Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 127 No 6, 12 August 2022, page no. 16
The 2022 QTU United Leadership Conference returned this year after a four-year hiatus prompted by the pandemic.
This conference (which is developed and organised by the QTU's Education Leaders Committee) is unique in that it focuses on both the industrial and professional aspects of leadership in schools, as well as providing a deeper understanding of current issues impacting on school leaders.
On the first day, the keynote speaker was renowned journalist Kerry O’Brien, who spoke about the issues good leaders face when the deck is stacked against them.
Michelle Loch, CEO and founder of Leading Humans, was not only the keynote speaker on the second day but also presented two of the workshops and participated on a panel. Michelle is one of Australia’s leading experts in neuroleadership and brain-based coaching and training.
A key feature of the conference was a series of carefully crafted workshops. They were designed to be of interest to members no matter where they are in their leadership journey. Across the two days, workshops included:
- Dealing with staff who have mental health issues and Dealing with complex behaviours in schools (Davina Donovan, psychologist, author)
- The Human Rights Act for school leaders (Caron Menashe, Queensland Human Rights Commission)
- How humans are wired and Facilitating insight through metacognitive questionings (Michelle Loch)
- You are not alone – We are all Union (Stewart Jones, Chapel Hill SS and Dan Coxen, QTU)
- Managing unsatisfactory performance – What not to do (Heather Murry, Exec principal Kirwan SHS and Paige Bousen QTU)
- Leading change in schools within the industrial context (Gill Armit and Kelly Creedon, QTU)
- Diversity and leadership (Penny Spalding, QCU and Paige Bousen, QTU)
- Workplace health and safety for school leaders (Elissa Ferguson and Kevina O’Neill, QTU)
- EB10 (Thalia Edmonds and Josh Cleary, QTU).
Of special note was a three-part workshop series So you want to be a non-teaching principal, designed by experienced senior principals Chris Capra (Benowa SHS) and Kendall Seccombe (Augustine Heights SS). It unpacked the differences between non-teaching and teaching principal roles and responsibilities. Activities included recruitment and selection assistance, better understanding of the daily, weekly, and yearly demands of a non-teaching principal, and discussions with teaching principals who are now senior principals and ARDs.
Other presentations at the conference included:
- a Q&A with QTU General Secretary Kate Ruttiman and Michael De’Ath, Director-General of the Department of Education
- Embracing the rainbow and empowering inclusion: supporting LGBTIQ+ students (Dr Kirstine Hand)
- An update on time use, time poverty and teachers’ work (Professor Greg Thompson)
- National and international issues (QTU president Cresta Richardson)
- Legal issues that impact on school leaders (Rachel Drew, Holding Redlich Lawyers).
The conference concluded with a panel of Michelle Loch, Andrew Beattie (White Hills State College) and Dr Liam Smith (A/Deputy Director-General) addressing Leading with wellbeing in mind.
"Key ‘take-aways’ for me are the importance of self-care as a leader – “place the oxygen mask on oneself before assisting others” – and that self-leadership with all staff holds the key to building “schools of substance”. As hard as it can be to step out of our schools in these challenging times, the learnings from, and networking with, fellow school leaders unites us in leadership."
Anne Rathmell (head of campus, Dalby SHS)
"Highlights were Kerry O’Brien, who set the tone for conference with an insightful opening address touching on the history of leadership in Australia and his hopes for a better future. I also got a lot out of listening to Davina Donovan, who provided a great framework leaders can use to support staff through mental health concerns and strategies for managing children with complex behaviours."
Zan Branford (acting principal, Seville Rd State School)
"A great opportunity to learn from renowned academics, educational leaders and inspirational keynote speakers. Hearing the political insights of Australia’s very own Kerry O’Brien was a fantastic way to start the conference, and it promoted some very thought-provoking conversations. The variety of breakout sessions meant that everyone’s interests were covered over the two days."
Mark Johnstone (principal, Pallara SS)
Assistant Secretary-Education Leaders