Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 128 No 3, 5 May 2023, page no. 29
What are the reporting and interview requirements for teachers?
Reporting to parents
The Education (General Provisions) Act requires schools to:
ensure that a parent of each child enrolled at the school is given the opportunity, at least twice a year, to discuss the child’s educational performance at the school with the child’s teacher/s
ensure that a written report on the educational performance at the school of a person enrolled at the school is given at least twice a year.
As such, schools are required to formally report student progress on summative assessment to parents/caregivers twice per school year: at the end of Semester 1 and the end of Semester 2.
The decision to include additional interim reports should only occur after genuine consultation with teachers, and after agreement has been reached via the local consultative committee (LCC). The QTU’s view is that the workload associated with completing interim reports means that they should not be undertaken as a matter of course.
Schools are required to use the appropriate template in OneSchool for reporting to parents on the student’s achievement level in each subject/learning area and on the student’s effort and behaviour.
The five-point scale for each year level was agreed during negotiations between the department and key stakeholders, such as parent groups, principals’ associations and the QTU. Any variations to the standard report template made by schools would be inconsistent with the agreement reached on reporting, and would therefore be viewed as a breach.
Similarly, any change to the reporting scales proposed by the Department of Education would require extensive consultation with all stakeholders.
There is no requirement for the inclusion of comments in reports, however schools choosing to provide additional information can use the comments section of the report for this purpose. The inclusion of comments is a school-based decision, and consultation must occur via the school’s LCC. If it is agreed to, some schools create “comment banks” to decrease workload.
While in some instances schools might determine to provide informal feedback to parents in a progressive way using formative assessment and professional judgment, the QTU does not recommend it, as the additional reporting expectation creates significant workload issues for teachers. Again, the informal feedback process would need to be agreed to at the LCC, as its impact upon workload needs to be considered and mitigated. In addition, should this be agreed to, the school data plan must specifically outline the collection and use of data for this purpose.
Parent teacher interviews
Under the Education (General Provisions) Act, schools are required to provide parents with at least two opportunities per year to meet face-to-face with their child’s teacher/s.
There is no prescribed length of time for parent-teacher interviews, however most schools allocate 10 or 15-minute blocks.
These meetings should be scheduled with sufficient notice and fit in with the timetables, work-life balance and parenting or other caring responsibilities of teachers. Consequently, most schools establish a designated night/week in which parent/teacher interviews occur and make this known in advance. The QTU suggests that schools should determine the operation of parent-teacher interviews in consultation with staff, and the most appropriate avenue for this is through the LCC.
It is important to remember that teacher participation in activities outside rostered duty time should be considered voluntary and that attendance at any meetings held outside of rostered duty time cannot be made compulsory. However, it is not unreasonable for a school to request that teachers arrange appropriate times for parents to meet with them, if this has been prearranged and sufficient time given to teachers to make arrangements to be able to attend.
If the scheduled parent-teacher interview time cannot be accommodated by the teacher due to prior commitments, family responsibilities, illness or other reasons, they should discuss this with the school’s principal in the first instance. They should then arrange a time in which they can meet with the parent to discuss their child’s progress. This might be face-to-face, by phone or email.