Principal Recruitment and Selection Policy

[page updated February 2014]

Good politics but impractical policy

There have been a number of media releases issued recently about the new principal recruitment and selection policy and its capacity to address various concerns of parents and the community. 

Yet while some of these concerns are certainly valid, particularly with regards to stability of the principal in a community, there is no evidence that this new policy is going to address them.

The QTU has always believed that the community should have a say in the selection of school leaders, as long as there are representatives on the panel who understand the role of the position in differing contexts.

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But the reality is that the role of parents under the new policy is no greater than under the previous process. Selection panels for principal vacancies always included a parent representative, either from the community or from P&Cs Qld. Part of the role of the parent representative on the panel was to identify the needs of the school and the local community when choosing the most meritorious applicant and, if there was no local representative on the panel, to liaise with existing P&C members.

This role doesn't come without an impost on the time of parents and community members.  Participating in panels is not about just turning up to interview applicants – there are initial discussions/teleconferences about the selection process, reading of applications, shortlisting meetings/teleconferences, interviews and post-interview discussions.  Depending on the number of applications received, this could mean a significant amount of work for any parent or community representative, on top of their work and family responsibilities.

It is also critical that all panel members are appropriately trained.  This ensures the selection processes operate in line with public service requirements and departmental procedures.  Most importantly, this training ensures that the most meritorious person for the position is selected without bias.

The new relocation process should be of particular concern for parents in remote and rural locations, as it is likely to dissuade potential candidates from applying for principal roles in these locations. This is because there is no guarantee that principals will later be able to relocate to a preferred location, something which would affect not only the principal, but also his or her family. In the new system, the length of time that a person has worked in a remote or rural school is given no consideration.  Members of the QTU have already been ringing about this very issue.

The QTU will be closely monitoring this new process and will be meeting with DETE regularly, as the department has committed to continuing to consult with the QTU about the implementation of the new process. 

For more information, refer to the relevant Principals’ Updates

Further information