Requirements for appointment
Early Childhood Education and Care
The area of early childhood education is not regulated on a nationwide basis in Austria, instead it is within the sphere of responsibility of the provinces. The employment requirements for managers of childcare facilities are therefore regulated in the respective provincial laws and are not uniform across Austria. However, they usually include
- a field-specific qualification as well as
- several years of professional experience as a kindergarten teacher.
In the province of Vienna, an additional statutory training requirement for kindergarten heads was introduced in 2018 (see Vienna Kindergarten Act (WGKK) – amendment: Provincial Law Gazette No 35/2019). Since then, only specialists with at least five years of professional experience can be appointed as heads who can prove a management training to the extent of at least 100 teaching units. This training must cover the following competence areas (cf. § 3a WGKK):
- quality management,
- personnel management, team development and team leadership,
- conflict management,
- complaint management,
- personality competence,
- legal and economic framework conditions for kindergarten operations,
- working with parents,
- public relation.
With the entry into force of the Education Reform Act 2017, schools were given more autonomy, i.e. more freedom of action as regards educational, organisational and personnel aspects. The aim of improving the framework conditions was (and still is) to increase the quality of the educational work. This has also changed the role of the school management, for whom the aforementioned law stipulates a uniform and standardised selection procedure (cf. german comment).
The tendering process starts with the announcement of the management position by the responsible Board of Education. According to the Act on Staff Employed by Private-law Contract 1948 (cf. § 44), the school head has to meet the following requirements (see requirement profile):
- technical and pedagogical aptitude as well as at least five years of professional experience as a teacher in schools
- successful completion of the first part of the course “Managing schools professionally” (20 ECTS) or, respectively, proof of relevant leadership and management skills
- development concept for the desired function at the respective school
An assessment committee (Begutachtungskommission, BK) is set up at the board of education, the composition of which is regulated by law (see also the rules of procedure). Its task is to check the applications received for their compliance with the requirements. Those applicants who meet the requirements are to be assigned to an assessment and then invited to a hearing in front of the BK. The BK determines whether the applicant is suitable to the “highest degree”, to a “high degree” or to a “lesser degree”. A reasoned opinion regarding the suitability of the applicants subjected to the hearing must be submitted by the chair of this committee within three months. Before forwarding the report, the chairperson has to grant a member of the respective body authorised by the school partnership committee (school cluster advisory board, school community committee or school forum) to inspect the report on request. A period of two weeks must be allowed for inspection.
The appointment is initially effective for a period of five years. Within four and a half years, the holder of the management function is obliged to complete the school management course “Managing schools professionally”. A renewed appointment does not require a tendering or appointment process; if the re-appointment takes place, it is effective for an indefinite period of time.
In addition to the school management, the school cluster management (Schulclusterleitung) is another important management function in the school system. The possibility of forming school clusters was created with the Education Reform Act 2017 (cf. more information). In a cluster two to eight schools (with 200 to 2,500 students) cooperate in organisational and educational matters. Instead of individual school leaders, school clusters have a school cluster leader who takes on the tasks of the previous school leaders. At each school location there is a division manager (Bereichsleiter/in) who supports the cluster management at the individual locations.
Other management functions in schools (cf. Section 10 of the School Education Act) include:
- Department head (Abteilungsvorstand/-vorständin) and subject head (Fachvorstand/-vorständin): Department and subject heads are teachers with a special function in VET programmes. They are subordinate to the school head, but act as immediate superiors for the teaching staff. Department heads are responsible for an entire department/unit within the school, e.g. for a field of specialisation, for evening schools or for practical kindergartens attached to an ECEC teacher training college. Subject heads are in charge of specific subjects taught at schools, e.g. for languages, informatics, business administration etc. The extent of the teaching load they must complete depends on the number of classes in the respective school. Both heads receive a service bonus, the amount of which is based on the number of supervised classes and is specified in the 2013 Amendment to the Service Code – Pedagogical Service.
- Subject coordinator (Fachkoordinator/in): Subject coordinators are teachers appointed by the school head who are responsible for performance-differentiated compulsory subjects at one-year pre-vocational schools as well as part-time vocational schools (see BMBWF Ordinance for Recruitment of Subject Coordinators).
- Custodians (Kustode/Kustodin): If required by the circumstances of the school, the school head has to entrust teachers with the provision for the use of teaching materials and other school facilities in accordance with the pedagogical principles.
- Workshop manager (Werkstättenleiter/in /) and building yard manager (Bauhofleiter/in): At vocational schools, the school head has to entrust teachers with the management of the workshops or the building yard. They have to take care of the operational management, the course of training in the workshop instruction and the procurement of the necessary materials.
- Head of class (Klassenvorstand/-vorständin) (in five-year VET programmes: head of year – Jahrgangsvorstand/-vorständin): At schools in which lessons are given by subject teachers, the school head has to appoint a teacher of this class as the head of class. In cooperation with the other teachers, the head of class is responsible for the coordination of the educational work for its class, the coordination of the teaching work with the performance situation of the class and the resilience of the students; furthermore for advising the students on teaching and educational matters, and maintaining the connection between school and legal guardians, the performance of the necessary organisational tasks as well as the management of the official documents.
Conditions of Service
Early Childhood Education and Care
The wages of staff (including managing staff) in childcare establishments in Austria – except for the minimum wage for private childcare establishments – are not regulated on a nationwide basis and therefore differ depending on the province. Within the provinces the wages for public childcare establishments also differ because different wage tables apply for the province and the respective municipalities, and the employees can be either provincial or municipal officials. In addition, there are also many private providers of childcare facilities which determine their salary scheme autonomously. Generally, for management staff at childcare establishments in most provinces there are different bonuses of increasing amounts according to the number of managed groups.
The extent of continuing training measures which have to be completed for staff involved in childcare is also regulated differently depending on the province: while in Vienna and Carinthia, for example, there are no in-service training measures required by law, other provinces foresee a compulsory period of several days per year (e.g. two days in the Tyrol, four days in Lower Austria). A specific need for continuing training for management staff at childcare establishments is not stipulated by law.
Various laws and ordinances regulate the various management functions in schools. These include:
- School Education Act (Schulunterrichtsgesetz, SchUG): Section 10 of this important school act lists the “functions of the teacher”. Reference is also made to teachers with specific functions, such as department or subject heads. The law regulates the types of schools in which these functions can be established and under what conditions.
- Act on Staff Employed by Private-law Contract (Vertragsbedienstetengesetz, VBG): Section II of this act contains central regulations on the appointment, area of responsibility, rights and obligations, scope of work, remuneration and dismissal of school heads, department and subject heads.
- 2013 Amendment to the Service Code – Pedagogical Service (Dienstrechts-Novelle 2013 – Pädagogischer Dienst): This law includes service, salary and retirement regulations for school heads and teachers.