Managing unsatisfactory performance – heads of program, heads of school, assistant principals and deputy principals procedure

Version number 1.0 | Version effective 11 February 2013
Managing unsatisfactory performance – heads of program, heads of school, assistant principals and deputy principals procedure


All state schools


Provides processes and procedures for the identification and management of unsatisfactory performance of State School Heads of Program and Deputy Principals.

This procedural policy provides a framework within which Heads of Program and Deputy Principals will have an opportunity to address concerns about unsatisfactory performance in such a way that:

  • recognises the key role of employees in student achievement and student outcomes
  • acknowledges their key role in putting Education Queensland’s values into practice and in realising the vision of Education Queensland, and
  • ensures efficiency, equity, dignity and confidentiality in dealing with an employee’s unsatisfactory performance and acknowledges the potential for an ongoing contribution to quality classroom teaching only where teaching and learning practices in their classroom/s are not subject to the MUP process (i.e. unsatisfactory performance has been identified in the leadership/management functions of the employee's role alone).


The objective of this Managing Unsatisfactory Performance (MUP) procedural policy is to ensure employees are meeting or exceeding performance expectations.

This procedural policy forms part of the Valuing Performance Policy Statement.

Prior to implementing a MUP process, it is assumed that the employee is aware of expectations of their performance and performance development as conveyed through:

  • recruitment, selection and induction programs;
  • the employee’s role description;
  • The Developing Performance Framework; and
  • performance feedback from the principal with respect to their performance.

The Developing Performance Framework is separate from procedures for the management of unsatisfactory performance. It is assumed, however, that expectations of performance and performance development will form part of a written performance management tool, such as the Developing Performance Framework, between the employee and their Principal. The absence of such a written performance management tool does not preclude the application of this policy in the event of an employee’s unsatisfactory performance.

The MUP process is not the appropriate process for identification and delivery of performance development needs – which remains the function of the Developing Performance Framework. Nevertheless previously agreed participation in, and scheduled attendance at, performance development opportunities identified through the Developing Performance Framework will continue throughout the MUP process. Resources and assistance rather than professional development opportunities will be made available to the employee through the MUP process.

Unsatisfactory performance will be the subject of ongoing informal performance feedback between the employee and the Principal. The ongoing informal communication of performance expectations and performance concerns will enable emergent performance concerns to be identified and addressed as they arise.

This informal feedback will also assist the Principal in:

  • identifying and clearly communicating performance concerns at the earliest opportunity;
  • ascertaining any legitimate mitigating factors, including medical conditions and/or personal reasons, that may assist in explaining performance concerns and/or need to be taken into consideration in applying MUP processes; and
  • informally developing and implementing strategies to address identified issues.

It is intended that issues that may lead to a formal MUP process will usually be identified informally in the first instance. Formal management of unsatisfactory performance processes will usually be applied in the event of unaddressed, ongoing and/or significant performance concerns.

Employees who refuse or fail to participate in the MUP process may be liable for disciplinary action under the Public Service Act 2008.

While injury or illness may be a cause of, or contribute to, unsatisfactory performance, each matter should be assessed on a case by case basis to determine whether or not it is appropriate to be managed under the MUP process. In these instances, appropriate consultation with a trained workplace rehabilitation or organisational health officer should be undertaken.

It is not appropriate that the MUP process be implemented or continued where unsatisfactory performance is associated with a pre-existing illness or injury. When an employee accesses sick leave during a MUP process, that officer may be referred for an Independent Medical Examination where deemed appropriate.

For further information, please contact the Organisational Health Unit.

Where any party directly involved in a MUP process submits during the course of a MUP process a formal complaint associated with the MUP process or against individuals involved in the MUP process, the employee’s Principal will notify the Regional Director or their delegate who will put in place appropriate arrangements for the MUP process to continue according to documented timelines, wherever possible, or with minimal delay in the process.

These arrangements may include but are not limited to:

  • investigation and finalisation of the formal complaint within seven days; or
  • assignment of responsibility for progressing the MUP process to a School Leader within the school (who previously has not been involved in the MUP process) or a School Leader from another school until such time as the formal grievance has been investigated and finalised, at which time responsibility will revert to the employee’s Principal.

Performance issues of a sufficiently serious and pressing nature or involving serious risk to student or staff health and safety should be dealt with under the Public Service Act 2008, the Code of Conduct for the Queensland Public Service and/or the Department of Education, Training and Employment Standard of Practice.

Employees will be advised of the intention to implement a formal MUP process and be provided with an opportunity to seek the advice and support of a union representative and/or colleague in all meetings during which matters pertaining to the MUP process are discussed.

Employees will be afforded the opportunity to respond to all performance concerns, including raising possible reasons for unsatisfactory performance.


