Guides

Basic guides

BEGINNING YOUR TEACHING CAREER: a basic guide

Internships

 

Pre-service teachers who have almost completed their qualifications may be offered an unpaid internship at a school in a formal program outlined in agreements that have been reached between the university, the Department of Education, the Queensland College of Teachers and the unions. These internship agreements are available on the QTU website.

Interns are assigned a mentor teacher and the intern may only teach up to 50 per cent of the mentor teacher’s classes. The intern must not be used as a supply or substitute teacher when other teachers in the school are away. This includes playground duty, attendance at staff meetings and other extra-curricular activities. The duties of an intern are listed in the agreement.

Where the department provides employment opportunities (e.g. offers a temporary contract) for pre-service teachers enrolled in undergraduate studies to undertake school-based internships, interns will be appointed to a salary within Band 1 as stated in Part 5, section 5.6 of the Department of Education and Training State School Teachers Certified Agreement 2016.

Teacher registrations

 

Prior to starting to teach in a casual, temporary or permanent capacity at any Queensland school, state or non-state, you will be required to obtain teacher registration from the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT). All the information you need can be found on the QCT website

You will initially be granted provisional teacher registration, and after one year of full-time teaching, you will be able to transition to full registration if you meet the requirements. You must continue to pay the teacher registration fee, otherwise you will be unable to continue teaching. Permission to teach (PTT) may be granted by the QCT when schools are having difficulty finding teachers to teach specific subject areas or in remote and difficult to staff regions. The PTT is only granted in exceptional circumstances.

It is not possible to predict whether a PTT would be approved for a vacancy that could not be filled in a school, as it would depend on a lot of factors, such as whether the PTT applicant had the knowledge, qualifications, skills or training in a particular subject or discipline that may be required for the teaching position. The PTT policy lists the criteria on which approval of a PTT is based.

Whether an applicant is enrolled in a course of pre-service teacher education or not is not at all relevant to QCT approval processes. Applicants must also meet other eligibility requirements, including, suitability to teach. 

Applying to become a teacher

 

Your teaching appointment is conditional upon the successful completion of course requirements by your appointment date. Your final semester results must be forwarded to your Regional Office.

The Department of Education has a comprehensive Guide to Teaching in State Schools, which includes information on how to get employment in state schools across Queensland and the suitability ranking that you will need to obtain in order to be considered for employment. 

Your teaching appointment is conditional upon the successful completion of course requirements by your appointment date. Your final semester results must be forwarded to your regional office. The Department of Education has a comprehensive.

Probation

 

All new permanent employees of DET (as well as those converted to permanency after a period on contract) are required to undergo  probation, which is usually eight months but may be shortened to six. You must be confirmed in your position or have your engagement terminated before the end of the eighth month of employment. For teachers appointed at the beginning of a school year, this will be immediately prior to the September school holidays.

At the end of your first three months, you will be provided with a performance review by your principal, which must be recorded on the applicable form. Any areas of concern must be identified and an agreed action plan developed.

A formal appraisal will be conducted by the end of six months of service (usually July), resulting in a recommendation of either confirmation or termination of appointment.

More information for QTU members

Mandatory induction

 

All new employees are required to participate in a mandatory beginning teacher induction program provided by the staff at your school or accessible online. This training should be completed during student free days, but may also be completed during twilight sessions.


More information for QTU members

Beginning teacher mentoring

 

If you are appointed as a beginning teacher at a school for at least twelve months, either on contract or permanently, a mentor teacher will be assigned to you. Funds will be provided to schools, up until the end of 2017, to allow you and your mentor to be released from face to face teaching for up to 18 hours per term, to work through the teacher development and induction program.


More information for QTU members

ACTION: Five easy steps to assert your professional rights.

 

If you are experiencing problems with the probation process, or having difficulty accessing mentoring or induction programs, you should follow these steps.

  • Step one: Research your entitlements under the relevant department policy, DET State School Teachers Certified Agreement or Teaching in State Education Award - State 2016.
  • Step two: Discuss the situation with your fellow teachers, if appropriate.
  • Step three: Seek further advice and assistance from your Union Rep or call QTAD on 1300 11 7823.
  • Step four: Organise a meeting with your supervisor, e.g. the principal, to discuss.
  • Step five: Contact the QTU for further advice if the matter remains unresolved to your satisfaction.
October 2016 | Download as PDF

TIMETABLING - CLASSROOM TEACHERS - primary and special schools: a basic guide

Rostered duty time

 

A full-time teacher will have 25 hours (1,500 minutes) of rostered duty time per week.

The standard hours of instruction in schools fall between 8.30am and 3.30pm. Any changes to these hours of instruction must occur in accordance with the provisions of clause 15.8 of the Teaching in State Education Award – State 2016

Non-contact time

 

A full-time primary teacher will be provided a minimum of two hours (120 minutes) of non-contact time per week.

