Rural Educational Leadership Scholarship Initiative Guidelines 2014

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1 Rural Educational Leadership Scholarship Initiative Guidelines 2014 Supporting the development of the leadership and management capabilities of rural and remote Queensland schools May 2014

2 Key contact details Rural Educational Leadership Scholarship Department of Education, Training and Employment (DETE) PO Box Brisbane City East Q 4002 Project Officer Phone: Alex Wills Workforce Initiatives (Human Resources) Fax:

3 Rural Education Leadership Scholarship The Rural Education Leadership Scholarship is supported by the Origin Foundation and will provide Queensland state school leaders with the opportunity to undertake postgraduate studies focused on meeting the challenges of providing high quality education and care in rural, regional and remote communities. The scholarship supports the completion of the Rural Master of Education (Leadership & Management) program, offered through a partnership between Flinders University, Principals Australia Institute and the Origin Foundation. The postgraduate study program seeks to develop and enhance leadership capability for addressing the challenges and opportunities of rural contexts. Background The Origin Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Origin Energy approached the department regarding the possible implementation of the Rural Educational Leadership Scholarship initiative to support regional, rural and remote school leaders and principals in Queensland, in early The Origin Foundation is a philanthropic foundation established by Origin Energy in Its focus, chosen by the people of Origin, is to support education, training, and development programs that have the power to transform lives and improve communities. In February 2014 the Minister for Education, Training and Employment indicated his support for the Origin Foundation s Rural Education Leadership Scholarship program to be made available to rural and remote state school leaders as part of the commitment to investing in the ongoing development of staff, and in particular the leadership and management capabilities of our school principals. The central objective of the Rural Education Leadership Scholarship is to build educational leadership capacity in rural and/or remote schools across Australia by providing scholarships to support the completion of a Rural Master of Education (Leadership & Management) Degree through Flinders University. Up to 40 scholarships will be awarded across Australia, with four specifically designated for Queensland state school leaders. Overview The Rural Education Leadership Scholarship (RELS) provides successful applicants with the opportunity to undertake a Rural Master of Education (Leadership & Management) through Flinders University in South Australia. Four scholarships are available for eligible Queensland school leaders for studies commencing in Semester 2, The Origin Foundation, through Flinders University will fund the study program, with Department of Education, Training and Employment (DETE) contributing funding to support recipients to attend the compulsory residential schools during the program. To be eligible for the scholarship, school leaders must hold a four year education/teaching degree (or equivalent), have a minimum of two years experience in a school leadership role within a rural and or remote school community and who are prepared to remain in a rural/remote location for the duration of the study program. In the Queensland content, applications will be sought from state school Principals and Deputy Principals in rural and/or remote locations. In accordance with existing DETE scholarship programs recipients will be expected to maintain employment with the Department for a minimum of two years after the completion of their studies.

4 Eligibility To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must: be employed (on a permanent or temporary basis) as a Principal or Deputy Principal in a Queensland state school in rural or remote location, meet the admissions requirements of the Rural Master of Education (Leadership & Management) which include: o o a four year education/teaching degree (or equivalent) a minimum of two years experience in a school leadership role within a rural and or remote school community be committed to remaining in a rural/remote location for the duration of the study program, and be committed to maintaining employment with the Department for a minimum of two years after the completion of their studies. Scholarship Support The Origin Foundation will provide financial support in the form of a scholarship to recipients to undertake the Masters qualification. The scholarship is valued at approximately $18,000 and will be paid directly to the Flinders University to fund the full tuition, research support and amenities costs for each successful applicant. Attendance at compulsory residential schools during the study program will be supported by the Department as per the Public Service Commission directive 9/11 Domestic Travelling and Relieving Expenses in the following ways, (where applicable): airfares or kilometric allowances; reimbursement for public transport costs and taxis; accommodation; and meals and incidental allowances. Recipients who are required to attend residential schools will receive information from Flinders University prior to each residential and should contact the Workforce Initiatives Unit to make travel and accommodation arrangements. The Department will assist with bookings and arrangements on behalf of the recipients where required. Following each residential, recipients will be able to submit kilometric and travel expenses claims to the Workforce Initiatives team for processing. These claims must be received within three (3) months of each residential school. Should a successful applicant have a teaching load as part of their school responsibilities, access to funding to support teacher release (TRS) will also be provided. This will be considered on a case by case basis. Study Program The Rural Master of Education (Leadership & Management) Degree program will be taught and supported through a blend of self-paced, on-line and face to face learning modes through Flinders University. The course will be undertaken on a part-time basis, over two years commencing in Semester 2, There will be a mandatory commencement event at Flinders University from 6-9 July 2014, and there will be up to four other two to three day residential programs over the duration of the study program. The timing and location will be negotiated with the scholarship cohort. Four key principles inform the design and delivery of the Rural Master of Education (Educational Leadership & Management) Degree, namely:

5 the critical value of the ongoing professional learning of leaders; leadership formation is a critical and humanistic endeavour; the relational and contextual nature of leadership; and strengths-based and sustainable approaches to leadership. Study Pathway There are a number of innovations which make the Rural Master of Education (Educational Leadership & Management) particularly relevant for current and aspiring rural educational leaders. These include: the program builds sequentially, layering through the main topics toward a well theorised, reflexively derived but ultimately pragmatic plan for leading change; the program is integrated horizontally, drawing on ideas and opportunities that open up within the main topic to allow further exploration in the Occasional Papers or Research Pathways; 40% of the assessment is derived through online, dialogic engagement designed to strengthen the sense of community among practitioner researchers; and pathways A, B & C are designed to provide avenues toward a contribution back to the profession in the first instance and ultimately towards a reframing and a new valuing of rural contexts, people, places and spaces. The overall structure of the degree is based upon topics combined with pathways for research and/or extended professional writing Scholarship recipients will engage with the degree program as a cohort through a sustained dialogic process that draws on the strengths of their experiences together with selected readings and research. As indicated in the below table, recipients will undertake study within the main topics (left hand column) and concurrently take one of the negotiated pathways. Pathways A & B begin together and separate in a choice of research and publication either toward series of occasional papers or toward a coursework project. Table 1: Program topic map