Employees are responsible and accountable for:

  • leading and managing officers
  • student achievement and student outcomes
  • their own performance
  • their own professional development through their positive engagement with the Developing Performance Framework
  • maintenance of relevant documentation and
  • compliance with relevant legislation

Employees responsibilities and accountabilities may also include:

  • effective and efficient teaching and learning practices in their classroom/s
  • school administration functions, including but not limited to curriculum development/delivery, behaviour management and human resource management
  • regularly monitoring the performance of officers under their supervision and providing appropriate feedback and, where necessary, assistance in a timely manner
  • managing the unsatisfactory performance of officers under their supervision in accordance with the relevant MUP policy when unsatisfactory performance is identified
  • leading successful change and development and
  • providing leadership in the school community

The Principal (or delegate) is responsible and accountable for:

  • clearly communicating performance concerns and performance goals
  • monitoring the employee’s performance
  • helping to identify resources and assistance in consultation with the Head of Program/Deputy Principal for the purpose of the Head of Program/Deputy Principal addressing performance concerns and meeting performance goals
  • ensuring the Head of Program/Deputy Principal is afforded natural justice throughout the MUP process

The Principal is responsible for all final decisions and recommendations under stages 1 and 2 of the process.

However, a Principal may choose to delegate their supervisory duties to another School Leader (e.g. Deputy Principal) who holds a position classified higher than that of the employee.

The Regional Director or their delegate is responsible and accountable for:

  • informing the employee in writing that the MUP process will proceed to Stage 3
  • nominating two external review officers

The Regional Director is responsible and accountable for:

  • considering the Stage 3 – External Review report, and may:
    • dismiss the matter providing reasons for doing so to the employee and employee’s Principal; or
    • submit to the Board of Review a letter recommending that the Board of Review consider a particular form of disciplinary action, including termination of employment, pursuant to Section 187 of the Public Service Act 2008 and attaching a summary of the MUP process and relevant documentation; or
    • take any other appropriate action.

The Board of Review is responsible and accountable to:

  • Meet and take action as per Stage 4 of the MUP process.

The Assistant Director-General, Human Resources is responsible and accountable for:

  • Determining the final administrative action on an unsatisfactory performance report as per Stage 4 of the MUP process.


MUP processes provide the employee with an opportunity to address concerns about their performance.

For further information on the stages in a MUP process, refer to the Performance Process Flowchart and the Managing Unsatisfactory Performance Process.




Board of Review

The Board of Review consists of:

  • the Executive Director, Workforce Management and Support;
  • a State School Principal;
  • a State High School Principal; and
  • a representative of the Queensland Teachers’ Union.

Disciplinary Action

Under section 187 of the Public Service Act 2008 a public service officer's chief executive may discipline the officer if the chief executive is reasonably satisfied the officer has:

  • Performed the officer's duties carelessly, incompetently or inefficiently; or
  • Been guilty of misconduct; or
  • Been absent from duty without approved leave and without reasonable excuse; or
  • Contravened, without reasonable excuse, a direction given to the officer as a public service officer by a responsible person; or
  • Used, without reasonable excuse, a substance to an extent that has adversely affected the competent performance of the officer's duties; or
  • Contravened, without reasonable excuse, a provision of this Act or an obligation imposed on the person under a code of conduct:
    • Approved under the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994; or
    • Prescribed under a directive of the commission chief executive.

Examples of disciplinary action that may be taken under section 188 of the Public Service Act 2008 include:

  • reduction of classification level and a consequential change of duties; and/or
  • transfer or redeployment to other public service employment; and/or
  • reduction of remuneration level; and/or
  • a reprimand.

Disciplinary action can only be instigated by the appropriate delegate.


An ‘employee’ is defined as a person who is employed in a promotional position (other than Principals) under the Teachers’ Award – State 2012 who is undergoing a Managing Unsatisfactory Performance process. More specifically, Heads of Program, Assistant Principals and Deputy Principals.

Head of Program/ Deputy Principal

Includes Heads of Program, Heads of School, Assistant Principals and Deputy Principals.

Head of Program/Deputy Principal’s supervisor

An officer responsible for the supervision of a Head of Program/Deputy Principal and their work.

Managing Unsatisfactory Performance – Heads of Program, Heads of School, Assistant Principals and Deputy Principals (MUP)

The process that incorporates the Identification and Improvement plan and the review periods to improve the performance of an employee covered by this procedural policy to a satisfactory standard for their role.


See Managing Unsatisfactory Performance – Heads of Program, Heads of School, Assistant Principals and Deputy Principals.


A reference to “Principal” within the procedural policy includes a Principal’s delegate (excluding where the Principal is required to make a decision/recommendation).

Unsatisfactory Performance

Work performance by an employee that is below the satisfactory standard for the role in which they are engaged.



Other resources

Superseded versions

Previous seven years shown. Minor version updates not included.


Review date

30 September 2014
Attribution CC BY