This must be provided in usable blocks of time of no less than 30 minutes.

Non-contact time is provided for the purpose of undertaking the planning, preparation and correction necessary to perform the role of a teacher.

The 120 minutes (award) entitlement to NCT can be used at the teacher’s discretion. The use of NCT in excess of the award entitlement is determined by the school principal.

Non-contact time can be aggregated by agreement so that a minimum amount of non-contact time can occur in one week with the balance banked – however this balance must be provided to teachers prior to the end of each term, e.g. a 0.4 teacher may agree to receive 30 mins non-contact time a week and bank the remaining 18 minutes of non-contact time per week – meaning that at the end of 10 weeks they would receive 180 minutes of non-contact time, either in one day or split over two.

Where a teacher has a split fraction, e.g. 0.6 primary specialist and 0.4 primary classroom teacher, the teacher will receive the relevant entitlements of each fraction for each sector.

Full-time primary and special school teachers have a maximum 22 hours and 10 minutes (1330 minutes) rostered face-to-face teaching and associated professional duties per week.
Associated professional duties include times when teachers have contact with students in forums such as assembly, form class, pastoral care, sport etc.

NCT foregone as a consequence of planned school activities should be replaced. How this is achieved is subject to consultation with the relevant teacher.

Meal breaks and rest pauses

 

The 10 minute rest pause must be provided each day – it cannot be accrued over the week and should be in a separate break from that designated as the meal break.

There should be a 45 minute uninterrupted meal break per day – this can be modified through consultative arrangements to provide a minimum 30 minute uninterrupted meal break per day provided that teachers access 225 minutes of uninterrupted meal breaks per week.

The meal break should fall between the hours of 11.00am and 2.00pm as per clause 16.1 (a) of the Teaching in State Education Award – State 2016.

Any changes should be made following consultation with the local consultative committee, in accordance with clause 16.1 (c) of the Teaching in State Education Award – State 2016.

Alterations to the length of the meal break can be achieved through consultation at the local consultative committee, taking into account the requisite continuous 30 minute uninterrupted break per day with a minimum of 225 minutes of meal break per teacher per week.

Bus and playground duty

 

The provision of meal breaks and non-contact time should be read as a minimum requirement.

It is important to be cognisant of clause 16.3 Bus and playground supervision – Teaching in State Education Award – State 2016

16.3 Bus and playground supervision

Subject to clauses 16.3(b) and (c), teachers will be relieved of bus supervision duties and supervision of students in the playground as far as possible and where appropriate.

Teachers are still required to undertake some part of those duties. The appropriate mix of teachers and teacher aides will be determined by the principal of the school, having regard to local circumstances in accordance with the applicable local consultative arrangements.

Teachers shall not be required to undertake bus supervision duties for more than 30 minutes after the completion of the daily program of instruction.

Subsequently all efforts should be made to minimise the playground duty undertaken by teachers in a school.

A bus and playground duty roster will be developed in each school in consultation with the staff and the local consultative committee


More information for members : 

QTU Advice Brochure : Meal breaks and bus and playground supervision

October 2016 | Download as PDF

GENERAL WORKING CONDITIONS: a basic guide

Rostered duty time

 

A full-time teacher will have 25 hours (1,500 minutes) of rostered duty time per week.

An instrumental music teacher/instructor will have 30 hours (1,800 minutes) of rostered duty time per week.

Rostered duty time includes face-to-face teaching duties, associated professional duties, non-contact time and the 10 minute rest pause each day.

Duties undertaken outside rostered duty time (e.g. school camps) should only occur on a voluntary basis.


More information for QTU members

Meal breaks and rest/pause*

 

10 minutes rest/pause must be provided each day and cannot be averaged across a week.

Teachers should have a 45 minute uninterrupted meal break per day – this can be modified through consultative arrangements to provide a minimum 30 minute uninterrupted meal break per day, provided that teachers access a total of 225 minutes of uninterrupted meal breaks per week.

The meal break should fall between the hours of 11.00am and 2.00pm, unless changes are made in accordance with Clause 16.1 (a) of the Teaching in State Education Award – State 2016("The Award"). Any changes should be made following consultation with the Local Consultative Committee, in accordance with clause 16.1 (c) of the Teaching in State Education Award – State 2016

Bus and playground supervision*

 

A bus and playground duty roster will be developed in each school in consultation with the staff and the local consultative committee.

Teachers and other employees are required to undertake playground supervision and bus supervision as a consequence of the department’s duty of care responsibilities. The Award provides that teachers will be relieved of this responsibility as far as possible.

