on the transfer and relocation systems. Some progress has been made – for example, QTU nominees have returned to principal panels, and a Ministerial HR taskforce has been set up, including QTU representation. Protocols on how IPS can recruit staff are being developed by DET in consultation with the QTU, and will apply to new and existing IPS.

A remaining issue is the supervisory arrangements for IPS principals; the current arrangement, where principals report directly to the Director-General or Deputy Director-General, is not sustainable with 250 IPS due on line by 2017. The QTU is negotiating with DET on how this should be resolved.

More information

DET’s documents on IPS nominations can be found here. The QTU has produced an updated IPS consultation kit, with more information on the new process and remaining concerns.

QCT Board Election

Vote for QTU endorsed candidates Alota Lima and Natalie Clarke in the election for practicing teachers on the Queensland College of Teachers Board. The ballot closes 18 September.

For more information see Newsflash No. 12-15.

 Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union