Highly accomplished and lead teachers: pilot set for take off

For the past two years, the QTU has been involved in developing the highly accomplished and lead teachers (HAT and LT) process in Queensland. With the certification of the new EB agreement and the acceptance of the pilot, planning to commence the proposed process has intensified.

One of the key questions raised is “What does a HAT or an LT look like? What do they do?” A person who is certified as either a HAT or an LT will be operating within the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers at either the highly accomplished or lead teacher level. There is no role description for a HAT and an LT, and for a system that relies heavily on role descriptions to determine salary classification and assign duties, this can be quite confronting. It will also be an issue that the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) will need to address when conducting the work value assessment – how do you remunerate a classification that is founded purely on professional standards – not roles, duties and responsibilities?

The reality is that a HAT or LT will already be undertaking a number of functions within the school and will be providing collegial support for their colleagues. The key question should not be “what tasks can I assign” but which roles will this teacher continue to play to ensure their continued development within the HAT or LT professional standards.

The pilot of HAT and LT will be conducted in two regions, FNQ and North Coast, in 2017. Teachers transferring into the two pilot regions will also be eligible to express interest in the process. Applicants will have access to professional development and support to complete their portfolios.

Expressions of interest will be sought from eligible members – those who have five or more years’ recognised classroom teaching experience – in the week commencing 16 January 2017. Applicants must also have a current teaching load.
Currently, the department intends to call expressions of interest using SmartJobs. The EOI will remain open for a period of four weeks.

Applicants will be expected to develop their portfolios for assessment from February to June 2017. They will be provided with two days TRS to assist in this process. Assessments will take place from 10 July 2017 through to 15 September 2017, with certification expected by October 2017.

Information sessions were due be conducted across the two regions in the week commencing 7 November 2016. An online session was also being provided.

Eighteen assessors are currently undertaking training that aligns with the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) assessment and certification process. The assessor training ends on 25 November. The assessment and certification process is rigorous and conducted against the relevant professional standards, based on a portfolio of work provided by the applicant and observations of the applicant’s classroom practice. Assessors will operate in teams of two – these teams are comprised of a member with recent classroom experience and a classified officer.

The Queensland College of Teachers has agreed to be the certifying authority for the purpose of the pilot. Assessments will be submitted to the QCT, which will determine whether to certify or reject the decision of the assessors.

The process will be reviewed at the end of 2017. This will include an evaluation of the assessor training, the process and timeframes for applicants and the certification process. Following this review, a memorandum of agreement regarding the certification process will also be developed.

Members who are certified as highly accomplished or lead teachers through the pilot will also be asked to be involved in the work value assessment to be conducted by the QIRC in 2018. No additional remuneration will be paid to HATs and LTs until the work value assessment is finalised and a decision is made by the QIRC.

The application process for HAT and LT will open to all regions in 2019. 

Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 121 Number 8, p10