You can be required to perform bus supervision for up to 30 minutes after the conclusion of the school day, but this should be for school buses only – not public transport.

Teachers should be at school prior to the first bell, but cannot be rostered on for student supervision prior to this bell, as rostered duty time does not normally commence until then.

Schools should not establish expectation of a before-school playground duty, as this does not form part of a teacher’s rostered duty time and the provisions relating to bus and playground duties do not extend to this period of time.

Specialist teachers who service more than two schools cannot be allocated bus and playground duty.


More information for members : 

QTU Advice Brochure : Meal breaks and bus and playground supervision

Non-contact time/preparation and correction time*

 

Non-contact time (NCT) – primary and special schools: A full-time teacher will be provided with a minimum of two hours (120 minutes) of NCT per week. This must be provided in minimum half hour (30 minute) blocks.

Non-contact time – secondary schools: A full-time teacher will be provided with a minimum of three hours and 30 minutes (210 minutes) of NCT per week.  This must be provided in units no less than the length of a regular school lesson.

The main purpose of NCT is to enable a teacher to undertake the planning, preparation and correction necessary for the effective carrying out of their role. Teachers make the decisions about what tasks they complete during the award entitlement to NCT. Non-contact time should not be considered as “free time” for the purpose of pursuing personal activities.

Face-to-face teaching

 

Full-time secondary school teachers have a maximum 20 hours and 40 minutes (1,240 minutes) rostered face-to-face teaching and associated professional duties per week.

Full-time primary and special school teachers have a maximum 22 hours and 10 minutes (1,330 minutes) rostered face-to-face teaching and associated professional duties per week.

Associated professional duties include times when teachers have contact with students in forums such as assembly, form class, pastoral care, sport etc. 

Within rostered duty time of 25 hours per week, the average class time for specialist teachers will be 18 hours per week, with a range of 15 – 20 hours per week. Refer to section 15.1 Teaching in State Education Award - State 2016.


 

More information for QTU members

Hours of instruction

 

The standard hours of instruction in schools fall between 8.30am and 3.30pm.

Any changes to these hours of instruction must occur in accordance with the provisions of clause 15.8 of the Teaching in State Education Award - State 2016.

Arriving and departing from work

 

You have to ensure that you are at work prior to the official start of the school day, and you are allowed to leave after the official conclusion of the school day.

When departing work early or leaving the school during the school day, teachers may be requested to sign in and out of the office for workplace health and safety reasons. However, it should not be a requirement for teachers to sign in and out of school each day.

Teachers required to sign in and out of school

 

The QTU is of the view that there should be no requirement for teachers to sign in on a daily basis when they arrive at school.

Any teacher who is going to be absent from school for a day (or longer) should notify the principal/deputy/admin. All staff should then be notified of which teachers are absent, either by email or through the daily notices book, in accordance with the arrangements that apply in that particular school.

Teachers should notify personnel in administration if they are leaving the school grounds during rostered duty time, e.g. a NCT/P&C period. This notification is required for WorkCover purposes. 

Staff should not need to notify administration personnel if they wish to leave the school grounds during a meal break, as the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) covers most injuries which occur when the employee is away from the workplace during such breaks. Although it is not a requirement for staff to sign in and out during meal break times, the QTU’s view would be that it would be appropriate to notify someone.

Class sizes*

 

The class sizes within schools should be:

Prep - 3, 11-12…………………   25 students per class
Years 4-10 ……………………… 28 students per class

The class size target for composite classes are informed by the relevant year level target. Where composite classes exist across cohorts (e.g. year 3/4) the class size target would be the lower cohort target.

Class size targets should be exceeded only in exceptional circumstances, and only after consultation with teachers.  A quid pro quo concerning other workload is often provided.

Attendance at meetings/Professional development

 

The school principal has the capacity to call a staff meeting outside of school hours. This is the only meeting you are required to attend. Consultation is required each year about the purpose, frequency and duration of staff meetings.

Staff meetings cannot be used as a means of making professional development compulsory, unless otherwise agreed through the consultation process as a substitute for attendance on student free days.  Otherwise, attendance at professional development outside school hours is voluntary.

Leave

 

Teachers receive paid leave over school vacation periods. Those requiring additional leave are entitled to:
a) Sick leave – full-time teachers accrue 10 days paid sick leave per year – this leave accrues across the years of employment (pro-rata for part-time employees)

A medical certificate need only be produced when an absence is greater than three days or there is an indentified pattern of absence, a conduct issue or a formal performance process in place.

Accrued sick leave can also be accessed as carer’s leave to care for sick family members.

b) Long service leave – can be accessed as paid leave after seven years of continuous service and is accrued at a rate of 1.3 weeks per year worked. Access to this leave requires two clear terms notice and approval is subject to departmental convenience.

c) Paid maternity and adoption leave : Currently an entitlement of 14 weeks PML (paid maternity leave) or PAL (paid adoption leave) is available to the primary caregiver of a child. Conditions apply to the access to this leave.

