Changing times, changing conditions: The work of primary teachers in Queensland government schools

Year: 1994

Author: Sachs, Judith, Logan, Lloyd, Dempster, Neil

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In 1988 the Queensland Department of Education undertook a major organisational and administrative restructuring following the publication of the report entitled Focus on Schools. In common with the national and international trend towards the application of corporate managerialist principles in education, the restructuring emphasised decentralisation and participative management at the local and school level. We argue that this has led to the imposition of new conditions of work for school administrators and teachers, including the redefinition of the nature and scope of the work of managing and teaching in schools. The public rhetoric of administrators and teachers is that the changing conditions of education systems and schools has led to significant intensification of their daily work.

This paper explores the substance of this rhetoric. The issues addressed include changes to the Public Service and Department of Education regulations governing the school as a work place, studies of teacher workloads, and analysis of data gained from the PSPP (a national study of primary schooling). In particular, the impact of increased internal and external accountability (e.g., programs, procedures, promotion), involvement in school self-management, changes in the provision of professional development, increased parental and community participation, and the redefinition of professionalism will provide the framework for the development of our argument.