The Teachers Are Blowing Their Whistles!


Not enough Queensland teachers are interested in becoming school principals. 

As few as one or two candidates are applying for some principal jobs in Queensland.

The Australian Primary Principals Association national survey of 929 principals released in Brisbane in September 2017 revealed that many Queensland principals are working 70-hour weeks.

"Exhausted", "lonely", "put on 20kg since being appointed", "spend so much time in front of two computer screens ... the joy has gone from my role as principal", "it is physically dangerous to go to work for some principals, let alone psychologically damaging",  were some of the responses.

The health and wellbeing of principals was lower than the general population. 

96 per cent agreed employer and government accountability requirements were increasing.

Hundreds of school principals will reach retirement age in the next decade - just as Queensland is set to build scores of new schools.

"The big challenge we have is the growing problem of deputies who are not keen to take the next step,"  Queensland Association of State School Principals president Michael Faye said.

Queensland Secondary Principal's Association president Andrew Pierpoint said the mental health of high school leaders was so critical, it had just set up a psychological service.In the first month, the service was used by eight school leaders, one of whom has since resigned, Mr Pierpoint said. 

He said while mental health was a major issue, conditions, workload and societal expectations all contributed.

"We have a lack of people applying for principalships right across the board ... and going forward, I can't see that improving greatly," he said.

Queensland Teachers' Union president Kevin Bates said a public awareness campaign was needed to address aggression against school leaders.

The top job too few want, Emmaline Stigwood, P.10-11, The Courier-Mail, 17 September 2017

"It is horrible".

It is horrible - dealing with parents and children is hard enough, but on top of that you have the Department breathing down your neck.

Margaret, Reader's Comment,  The top job too few want, Emmaline Stigwood, P.10-11, The Courier-Mail, 17 September 2017

"The promotion system for school principals is flawed - Jobs go to 'the boys'."

The system of promotion for principals is flawed ... constantly changing the rules and how to address what the system wants ... only for jobs to be given to "the boys". 

There's a lot of it goes on.

Craig, Reader's Comment,  The top job too few want, Emmaline Stigwood, P.10-11, The Courier-Mail, 17 September 2017

"Principals are sandwiched between the demands of whinging parents, 'smart' academics, lefties in the Education Department and Head Office boffins trying to cover their backsides". 

The principals are the meat in the sandwich. 

On one side you have the whinging parents protecting their spoilt brats. 

On the other side you have all the "smart" academics and lefties in the Education Department coming up with a whole lot of rubbish to be included in the curriculum, as well as compliance paperwork so that Head Office boffins cover their own backsides.

Avatar for Bernie, Reader's Comment,  The top job too few want, Emmaline Stigwood, P.10-11, The Courier-Mail, 17 September 2017

Why do the QTU want a QTU rep on principal promotion panels? Who will benefit?

In 2013 the Queensland LNP government removed QTU representation from principal selection panels.

On 20 May 2015 the new Labor government put QTU reps back on the selection panels.

The panels will now consist of four members -

 * a chairperson with line accountability for the performance of the principal, eg. regional  director / assistant regional director.

 * a person selected in consultation with the school's parents and citizens' association or school council.

Robina Cosser says : Could there be a conflict of interest here?

Sometimes the acting principal's husband is the chairperson of the P and C.

He may also be a full or part-time school employee.

Sometimes school office staff are members of the P and C. 

Should an employee of the acting principal interview the acting principal for the principal's position?

Does this person have a good education themselves?

Can they read?

Do they have a good character?

Do we want poorly-educated people who cannot hold down a job themselves selecting school principals?

Doesn't this double-disadvantage our most disadvantaged children?

 * a representative of the QTU.

Would the QTU rep be biased towards QTU activists?

Labor party members / activists? You do notice that they seem to be well promoted.

Men? Because men have more time to attend union meetings.

Many women have to go home to work the "second shift" at home.

 * a representative of the sector-specific principal association. 

So many principals seem to have problems.

Are they really the right people to choose each other and promote each other?

Do we really want more of the same?


I would really like to know that principals can read and write before they are promoted.

I knew one principal who was one one of these panels.

His writing skills were amazingly poor, so I suspected he was on the panel to collect samples of applications to use in making his own promotion application.

I would also like be sure that a person has read the departmental policies and was able to apply them to their own behaviour BEFORE they were promoted. 

To do less than this is to expose classroom teachers to the risk of MUP-harm from a nervy, incompetent newbie principal.

This is a Workplace Health and Safety issue.

QTU returns to principal selection panels, Paige Bousen, P.19, Vol 120 No 5 Queensland Teachers' Journal, 17 July 2015

Understanding the Education Queensland promotion system.