Additionally, teachers may be entitled to access the Commonwealth paid parental leave scheme and dad and partner pay. This payment is made in addition to the PML provided by the department. Dad and partner pay cannot be accessed while on paid leave or when working.

d) Special leave – this includes two days bereavement leave for each bereavement and five days compassionate leave per year. This leave does not accrue. Compassionate leave is discretionary and approval must be sought. Other forms of special leave are also available.

e) Extended special leave without salary – applications can be made after 12 months of being employed with the department.

  • Access to this leave requires two clear terms notice and approval is subject to departmental convenience.
  • The maximum amount of extended special leave without salary on each occasion is three years.
  • Where the leave is for family purposes, the maximum amount of leave that can be taken is seven years.

Standard of dress *

 

There is no set dress standard for teachers. Some schools have staff uniforms, but the purchase of these should be optional and not a requirement.

Information around personal appearance can be found in the DET’s Standard of Practice which states:

“Personal presentation

  • ensuring that our personal appearance and presentation is professional
  • the appearance and dress of departmental employees should be clean, tidy and appropriate to their duties and the people with whom they are dealing
  • examples of inappropriate dress for DET’s work environment include thongs, singlets, revealing clothing or clothing with offensive slogans.
  • do not wear clothing or footwear that could put our own workplace health and safety at risk.”

Additionally most schools now have identification badges for the purposes of school security.  Should you be requested to wear a school badge you should have the ability to specify the name that appears on this identification.

Student protection policy/code of conduct

 

All teachers are required to undertake professional development in the department’s student protection policy and the code of conduct.

The student protection policy provides examples of instances of harm, which include physical, sexual and verbal abuse as well as sexual relationships between teachers and students. The policy makes it mandatory to report instances of harm to students.

The code of conduct prescribes departmental expectations with respect to the appropriate conduct of teachers and school leaders.

Access to departmental records*

 

The Public Service Regulation 2008 (Qld) gives teachers the right to have a copy of any document that could be used in a way that would be detrimental to their interests and to 14 days to respond to it.  .

Employee records covered by these provisions include:
(a) reports, correspondence items or other documents about the employee’s work performance, conduct or history
(b) a medical report about the employee
(c) a written allegation of misconduct by the employee.

Additionally, you may request to inspect a record, take extracts from or copy details in the record. This inspection is required to take place within 21 days from when the request is made.

Abuse of teachers by parents and students*

 

Teachers, like all other employees, have the right to a safe and healthy working environment.

Schools should have a positive school-wide behaviour management policy in place that identifies the consequences that arise from inappropriate student conduct.

Additionally, in some circumstances principals are empowered under the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (Qld) to respond to abuse of teachers by parents. The QTU may provide legal assistance in relation to parental abuse/defamation.

Where members have exhausted the use of these policies and procedures or face an imminent threat to their health and safety, they may be able to access industrial action to remedy this threat.

Parent/teacher interviews

 

Schools are required to provide parents with at least two opportunities per year to meet face-to-face with their children’s teacher.

One of these opportunities may be in the form of a parent-teacher interview or a subject/year level information evening. However, when these are held outside of rostered duty time, attendance cannot be made compulsory.

Teacher participation outside rostered duty time should be considered voluntary. However, it is not unreasonable of a school to request that teachers arrange appropriate times for parents to meet with them. Consequently, most schools establish a designated night/week in which parent/teacher interviews are available. This assists teachers in maintaining an effective work/life balance, as well as meeting the reporting requirements of schools.

Transfer*

 

All permanent employees of the Department of Education and Training are subject to transfer.

Teachers may request a transfer following a minimum period of service at a school.

Compassionate transfer requests may be lodged at any time. Compassionate transfer requests are either about pressing personal circumstances or exceptional hardship. The Teacher Transfer Guidelines provide more information about compassionate transfer requests. Additionally the department may require the transfer of a teacher from a school to another location for a variety of reasons.

Applications for transfer generally need to be submitted via the annual transfer cycle prior to a date in late term two, and the transfers are released in the last week of term three.

The transfer process is vacancy driven, and in most circumstances a transfer to a particular location will be dependent on the number of transfer points a teacher has accumulated at the time of requesting a transfer.

Teachers have an appeal right regarding unreasonable transfers. More information about the appeal process is available on the QTU website.

Temporary teachers*

 

The QTU and DET are committed to the maximization of permanent employment in schools.

To fill a temporary vacancy in a school of five days or more in duration, the department may engage a teacher in a temporary capacity. Normally, temporary engagements occur to replace teachers who have taken a period of leave.

