Bulk temporary to permanency conversion process
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 128, 25 August 2023, page no.12
The Department of Education (DoE) is required to maximise permanent employment under the Public Sector Act (2022) (PSA). This is also prudent given the teacher shortage our system is facing.
As an interim measure toward operationalising the department’s obligations under the PSA and the review of non-permanent employment (Directive 02/23), the DoE is conducting two tranches of bulk offers of permanency to temporary teachers.
The first tranche, for graduates engaged from Semester 2 2022 onward who have been engaged for a term or longer, occurred at the end of Week 4 this term.
A second tranche of up to 3,000 longer serving temporary teachers will occur next term.
Some schools in the south-east corner will be over-allocated as a result. The DoE assures the QTU that school leaders will be supported by region to manage over-allocations.
The DoE also assures the QTU that these bulk conversions will not impact on their ability to offer preferred locations to teachers returning from rural and remote service. Maintaining the integrity of the statewide transfer system is of upmost importance to the QTU.
The QTU applauds members and area councils who have indicated a willingness to take self-selected school-based stop work action in the event teachers in the outer regions are unable to access placements at their preferred locations. The QTU will support these members if the assurances given by the DoE regarding returning transfers fail.
The QTU would have preferred the two bulk tranches to be done in a different order, with longer serving temporary teachers made permanent in the first tranche. However, the DoE indicated that it wanted to begin with the smaller tranche.
It is hoped that the DoE will have learned from first tranche and will provide better communications and more notice to teachers and school leaders when the next tranche occurs.
In most cases, these teachers are being offered permanency with an initial school location of their existing school (known as an “in situ” offer).
The letter of appointment, as has long been standard, reminds teachers that it is a condition of employment that permanent teachers may be required to teach “in any state school in Queensland where workforce demand exists. This means teachers may be required to work anywhere in the state”.
There is, of course, the compassionate panel, which considers cases where there are genuine reasons for statewide service not to occur, such as serious medical and custody arrangements. More information about compassionate transfers is available at www.qtu.asn.au/transfers/compassionate-transfers. If after reading this information you require assistance with a compassionate transfer, you should contact your QTU Organiser.
Additionally, these bulk offers of permanency include the condition that “Transfer to another location may occur as soon as the commencement of the following school year or earlier where required.”
Teachers who decline the offer will have their existing contract honoured, but the letter states that their “employment will cease at the nominated date according to the terms of your current engagement.”
Given the large numbers of newly permanent teachers, and the ongoing need for teachers returning from rural and remote service to be placed in their preferred schools, temporary teachers should be aware that there is likely to be less contract work available in the foreseeable future.
We anticipate that there will be an increase in required transfers, both for newly permanent and more experienced teachers without rural/remote or non-preferred service. The QTU accepts this as a necessary part of ensuring that schools in all parts of the state have access to the teachers they need.
Members who have feedback on this process should contact the employer directly via firstname.lastname@example.org and cc the QTU via email@example.com. We value hearing from members, especially about new processes. We have regular meetings established with the DoE to work through problems related to the bulk conversions and, hopefully, prevent or ameliorate them for the next tranche.