Prosecuting barrister David Kent QC told Southport Magistrates Court that in December 2011, Education Queensland's former director-general Julie Grantham had a Christmas party at her family home.

At the party, Julie Grantham told David Morgan, the Education Department's Gold Coast director of marketing and operations, that she wanted Runaway bay Sports Super Centre principal Mark Wingett 'removed'.

And Mark Wingett was transferred.

Hunter Paltridge, 'a person known to Ms Grantham', submitted a late application for Mr Wingett's job.

Mr Paltridge was short-listed by a selection panel headed by David Morgan.

Mr Paltridge finished equal fifth on the shortlist of candidates.

Education Queensland's former Gold Coast boss Glen Hoppner instructed David Morgan to employ Mr Paltridge and to advise the other candidates that they had missed out.

Glen Hoppner nepotism plot cooked up at Christmas party hosted by former Education Queensland director-general, court told, Greg Stolz, The Courier-Mail, 30 October 2015

Queensland classroom teachers need better official processes to deal with dysfunctional school principals.

A third of state school principals would like the power to dismiss teachers (Courier-Mail, 16 January 2012).

It is worth remembering there are occasions when schools, and students, would be better off if panels of senior teachers had the power to dismiss principals.

The Education Queensland bureaucrats who supervise principals are seldom in schools so it takes a while for them to realise when things are going off the rails.

Garry Collins, Stafford Heights, In Brief, Talking Point, P. 18, The Courier-Mail, 17 January 2012.

The Education Queensland promotion system is dysfunctional - incompetence is rewarded.
Many Queensland teachers know that incompetence in teaching is rewarded.
I am a teacher and see all the time that those who cannot cope in classrooms are rewarded by being promoted. It happens all the time.
Non teaching positions in schools are full of people who should not be allowed to teach.
One of my teaching partners is an appalling teacher yet she will probably be eased into a comfy non teaching role.
The system is wrong.
Chris of Brisbane, Reader's Comment 1 of 17, Teacher performance bonuses 'unnecessary', educators say, Tanya Chilcott, 30 August 2011
A review of the leadership criteria in Queensland Department of Education and Training  ( DET ) schools is urgently needed.

Leadership teams in Queensland schools are very poorly selected.

"Leaders" of Education Queensland schools just seem to have to interview well.

We don't have Queensland school leaders today with a specific, substantial content knowledge base, such as a science HOD who actually is a science teaching guru, someone a young teacher can approach with any curriculum question.

How can this new breed of "I interviewed well. I deserve it " DET school leaders act with sensitive intelligence in conflict resolution situations?

They just can't.

Education Queensland is committed to appeasing the show ponies with rapid promotion at the expense of teachers with outstanding HR skills, deep knowledge in their KLA and excellent rapport with the students.

This is the case in most Education Queensland schools.

Leadership criteria review is crucial.

Rick O'Shea of Bulimba, Reader's comment 29 of 68, Staff room turns into war zone as Indooroopilly State High School calls in mediators, Tanya Chilcott, The Courier-Mail : 26 November 2010

It is about time someone started talking about Queensland school principals and the way that they are appointed and how their performance is managed.

Our school principal is less than impressive and Education Queensland knows it but no action is ever taken.

Bronwyn of Toowoomba, Reader's Comment 8 of 9, School principal investigated over claims he "bullied" teachers, Alison Sandy, The Courier-Mail, 11 March 2010.

Education Queensland is well aware of all the underperforming and / or badly behaved principals in the State School system.

However, for Education Queensland to admit that a State School principal is behaving or performing below expectation is to admit that the promotion process or the system within which principals operate is flawed.

And we couldn't have that, could we?

It's time that all principals, not just executive principals, are put on 3 year contracts that are not renewed if they underperform or prove to be bad managers.

George Perry of Clontarf, Reader's Comment 14 of 14 : School principal investigated over claims he "bullied" teachers., Alison Sandy, The Courier-Mail, 11 March 2010.

Many Queensland teachers leave when they see poor-quality people promoted.
... Crawlers and golfing buddies of those in high places are given favoured treatment such as promotions. ...
"A woman of 23 who had one year's experience as principal of a one-teacher school was appointed principal of an 18-teacher school."
Fred, a teacher with 30 years of classroom experience, quoted by Des Houghton in Teachers' view on the "missing" , p. 54, The Courier-Mail, May 30-31, 2009
Queensland teachers are regularly blocked from promotion by self-interested bureaucrats.

Former Queensland Studies Authority chairman Professor Bob Lingard says that Queensland state school teachers are regularly blocked from promotion by self-interested Education Queensland bureaucrats.

"Often we get those promoted because they go along with what's happening with those above them," the Professor said.

Smart State students in exodus to private schools, James O'Loan, The Courier-Mail, Monday 5  January 2009


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