The Department of Education and Training State School Teachers’ Certified Agreement 2016, allows temporary teachers:

  • access to pro-rata payment over the summer vacation period (subject to particular conditions)
  • a guaranteed offer of conversion to permanency after three years continuous service and improved access to permanency when employed on successive engagements under school purchase arrangements
  • payment for attendance at student free days
  • access to the Annual Performance Review (APR) process and consequent professional development.

Temporary teachers are able to terminate an engagement, but must give the department notice of this intention. Temporary teachers who have been employed for less than one year must provide at least one weeks’ notice and those temporary teachers who have been engaged for more than one year must provide at least two weeks’ notice.

The department is lawfully able to terminate a temporary teaching engagement but certain conditions must be met, for example, a temporary teacher who is performing at an unsatisfactory standard should be informed of the performance issues and given an opportunity to improve his/her performance. The department does not specify a notice period for such terminations and provides the following information for temporary teachers:

Before an employee can be terminated, the Workforce Review Unit must be contacted on telephone (07) 3513 6512 or (07) 3513 6518.

Temporary teachers who believe their engagement may have been terminated inappropriately should contact the Union for advice.

October 2016 | Download as PDF

The information in these sections is a summary only.  Further details about the conditions listed can be found in the advice, information and legal brochures available on the QTU website on www.qtu.asn.au

LEAVE ENTITLEMENTS: a basic guide

October 2016 | Download as PDF poster

Sick leave

 

A 10 day sick leave credit is allowed at the date of beginning permanent employment. From the beginning of the second year of permanent service, or if employed on a temporary contract, sick leave is accrued at the rate of one half-day for each 18 days of service, based on a seven-day week and 52 weeks of the year.

DET has confirmed that its payroll practice is that the minimum period of deduction is 15 minutes processed in 15 minute increments in excess of this.

If you are absent through illness, you should notify the principal promptly, including the approximate period of absence. You are not required to provide details of the nature of the illness. A medical certificate or suitable documentation is required for sick leave of more than three days’ duration.

If you are subject to a formal process for monitoring performance, conduct or attendance, the Director-General may require that a medical certificate be provided to support any applicat

Meritorious sick leave credit

An additional credit of 65 working days of sick leave on full pay may be added to the sick leave account of a full-time teacher, provided that the teacher has completed 26 years of meritorious service within the Queensland public sector which counted towards long service leave accrual. Additional credit is calculated on a pro-rata basis for teachers who have been employed on a part-time basis. Applications should be made in writing to the appropriate regional director, through the principal.

Infectious diseases

A special credit of leave on full pay, not chargeable to any other leave account, may be approved if you are suffering from an infectious disease contracted during the course of employment. These diseases include German measles, measles, mumps, chicken pox, whooping cough, scabies/sarcoptes and head lice (influenza is not eligible).

Superannuation disablement benefits (income protection)

If you are required to take an extended period of sick leave, and you exhaust your entitlement to paid sick leave, you may be entitled to the payment of an income protection benefit from QSuper, approximately 75 per cent of your salary.

You cannot claim income protection if you need to care for a family member. Income protection can only be paid if you are temporarily ill or injured and are unable to work.

The benefit is payable from the beginning of the third week of continuous sick leave without pay.

You will not be entitled to an income protection benefit if:

  • your employment ends
  • you reach age 65 (if you have an Accumulation Plan)
  • you reach age 75 (if you have Defined Benefit Plan). 
     
  • Carer’s leave

    You can use sick leave accrued since 1 July 1995 to care for members of your immediate family or household who are ill. You can also seek to use your compassionate (discretionary special) leave for family illness purposes.

Long service leave

 

Long service leave is available to any employee (permanent, temporary or casual) who has completed 10 years’ continuous service, at the rate of 1.3 weeks on full pay for each year of continuous service, i.e. 13 weeks after 10 years, and a proportionate amount for an incomplete year of service.

You are now entitled to take pro-rata long service leave after seven years’ continuous service, but this does not entitle you to a cash payout.

The minimum period of long service leave which can be taken at any one time is one week. You can access it in periods of no less than one day per week or fortnight, provided the requested periods amount to:

  • five days or more in total, to facilitate the engagement of a replacement temporary teacher; or
  • a lesser period, where there is no requirement to utilise the Teacher Relief Scheme (TRS).

Long service leave can be taken at full or half pay.

Applications should be submitted through the principal and should allow for two clear terms’ notice, unless emergent reasons exist. Applications are granted subject to departmental convenience.

Parental leave

 

Paid parental leave (PPL) is the umbrella term for paid maternity leave, paid spousal leave, paid adoption leave, paid surrogacy leave, paid pre-natal leave, paid pre-adoption leave or paid pre-surrogacy leave. PPL is not available to foster carers.

