Reappointment and Remuneration Incentives for Leaders
The Education and Children’s Services Act 2019 (the Act) and the Education and Children’s Services Regulations 2020, provide new statutory provisions that enable the expansion of managerial decision making on employment areas of direct interest to school and preschool leaders. SASSLA has made representations to the Department on how reappointment provisions and remuneration incentives are best made operational.
In general terms, we see the new provisions for reappointment and the use of remuneration incentives for attraction and retention in a positive light and in alignment with contemporary human resources management. We have also presented our thinking on issues we see as vital to leaders’ interests and important to the broader interests of the public education system.
A brief summary of each policy area, including our views, is provided below.
Reappointment – Regulation 51(2)(a)
The Department has just released its procedure which provides operational detail on how the reappointment process will work.
Under the new procedure, an appointment to a role may be up to 10 years from the initial merit selection to a role. This does not apply if the requirements of the role or the classification level has changed.
The procedure makes it clear that reappointment is a discretionary management decision and is not an entitlement. This means each decision for reappointment is dealt with on its merits and if a new appointment is not offered to the incumbent of the position it will be advertised and filled through a merit selection process.
The procedure applies to Band A and Band B positions with some differences in process requirements for each Band. It is important that you read the procedure in full to ensure you have a complete understanding of process requirements.
For Principals and Preschool Directors, the elements of the procedure we see as positive are:
- The emphasis on continuous evaluation of performance in the role by the Education Director and use of this information in the decision as to whether to offer reappointment.
- The requirement for discussion with the incumbent in the role and the Governing Council before making a final decision.
- The indicative timelines established which emphasise early decision making so incumbents know where they stand and can consider other opportunities if the need arises.
For Band B leaders, the principles are much the same but there are some process differences.
- The decision making role for reappointment is with the Principal except for Deputy Principals where consultation with the Education Director is required.
- There is no requirement to consult the Governing Council or PAC prior to making a reappointment.
The reappointment procedure provides the Department with increased flexibility to retain leaders in jobs where they are performing well and, for many members, this will be a positive experience.
We accept a decision of this type must is discretionary in nature, but we hold this in balance with the fact that good decision making demands sound, consistent and fair processes. Ultimately, it is leaders’ confidence in the process that will be the best measure of its success.
We are very interested in your experience of the process so we can provide feedback to the Department. We welcome all feedback and are always happy to talk to people directly if they want to share their experience.
SASSLA has recently provided comment on a draft of the proposed new policy on the use of remuneration incentives for attraction and retention.
We see the continuing need for the use of incentives to attract and retain the leaders and teachers that are needed to support a high-quality public education system in hard to staff locations. In a changing labour market, the flexibility to respond to different conditions is crucial to our members in rural, remote and genuinely hard to staff positions.
In taking this position, we have sounded a caution that the unfettered use of remuneration incentives may create more problems than it solves. A direct take out from our submission is included below:
The labour market in public education has never been a level playing field and preferred schools and locations have greater market power. This trend appears to be becoming more embedded due to demographic, economic and cultural changes. Remuneration incentives should act as a counterbalance to pre-existing market power and not exacerbate it. A significant risk associated with the introduction of a more open and accessible scheme of attraction and retention allowances is that some schools will be able to compete more successfully for scarce resources than others and these schools may not be the schools of greatest need.
A defined and robust system of governance that manages at a system level must be established and maintained. An effective system of governance is supported by:
- A solid evidence base of the supply and demand characteristics of the teaching labour market (teachers and leaders) that is regularly reviewed and updated. This evidence base is used to inform objective decision making.
- A capacity to conduct independent evaluation of submissions.
- An independent decision maker with the responsibility for managing system wide interests.
We are confident that the Department has listened to our views and the next draft of the policy will incorporate key elements of our thinking.
SASSLA continues to be the voice of school and preschool leaders in providing critical feedback to the Department on policy proposals.