EDUCATION Queensland will spend $2.5 million to jettison 500 under-performing primary school teachers. Under the voluntary program, dubbed the "burnt out bonus", eligible classroom teachers can apply for a grant of up to $50,000 by May 25 to help them make the transition to study, business or another career.
Education Minister Rod Welford said the move would open the way for new, enthusiastic teachers to take their places. "We are aware there are some primary teachers who would like to leave the profession and do something different," he said. "This program recognises the service provided to Queensland by these teachers and supports their goal of moving to a new career. "It's a positive for the teachers seeking change - and for the new primary-trained graduates waiting in the wings."
About 1200 teachers have already left Education Queensland since the Government first offered the controversial Career Change Program in 2002. Mr Welford said the program was self-funding through the savings made from the salary difference between senior teachers and new graduates. He said principals and regional officers would decide who was eligible for the bonus and he had made it clear the department was to be proactive in ensuring top performing teachers were not lost as part of the scheme.
While the teachers are not encouraged to seek work in non-government schools, Education Queensland cannot prevent them doing so. However, to obtain the $50,000, they must show details of how the $50,000 will help them establish a new career.
Queensland Teachers Union president Steve Ryan said the payout scheme would allow teachers "to change careers with dignity" and open opportunities for unemployed primary teaching graduates. Queensland Council of Parents and Citizens Associations executive officer Greg Donaldson also welcomed the move. "If Education Queensland is going to look at rejuvenating the teaching workforce with all the new initiatives that have been talked about lately, then we would certainly support this scheme as it is all about getting the best for our kids," Mr Donaldson said.
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