To be eligible for PPL, you must have met the qualifying service period of at least 12 months’ continuous service at least once. This service is to be unbroken, or may be inclusive of paid and unpaid leave, which is credited towards service.

For temporary employees, your continuity of service with an employer is not broken if the employer re-employs you within three months of the termination of the previous contract; you must have a contract from which to take the leave.

Birth, adoptive and surrogate parents who have the primary care for a baby are entitled to 14 weeks of PPL from the department and up to 25 hours of pre-natal, pre-adoption, pre-surrogacy leave to attend appointments related to the birth, adoption or surrogacy. This can be taken in one-hour blocks, half days or full days. Evidence of each appointment needs to be provided.

Spouses have access to five hours of pre-natal leave and five days of paid spousal leave. Spousal leave is to be taken in conjunction with the birth.

Applications for PPL should be submitted through the principal, providing 10 weeks’ notice.

Domestic and family violence

 

If you are affected by domestic and family violence, you can access a minimum of 10 days per year of paid leave. A request for the leave is made to the principal. You do not have to use other leave entitlements before accessing this leave. The leave can be taken as consecutive days, single days or a fraction of a day.

You may also request further paid leave to seek support in relation to domestic and family violence. Such a request is made to the regional executive director, through the principal. The regional director or assistant regional director have the delegated authority to approve further paid leave under the directive, beyond the 10 days.

Special leave

 

Non-discretionary special leave includes election, local government, Australian Volunteers International, declared emergency or disaster situation, Defence Reserve Forces and bereavement leave.

Discretionary special leave allows the principal to use their discretion to approve up to five days paid/unpaid leave per year per reason. Examples include:

  • an emergency situation or on compassionate grounds
  • sporting competitions
  • seminars, conferences, other than as an official representative
  • returning officers
  • floods, cyclones, bushfires, etc
  • emergency management courses
  • attendance at emergencies
  • platelet and blood donors
  • pre-retirement seminars
  • change of residence
  • leave to effect a transfer
  • court attendance/jury service
  • leave to extend workplace vacations
  • study leave
  • graduation ceremonies
  • marriage leave
  • cultural leave
  • religious reasons
  • leave in lieu of duties at camp
  • other exceptional circumstances.

Extended special leave without salary

 

There are two categories:

  • leave for family responsibilities to care for dependent child or family member (minimum one term and up to seven years)
  • leave for other purposes, e.g. travel, study or other employment (minimum one term and up to three years).

DET requires two terms’ notice to consider applications for leave without salary, which should be submitted via the principal. The application for leave form can be accessed via OnePortal.

To be eligible to apply, you should have had your appointment confirmed through the submission of a satisfactory probationary report. Approval is at the discretion of the department and is dependent upon the department being able to ensure effective service delivery continues. Teachers on extended special leave can be engaged by DET as supply or contract teachers. However it will not be granted to teachers wishing to work in a non-government school, and they may have to consider resignation.

Industrial relations education (IRE) leave

 

IRE leave is paid time off to acquire knowledge and competencies in industrial relations, which can allow employees to effectively participate in consultative structures, perform a representative role and further the effective operation of grievance and dispute settlement procedures.

Employees may be granted up to five working days (or the equivalent hours) paid time off (non-cumulative) per calendar year, approved by the chief executive, to attend industrial relations education sessions. Paid leave for industrial training would fall under school cost recovery in accordance with the Teacher Relief Scheme.

October 2016 | Download as PDF |

NON CONTACT TIME FOR - primary, special and secondary teachers: a basic guide

 

Non-contact time is provided for the purpose of undertaking the planning, preparation and correction necessary to perform the role of a teacher.

The award entitlement to NCT can be used at the teacher’s discretion. The use of NCT in excess of the award entitlement is determined by the school principal.

NCT provided in accordance with the award that is foregone as a consequence of planned school activities should be replaced. How this is achieved is subject to consultation with the relevant teacher

Non-contact time – primary and special school classroom teachers

 

A full-time primary/special teacher will be provided with a minimum of two hours (120 minutes) of non-contact time per week.  This must be provided in usable blocks of time of no less than 30 minutes.

Non-contact time can be aggregated by agreement so that a minimum amount of non-contact time can occur in one week with the balance banked – however this balance must be provided to teachers prior to the end of each term, e.g. a 0.4 teacher may agree to receive 30 mins of non-contact time a week and bank the remaining 18 minutes, meaning that at the end of 10 weeks they would receive 180 minutes of non-contact time, either in one day or split over two.

Where a teacher has a split fraction, e.g. 0.6 primary specialist and 0.4 primary classroom teacher, they will receive the relevant entitlements of each fraction for each sector.

