How it works
There are two voluntary higher levels of teacher accreditation which recognise, experienced, highly skilled and exemplary teachers. They are:
- Highly Accomplished
- Lead Teacher
Highly Accomplished teachers are characterised as advocate of the profession, who contribute to the professional learning of peers, act as mentors to new teachers and demonstrate strong engagement with the school and local community.
Lead teachers are exemplary with exceptional teaching records. They are committed to quality teaching and learning and their leadership have impacts on the school, their students and colleagues which extends to the broader community.
Reflect on and evaluate your practice
Applying for higher level teacher accreditation is a significant career decision. Before starting, consider where you are in terms of your practice. You should methodically assess if your teaching practice is to the Standard Descriptors that applies to the relevant career stage.
Steps involved in Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher accreditation
- Know and understand the Standards
- Speak to your principal/service director
- Do the NESA (prev BOSTES) online preliminary assessment
- Collect evidence and submit application.
Know and understand the Standards
The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers describe the seven Standards outlining what teachers should know, and be able to do, to teach effectively.
To achieve Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher accreditation you need to demonstrate that you meet all the Standard Descriptors at Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher levels described in The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.
The purpose, processes and roles of those involved in accrediting Highly Accomplished or Lead Teachers are detailed in the Policy for Accreditation at Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher (PDF 346 KB).
Speak to your principal or service director
Your intention, to proceed with either Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher accreditation should be discussed with your principal/service director. They have important roles in the accreditation process at these higher level career stages.
You can find out more from the Accreditation at Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher – The Role of the Principal (PDF 305 KB).
Please note that in the case of early childhood services this may vary. If you are an early childhood teacher and have questions on this, email email@example.com or call us on 1300 739 338.
Start by completing an online preliminary assessment
Before you begin your formal application process, you are invited to use the NSW Education Standards Authority’s (previously BOSTES) online preliminary assessment tool. The tool assesses your practice and determines if you are operating at the Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher level before you continue to the application phase. Doing this assessment is strongly recommended but not compulsory. A fee applies.
Collect evidence and submit your application
The accreditation processes for either Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher involves the use of:
- different types of evidence
- a variety of external professional judgements.
In the case of Lead Teacher accreditation it also involves undertaking a Lead Initiative.
As a candidate for Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher accreditation you need to be able to demonstrate that your practice is already in line with all the Standard Descriptors at that career level. You do this through:
- documentary evidence
- reports from referees and
- a report from an external observer.
The Lead Initiative
Candidates for Lead Teacher accreditation are required to undertake a Lead Initiative over six months or more. The selection of the Lead Initiative needs to fulfil a set of practice criteria. Your annotated evidence should reference the Lead Initiative with at least one referee statement mentioning the project and its impact to the assigned Standard Descriptor.
The Policy for Accreditation at Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher (PDF 346 KB), the Evidence Guide for Highly Accomplished Teacher Standards (PDF 725 KB) and the Evidence Guide for Lead Teacher Standards (PDF 767 KB) contain more information on collecting evidence including details on the Lead Teacher Initiative.
Your application review process
Once you have submitted your application into the online system, your Teacher Accreditation Authority Highly Accomplished/Lead or TAA (A/L), undertakes an assessment of your application. Your TAA (A/L) has four options:
- Make a recommendation to accredit and send to the Moderating and Consistency Committee (MCC) for moderation.
- Make a recommendation not to accredit and send to the MCC for moderation.
- Provide the candidate with some feedback and an opportunity to refine the application and resubmit to TAA (A/L) usually within three months.
- Make a decision not to accredit and not send the submission to the MCC for moderation.
The decision to accredit Highly Accomplished or at Lead Teacher is the sole responsibility of the TAA (A/L). Your TAA (A/L) may opt to adopt or set aside the MCC's advice in their final determination before advising you of the outcome.
Video: Gaining higher level accreditation
Maintaining your higher level accreditation
Once you have been accredited, you will need to maintain your accreditation by consistently practicing to the Standard Descriptors practice in the Australian Professional Standards at the appropriate career level of Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher.
Your maintenance period commences from the day you are accredited at either Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher.
Maintaining your accreditation at Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher level involves you:
- consistently demonstrating practice at the specific career level of Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher
- participating in high-quality professional development (PD), that helps you continuously improve your teaching practice
- preparing a written report, that describes your practice against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers at the level of Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher.
Success story videos
See how other teachers and schools are approaching achieving teacher accreditation and planning professional development.
Top Teachers: 2016 Teacher Accreditation Awards Ceremony
Watch a recap of the 2016 Teacher Accreditation Awards Ceremony, where NESA (formerly BOSTES) President Tom Alegounarias proudly recognised the first 151 school teachers to gain Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher accreditation in NSW (duration: 2:07 minutes).
I think what makes a good teacher great is passion.
One of the most important things for a teacher is to really love learning themselves.
The fundamental thing that makes a teacher great is their ability to build really positive and successful relationships with their students.
It's getting to know the students. It's engaging with the students, it's getting to know them personally, what makes them tick. It's knowing how they work and how they work best.
It's being relentless in seeking the best solutions for every student.
I think a great teacher treats it as more than a job. I think for a great teacher it is more about your love for the children. Which means not just following the procedure and not just following the program but actually taking a great interesting in them as an individual person.
From the school I'm from we call it cura personalis, which is getting to know the person, for me that's the most important thing because it takes you to another level, not only with the students but with your colleagues as well.
Students in our schools are a resource for the future. They are... you know we are investing by investing in quality teaching, so it's a very small investment for a very big gain.
Outstanding teaching is what drives a profession. Outstanding teaching is what reassures all other members of the profession that this is something worth doing.
The teachers here tonight are our role models. They work very closely with their colleagues. They support teachers in their early years of teaching and it's important that they are recognised for the work that they do.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 1300 739 338 (within Australia), if you have any questions.