Education leaders and the QTU
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 125 No 5, 10 July 2020, page no.23
As well as supporting school leaders individually, the Queensland Teachers’ Union backs them collectively, as a critical stakeholder around department initiatives.
Currently, the QTU is working closely with the Department of Education around several initiatives aimed at supporting leaders.
- The Draft Leadership Strategy, which was co-designed by the HR and state school divisions with input from the unions, has now been endorsed for further feedback by the Director-General. It outlines how the department proposes to support and develop leadership at all levels.
- The QTU provided deep feedback on the recently released Principal Health and Wellbeing Strategy and is currently working closely with the department on the design of two pilots: a principal support hotline and a principal complex matters referral service, both of which are initiatives of the recently-launched Principal Health and Wellbeing Strategy and Action Plan 2020/21.
- The QTU has also been involved in the development of the department’s “Ways of working – Assistant Regional Directors and Lead Principals” project.
When working with the department on any initiative, the QTU ensures that practicing school leaders are involved in providing feedback and input. We do this by using the QTU Education Leaders Committee and QTU Principal Union Representatives. Over time, the QTU has also set up several special interest groups to ensure that all sections of our school leader membership can contribute around matters or initiatives that affect them.
Our Education Leaders’ Committee (ELC) and Principal Union Representatives (PURs) regularly raise concerns about matters that may be impacting on them individually or other school leaders across the state. Any other school leader members wishing ELC to address a specific issue should outline the issue and send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org (mark it Attention: Education Leaders Committee). School leader members can also attend QTU branch meetings to provide a school leader perspective in discussions, as a well as to discuss systemic and regional issues.
School leaders and QTU decision-making
There are many ways in which QTU members in leadership positions can be involved in the decision-making of the QTU, and in fact there are school leaders on QTU Executive, State Council and Area Councils.
While school leaders can attend their local branch meeting (and we actively encourage this), the QTU also has the ELC, which comprises 15 principals, deputy principals and members in other promotional positions. The committee is chaired by QTU Honorary Vice-President Jenny Swadling (a principal and long-term activist).
The Education Leaders’ Committee:
- monitors developments and provides advice to Executive regarding:
- relevant issues arising from state and federal government initiatives
- the implementation of departmental initiatives which directly impact on education leaders
- other issues that may emerge which impact on education leaders
- monitors, influences and advocates on issues that impact on education leaders, such as the issues stated in the QTU’s Principal Support and Involvement Strategy.
- monitors, influences and advocates on issues that impact on education leaders’ health and wellbeing
- contributes to and influences national education leaders’ policy through the Australian Education Union’s National Principals’ Committee
- reviews and develops appropriate proposals for new and amended Union policy in accordance with the Committee’s terms of reference.
The QTU also has more than 100 PURs across the state. The role includes assisting the QTU Organiser and the Union by providing a school leader perspective on education and industrial issues (including local school issues), in delegations to regional offices and parliamentarians supporting union campaigns, and in providing a role model, QTU support and information for other school leaders and QTU members.
PURs are nominated by QTU Organisers, after consultation with the Area Council officers. They must have:
- an understanding of the operations of the department and the Union and experience as a school leader
- a history of strong support for QTU campaigns and decisions
- the respect of QTU members in their workplace, Union activists and fellow school leaders
- the capacity to undertake the role in collaboration with the Organiser and independently
- knowledge of the geography of the Organiser’s region.