Face-to-face teaching/contact time – primary and special school classroom teachers

 

Full-time primary and special school teachers have a maximum 22 hours and 10 minutes (1,330 minutes) rostered face-to-face teaching and associated professional duties per week.

Associated professional duties include times when teachers have contact with students in forums such as assembly, form class, pastoral care, sport etc.

Full-time primary and special school teachers have a maximum 22 hours and 10 minutes (1,330 minutes) rostered face-to-face teaching and associated professional duties per week.

Associated professional duties include times when teachers have contact with students in forums such as assembly, form class, pastoral care, sport etc.

Non-contact time – secondary classroom teachers

 

A full-time secondary teacher will be provided with a minimum of three hours and 30 minutes (210 minutes) of preparation and correction time per week.  This must be provided in units no less than the length of a regular school lesson.

Non-contact time cannot be aggregated in a secondary school – subsequently preparation and correction time should be rounded up so that it fits into a regular school lesson.  As this is a minimum entitlement to preparation and correction time, the amount cannot be rounded down, e.g. preparation and correction time of 42 minutes may be rounded up to a lesson of 50 minutes in duration but cannot be rounded down to a lesson of 35 minutes duration. If the length of a regular school lesson in a secondary school is 35 minutes, a secondary teacher with an award entitlement to 42 minutes non-contact time per week should receive 2 X 35 minute lessons per week.

Face-to-face teaching/contact time – secondary classroom teachers

 

Full-time secondary school teachers have a maximum 20 hours and 40 minutes (1,240 minutes) rostered face-to-face teaching and associated professional duties per week.

Associated professional duties include times when teachers have contact with students in forums such as assembly, form class, pastoral care, sport etc. 

March 2017 [download as pdf]

 

Financial members of the QTU have access to support, advocacy and assistance that is necessary if something goes wrong during their employment with DET, examples of which could be MUP processes, code of conduct investigations or teacher transfer appeals, just to name a few.

QTU members are also entitled to be granted free assistance for a range of work-related matters. Examples include: discipline cases, student protection complaints, abusive parents, defamation and WorkCover claims..

Disciplinary rights

 

An employer must have proper disciplinary policies and procedures in place which allow proper investigation of any disciplinary actions regarding work related incidents.


More information for QTU members :

Disciplinary appeals

 

Disciplinary action that may be taken by the Department of Education and Training can range from a reprimand or warning to the teacher not to repeat the behaviour to a reduction in the officer’s pay (demotion) or a recommendation that the teacher’s employment be terminated or that they be transferred to another school.

A teacher who receives a letter asking them to “show cause” as to why they should not be disciplined, should immediately contact the Union for advice. A member needs to send in a copy of the discipline letter and a written request for legal assistance.


More information for QTU members :

Professional conduct

 

Departmental employees are required to acknowledge that they understand their obligations under the Queensland Government Code of Conduct and the department’s Standard of Practice, and agree to align their professional conduct to these obligations.

Right to Information Act

 

The Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) (“the act”) replaces the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (Qld). The preamble to the act refers to the importance in a free and democratic society of “open discussion of public affairs” and a number of other matters, including the notion that “information in the government’s possession or under the government’s control is a public resource”.


More information for QTU members : QTU Legal Brochure -  Right to Information Act (Queensland)  

Electronic media

 

As a teacher, it is important to ensure that you do not cross professional boundaries through contact with a student which is improper, or open to being interpreted as improper. It is important that you keep this in mind when using any form of electronic social network.

  • You must ensure that you do not communicate with students from a private or personal email address or mobile phone.
  • Communication with students via departmental email should be for official purposes only.
  • You must not use social networks to contact or access present students enrolled in any school or institute.
  • If you use internet social networks in your personal time, you must ensure that the content is appropriate and private, and that you restrict access to specific people who are not students.

More information for QTU members : QTU Legal Brochure - Electronic media and professional conduct

Intellectual property

Teaching materials prepared by a teacher in the course of their work for the Department of Education and Training (“the department”) belong to the department.

While you have the right to conduct remunerative activities away from your employment, involvement in such activities almost inevitably raises important issues for consideration. Advice should be sought before, not after, the event.

The department engages teachers not just to present lessons, but also to prepare material based on the curriculum as the basis of these lessons. Teachers are not free to use those materials outside of their employment with the department.


More information for QTU members : QTU Legal Brochure -  Intellectual Property Created by Teachers  

Police matters

 

If teachers are accused of having broken the law, whether in their employment or outside it, it can result in a charge or a conviction and put at risk not only the teachers' reputation, liberty and property, but their employment and teacher registration.

Whether you are innocent or guilty, what you say to other people and to police officers when the allegations are raised may have serious effects on the outcome of the proceedings against you.