6 Application and Selection Process Eligible state school leaders will be required to complete the online application process which includes: two written statements (500 words maximum each) detailing: o o the major challenges and opportunities for educational leaders in rural communities/contexts; how undertaking the study program will assist with creating a sustainable organisational culture and community relationships which support student learning; current Curriculum Vitae (maximum three pages); endorsement from the applicant s line manager; and contact details of two referees, one of whom should be the current line manager. For Principal s the line manager will be the relevant Assistant Regional Director or Regional Director. Deputy Principal s will require the support of their current Principal to undertake the study program. All applications for the Rural Education Leadership Scholarship will be reviewed and assessed by a selection panel. The Selection Panel will include a representative of the Principals Associations and a representative of Principals Australia. Short-listed applicants may be invited to submit additional information and if required, participate in a short telephone interview. Scholarship applicants are assessed on the basis of all information presented to demonstrate that they meet the eligibility and selection criteria. Awarding of scholarship Applications will be ranked by the selection panel and the most meritorious applicants selected. Scholarships will be awarded in accordance with the available quota. Once the selection process is complete, all applicants will be notified in writing of the outcome of their application. Successful applicants may be notified of the outcome of their application by phone prior to receiving the written notification. Applicants are required to respond to the offer within a specified period otherwise the offer is deemed to be invalid. Unsuccessful applicants will also be notified in writing and will be able to seek feedback on their application. Conditions and Agreement Scholarship recipients will be required to sign an Agreement that outlines the responsibilities of key parties and specifies the conditions of the scholarship, including the minimum service commitment (two years). The Agreement must be signed by the scholarship recipient and returned by the specified date to confirm acceptance of the scholarship. Once the Agreement has been signed by both parties, the original will be kept by DETE and a copy returned to the recipient. Under the Agreement recipients are required to: successfully complete the Rural Master of Education (Leadership & Management) program through Flinders University, during the scholarship period; commit to remaining in a rural/remote location for the duration of the study program; and commit to maintaining employment with the Department for a minimum of two years after the completion of their studies.

7 Changes to Circumstances The Department acknowledges that some changes in personal and professional circumstances may affect a scholarship recipient s ability to meet the scholarship conditions. All scholarship recipients are encouraged to contact the Workforce Initiatives team and the relevant Flinders University contact should they wish to discuss the possible implications for their scholarship if their circumstances change. Recipients who withdraw from the Rural Master of Education (Educational Leadership & Management), who do not successfully complete the study program or who change their employment status are required to immediately notify the appropriate personnel. The following table outlines the action to be taken by the recipient in specific circumstances. Recipients are also required to adhere to Flinders University timeframes and processes for withdrawal to ensure there is no academic or financial penalty. Recipients who withdraw from the scholarship program, have their scholarship revoked or cancelled or if the minimum service commitment is not undertaken, may be required to refund any financial assistance provided, depending on the individual circumstances. If there are extenuating circumstances, the recipient is required to provide written advice to the Workforce Initiatives team outlining the reasons and circumstances of the withdrawal, for consideration by the Executive Director. Key Dates The key dates for the 2014 REL scholarship are as follows: 23 May 2014 Closing date for applications Week Commencing 26 May 2014 Week Commencing 2 June June 27 June Verification and selection process completed Scholarship offers made to successful applicants Confirmation of acceptance of offers Notification to unsuccessful applicants Flinders University enrolment processes Preparations for residential school 6-9 July 2014 Mandatory commencement event at Flinders University, Adelaide December 2016 Graduation and completion of study program

8 Roles and Responsibilities The following roles and responsibilities relate to the implementation of Rural Education Leadership Scholarship program. Workforce Initiates Unit The Workforce Initiatives Unit is responsible for the implementation of the Rural Education Leadership Scholarship program in Queensland. The Team s responsibilities include: developing an application process and guidelines for the administration and implementation of the program; developing a communications and marketing plan to promote the program to relevant audiences; liaising with Origin Foundation, Principals Australia Institute and Flinders University; liaising with key stakeholders regarding the selection and support of recipients; and organising travel and accommodation for the residential schools including the booking of flights and accommodation, where required and the payment of travel, accommodation and meal allowances. Regions and Schools The line manager of the successful recipient must: acknowledge the enhanced level of commitment that accompanies undertaking the Rural Master of Education (Educational Leadership & Management); agree to release the successful applicant to attend the residential component, where required; and provide endorsement for the applicant to undertake the RELS initiative. Privacy The information collected through the RELS application process will be used by the DETE to assess an applicant s suitability for the scholarship program and the ongoing management of their scholarship, if their application is successful. The information will only be accessed and used by authorised employees within the department and the selection panel. DETE may need to disclose some of the information provided by successful applicants to Flinders University, Principals Australia Institute and the Origin Foundation to facilitate enrolment and sponsorship processes. Otherwise your information will not be disclosed to any other person or agency unless you give us express permission or we are required by law. Personal information collected by the department is handled in accordance with the Information Privacy Act The collection of this information is in accordance with the obligations, powers and functions concerning the employment of public sector employees by DETE outlined in the Public Service Act 2008 (including Directives made there under), Industrial Relations Act 1999, Statistical Returns Act 1896, Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian Act 2000, Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 and Queensland Government.

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