IPS expressions of interest process
The expression of interest process to become an Independent Public School (IPS) opened on 17 July and closes on 5 September.
The QTU does not support schools nominating for the IPS program, as a result of the department and government’s failure to recognise teachers as key stakeholders in last year’s IPS decisions.
Last year, schools in which the majority of QTU members voted against the program were still selected for IPS, despite statements made by the Minister that he would not support a school becoming IPS if the staff did not support the nomination. The Director-General justified the selection of these schools by stating that the school staff were one stakeholder in the process, but were weighted no differently from the community and students. This statement contradicts those made by the Minister.
The QTU believes that the staff at the school are the most significant stakeholder group and that their views should prevail when determining whether a school should become an IPS. At least one school was selected even though the department was aware that the nomination had been submitted against the wishes of QTU members at the school, who had clearly voted against nominating to become an IPS.
The QTU has continued to work with any school that chose to become IPS in spite of a staff ballot against the nomination.
What action do we take if our school is considering becoming an IPS?
Should your school be considering nominating for IPS, the QTU’s advice is that members should participate in the consultation process and conduct a ballot regarding their school’s nomination for the program. For the reasons identified above, the Union encourages members to vote against nominating to become an IPS. A clear no vote will send a message to the Minister that he needs to listen to QTU members. The acceptance of nominations from schools at which the staff have clearly voted against IPS will further demonstrate to members the Minister’s determination to ignore their point of view and attack the profession. However, where members vote in favour of their school nominating to become IPS, the QTU does not oppose the school doing so.
What does this mean for those members in IPS?
The withdrawal of support for IPS will not impact on those members who are currently in IPS. The QTU will continue to work to support all members and to advocate to protect the working conditions of members in all settings across Queensland.
The QTU has never supported the rationale of the IPS program, but it did not oppose schools wanting to nominate for IPS under certain conditions.
In 2013, the QTU’s position statement on IPS clearly indicated that “the QTU supports schools that wish to exercise increased school autonomy, within the following parameters.
- Schools wishing to move to models of higher degrees of school based management and decision making, do so only after a thorough process of consultation with and approval by the school community, including endorsement by the local consultative committee.
- School funds that are allocated to the school for staffing must be used for the employment of staff.
- Notional allocations for staffing should be used rather than real dollar allocations to schools for staffing.
- All state schools should remain a part of a continuing viable transfer system for classroom teachers and relocation system for classified officers.
- Where schools move to a model of governance incorporating school councils, the role of those councils will focus only on broad strategic direction.
- The government retains responsibility for funding of specific systemic imperatives eg. workers compensation, workplace health and safety requirements.
- School decisions and actions are compliant with existing industrial agreements and conditions within certified agreement or established memoranda of agreement .
- Any scheme must be the subject of negotiation and agreement between the QTU and the department, and the agreement must be in an enforceable form."
The QTU did oppose schools nominating for IPS in 2012, because at the time the department had not negotiated a set of guarantees protecting members whose schools entered the program. It was negotiation of the IPS Memorandum of Agreement that allowed the QTU to step back from recommending that schools not nominate for IPS in 2013.
As stated in the Newsflash sent on 30 April, should DETE and the government give a commitment that the views of QTU members will prevail when determining which schools should become IPS, then the QTU may review its current position.
For further information regarding the consultation process for IPS, please access the QTU IPS Consultation Kit.
Assistant Secretary - Education Leaders
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 119 No 6, 22 August 2014, p16