About Certification

The Certification of Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers is a rigorous and transparent national approach to recognising highly skilled classroom teachers. This is voluntary certification, based on the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST).

Certification of Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers

  • Recognises and promotes high-quality teaching.
  • Provides an opportunity for teachers to reflect on their practice.
  • Provides a reliable indication of quality teaching that can be used to identify, recognise and/or reward Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers.

A nationally consistent approach to certification is used that maintains uniformity of standards and judgements across the nation, while being able to be implemented at scale in the diverse contexts in which Australian teachers work.

To ensure national consistency, rigor and quality of certification, Certifying Authorities certify teachers against the APST, using Assessors of the highest quality who successfully complete the national Assessor Training Program (ATP) developed by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL).

The Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) is the certifying authority for Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers in Queensland Catholic Schools.

Highly Accomplished

Teachers Highly Accomplished teachers are recognised as highly effective, skilled classroom practitioners and routinely work independently and collaboratively to improve their own practice and the practice of colleagues. They are knowledgeable and active members of the school.

Highly Accomplished teachers contribute to their colleagues’ learning. They may also take on roles that guide, advise or lead others. They regularly initiate and engage in discussions about effective teaching to improve the educational outcomes for their students.

They maximise learning opportunities for their students by understanding their backgrounds and individual characteristics and the impact of those factors on their learning. They provide colleagues, including pre-service teachers, with support and strategies to create positive and productive learning environments.

Highly Accomplished teachers have in-depth knowledge of subjects and curriculum content within their sphere of responsibility. They model sound teaching practices in their teaching areas. They work with colleagues to plan, evaluate and modify teaching programs to improve student learning. They keep abreast of the latest developments in their specialist content area or across a range of content areas for generalist teachers.

Highly Accomplished teachers are skilled in analysing student assessment data and use it to improve teaching and learning. They are active in establishing an environment which maximises professional learning and practice opportunities for colleagues. They monitor their own professional learning needs and align them to the learning needs of students.

They behave ethically at all times. Their interpersonal and presentation skills are highly developed.

Standards at the Highly Accomplished teacher level

Lead Teachers

Lead teachers are recognised and respected by colleagues, parents/carers and the community as exemplary teachers. They have demonstrated consistent and innovative teaching practice over time. Inside and outside the school they initiate and lead activities that focus on improving educational opportunities for all students.

They establish inclusive learning environments that meet the needs of students from different linguistic, cultural, religious and socio-economic backgrounds. They seek to improve their own practice and to share their experience with colleagues.

They are skilled in mentoring teachers and preservice teachers, using activities that develop knowledge, practice and professional engagement in others. They promote creative, innovative thinking among colleagues.

Lead teachers apply skills and in-depth knowledge and understanding to deliver effective lessons and learning opportunities and share this information with colleagues and pre-service teachers. They describe the relationship between highly effective teaching and learning in ways that inspire colleagues to improve their own professional practice.

They lead processes to improve student performance by evaluating and revising programs, analysing student assessment data and taking account of feedback from parents/carers. This is combined with a synthesis of current research on effective teaching and learning.

Lead teachers represent the school and the teaching profession in the community. They are professional, ethical and respected individuals inside and outside the school.

Standards at the Lead teacher level

Eligibility criteria

Lead teachers are recognised and respected by colleagues, parents/carers and the community as exemplary teachers. They have demonstrated consistent and innovative teaching practice over time. Inside and outside the school they initiate and lead activities that focus on improving educational opportunities for all students.

They establish inclusive learning environments that meet the needs of students from different linguistic, cultural, religious and socio-economic backgrounds. They seek to improve their own practice and to share their experience with colleagues.

They are skilled in mentoring teachers and preservice teachers, using activities that develop knowledge, practice and professional engagement in others. They promote creative, innovative thinking among colleagues.

Lead teachers apply skills and in-depth knowledge and understanding to deliver effective lessons and learning opportunities and share this information with colleagues and pre-service teachers. They describe the relationship between highly effective teaching and learning in ways that inspire colleagues to improve their own professional practice.

They lead processes to improve student performance by evaluating and revising programs, analysing student assessment data and taking account of feedback from parents/carers. This is combined with a synthesis of current research on effective teaching and learning.

Lead teachers represent the school and the teaching profession in the community. They are professional, ethical and respected individuals inside and outside the school.

Guide to the Certification of Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers in Australia

Teaching requirements

To be successful, applicants for certification will need to have an authentic teaching role where they teach students over a period of time. This will enable them to demonstrate achievement of the complete range of Standards and Descriptors.

There is no requirement for a specified number of hours or teaching load, but the teacher will need to be responsible for an ongoing teaching program and the assessment of the students.

To achieve certification, teachers will need to be able to demonstrate their skills in teaching students in a classroom situation. The assessment process includes a series of observations of a teacher’s practice, including classroom observations.

Providing applicants can demonstrate all teacher Standards through an ongoing teaching role with students, including in a classroom situation, certification is available to teachers in a range of roles including school support professionals, and those in equivalent roles who work with students. However, holding a leadership position such as these is not a guarantee that an application for certification will be successful.

Applicant must plan, prepare, teach, differentiate, assess and report (to students and parents) on the outcomes of a prescribed educational program.