Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 120 No 6, 21 August 2015, p14

Negotiations underway for new highly accomplished teacher classification

The recent State Budget saw the state government follow through on its Letting Teachers Teach election promise by committing $6 million over three years to develop a new classification structure for teachers.

It is introducing the highly accomplished and lead teacher positions to encourage experienced teachers to continue working in the classroom. This new classification level, yet to be negotiated, would be based on the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers at the highly accomplished level, and would be over and above the existing scale for classroom and experienced senior teachers.

The QTU has begun negotiations with the Department of Education and Training to establish a highly accomplished teacher (HAT) classification level, which is planned for potential roll out in 2018.

In campaigning for professional pay, the QTU has continually opposed performance-based pay or teacher bonuses, in support of a classification that would reward experienced teachers through recognition of their teaching practice to encourage them to remain in the classroom.

In order for teachers to be certified as highly accomplished, however, a valid and feasible certification process will be required to enable them to demonstrate how they meet the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers at the highly accomplished and lead teacher levels.

Through its Portfolio Project (http://portfolio.acer.edu.au), the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) has begun to develop some tasks that may be used in future certification processes for highly accomplished teachers across Australia. It has developed four portfolio tasks for primary generalists and four for secondary science teachers.

ACER recently sought expressions of interest from primary teachers and secondary science teachers in any school in Australia who were willing to undertake just one of the four portfolio tasks. When completed, the tasks will become entries into a teacher’s professional portfolio and together provide evidence covering all of the APST standards. The entries will be used to develop a rigorous and reliable system for training teachers as assessors and will provide ACER with a basis for developing benchmarks, illustrating what counts as meeting the APST standards at the highly accomplished level, something that has not been done before.

During the month of July, the QTU encouraged its members to register to participate in the field test of the Portfolio Project, which will take place between August and November. We will be working closely with ACER to seek feedback from members participating in the trials to inform ongoing negotiations with the department for a HAT classification level in the future.

For more information, contact me, Leah Mertens

Leah Mertens
QTU Research Officer – Professional Issues