Because of the serious consequences which criminal charges can have for a teacher's employment, the Union frequently gives initial legal advice, even in relation to charges which do not directly relate to the employment. Whether further legal aid is given thereafter is a matter for careful assessment by the appropriate bodies or Officers of the Union.


More information for QTU members : QTU Legal Brochure -   Teachers and the law : Police matters  

Accidents

 

In the event of an accident, you may be required to provide a statement, either by way of a report in the school-based incident report on OneSchool, or in response to a request from the Department of Education and Training.

If you believe you could be held liable for the accident in any way, no statement should be provided without first contacting the Union. In such cases, the Union will provide advice on the content of the proposed statement, to ensure your rights are protected. This procedure will not cause undue delay in the provision of a statement, and you should simply advise that you are seeking legal advice before providing a statement. If no statement is requested, it is advisable to keep a record of the circumstances of the accident for your own purposes, as an action for damages may be commenced some years after the event


More information for QTU members : QTU Legal Brochure -   Teachers and the law : accidents

Departmental records

 

Teachers are entitled to access documents held about them by the Department of Education and Training, particularly documents which are detrimental to their interests.

Teachers can ring Regional Ooffice and arrange a time to review documents.

Teachers' employment is mainly regulated by the Public Service Act 2008 (Qld) (“the act”) and the Public Service Regulation 2008 (Qld) (“the regulation)” made under that act.


More information for QTU members : QTU Legal Brochure -  Teachers' rights in relation to departmental records about them

Freedom of association

 

Freedom of association is the right of workers, including Department of Education and Training and TAFE teachers and administrators, to become and remain a member of their union and engage in legitimate union activity, without fear of discrimination.

Freedom of association is a fundamental human right recognised by the United Nations (International Labour Organisation) in C087 – Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No.87).

Australia is a signatory to this convention.   It is a right that has existed since the last century which cannot be taken away by the state government, despite its removal of many other rights of workers and their unions

Anti-discrimination complaints

 

The intention of the Anti-Discrimination Act is to promote equality of opportunity for everyone by protecting them from unfair discrimination in certain areas of activity and from sexual harassment and certain associated objectionable conduct.

Discrimination is only unlawful on the following grounds:

  • sex 
  • relationship status 
  • pregnancy 
  • parental status 
  • breastfeeding 
  • age 
  • race 
  • impairment 
  • religious belief or activity 
  • political belief or activity 
  • trade union activity 
  • lawful sexual activity 
  • gender identity 
  • sexuality 
  • family responsibilities 
  • association with, or relation to, a person identified on the basis of any of the above attributes. 

Defamation of teachers by parents and others

 

In Queensland, defamation is the publication of something that tends to lower a person’s reputation in the estimation of others by making them think less of that person, usually by bringing the person into hatred, contempt or ridicule. It is through the eyes of “ordinary, right-thinking” members of society that the defamatory nature of the publication is to be determined.

The published material must be such that reasonable people with knowledge of the circumstances would regard the publication as defamatory.  Clearly there are numerous statements made every day which are defamatory in this sense. Most of those, however, would not result in a successful defamation action if the person referred to were to sue.  

In a defamation action, a person seeking a remedy such as damages must prove that they have been defamed by way of spoken or written words, pictures, gestures, signs or other visible, non-verbal representations. That is, it must be shown that the defendant has published statements to a third person bearing defamatory imputations about an identified or identifiable plaintiff


More information for members : QTU legal Brochure, Defamation of teachers by parents and others

Alleged employee misconduct

 

When a complaint is received and assessed to be minor in nature, the Ethical Standards Unit can appoint the region, workplace or institution to investigate it, or provide managerial guidance to correct or resolve the issue. If the evidence supports the complaint, the maximum penalty is a caution.

Below are some examples that the department believes to be minor breaches of the code of conduct:

  • inappropriate or belligerent language directed at a colleague or member of the workplace community 
  • reporting unfit for duty through the affect of alcohol, drugs or medication. 

When a complaint is received that is considered to be a non-minor breach of the code of conduct, the Ethical Standards Unit may either investigate it itself or oversee an investigation by regional staff.

If the evidence supports the complaint, the Department of Education and Training’s Workforce Review Unit will consider the findings of the report, with the possibility of starting a show cause process. If asked to show cause, you will have 14 days to respond to the allegations and explain why you should not be disciplined.


 Information for members  

Download pdf

November 2016 | Download as PDF

QTU Guides - booklets to download for printing

Brochures & Fact sheets & Basic Guides: The QTU has produced brochures and fact sheets to summarise & clarify conditions of employment, rights & responsibilities of employees and employers as determined by the Awards, Certified Agreements, legislation and other information relevant to teachers as government employees in this State. 
 

we are ready to help you