No. 15-18, 28 August 2018 |  Download PDF


Remuneration of highly accomplished and lead teachers announced

Today, the government and the QTU announced the remuneration for the highly accomplished and lead teacher classifications.  The creation of salary classifications for these two standards-based levels is the most significant change in the classification and career structure for classroom teachers in more than 25 years.

From 1 July, a highly accomplished teacher (HAT) will receive an annual salary of $111,725. 

A lead teacher (LT) will receive an annual salary of $121,975 from the same date.  This compares with the $101,000 annual salary for experienced senior teachers.

The decision, handed down by the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission in August, follows submissions made by the QTU and the Department of Education and reflects an agreement negotiated with the government.

It sets a remuneration for HAT and LT among the highest in the country.

New classifications for classroom teachers

The establishment of the HAT and LT classifications achieves a long-standing QTU claim for professional pay for teachers. Teachers will be certified against the professional standards in which they are operating.

It also provides a genuine choice, enabling classroom teachers to achieve a higher salary by staying in the classroom, rather than applying for promotion.

The establishment of the HAT and LT classifications was one of the state government’s election commitments in 2015, after discussion with the QTU, and was negotiated as part of the current certified agreement.

A pilot across two regions throughout 2017 and 2018 has resulted in 32 classroom teachers being certified as HATs and three classroom teachers becoming LTs.

The new classifications will form part of the classroom teacher classification scale, and will be subject to annual increases as part of the new certified agreement from 2020, rather than in 2019 when a new agreement commences.

Teachers certified in the first two tranches of the pilot will be paid the new salaries from 1 July, and teachers certified following the third tranche of the pilot will be paid the salaries for their classification from 24 January 2019.

The opportunity to apply for HAT or LT will be available to all eligible teachers in 2019.


To be eligible to apply for the classifications, an applicant must:

(a)   hold full registration (i.e. recognition as proficient under the standards)

(b)   be an Australian citizen or have a permanent residency visa

(c)   have a minimum of five years of registered recognised teaching experience at the next date designated for portfolio submission (including two completed annual performance reviews for HAT or three for LT)

(d)   meet mandatory teaching requirements that they have an “authentic teaching role” (i.e. hold an ongoing teaching role with students that requires the applicant to plan, prepare, teach, differentiate, assess and report (to students and parents) on student outcomes of a prescribed educational program).

In addition, an applicant should have:

  • completed the AITSL self-assessment tool
  • engaged in a professional discussion with their principal or their delegate; and obtained the assessment of the principal or delegate of their readiness to apply (N.B. this does not prevent application but is intended to help teachers to make an informed choice about applying, given the cost.)

Other conditions of HAT and LT classification and certification

  • The certifying authority will be the Queensland College of Teachers.
  • The certification process will satisfy the requirements of national certification.
  • Certification involves submission of a detailed portfolio, annotated against the professional standards, classroom observations and assessed by trained assessors.
  • Certification will be an annual process with expressions of interest called in term one, with folios submitted by the end of semester one.
  • Certification is purely standards-based – there are no limits (quotas) on the numbers of HATs and LTs.
  • Certification is for a period of five years, after which a teacher must undertake a (simpler) re-certification process to retain the classification.
  • There is no requirement for additional duties.  The classification is a recognition of work that meets the requirements of the standards, not the undertaking of additional duties.  An authentic teacher load must be maintained to enable re-certification.
  • A two-stage appeal process will apply to certification decisions:  Stage 1 to the QCT; Stage 2 to the Queensland Civil Administration Tribunal (QCAT).
  • If a teacher does not apply for re-certification or is unsuccessful, they will revert to the experienced senior teacher classification.
  • Teachers nationally certified for HAT or LT interstate will be recognised and paid accordingly, provided they meet Queensland eligibility requirements.

More information can be found on One Portal via this link

Cost of certification

The state government’s policy also required that teachers undertaking the certification process contribute to the cost of certification.

The cost of certification as agreed between the QTU and the department will be:

Stage one: portfolio assessment (involving the submission of the portfolio and its assessment by two qualified (nationally certified) assessors) - $850

Stage two: assessment (involving a collection of supporting evidence and its review) - $650

Recertification: occurs after five years of holding HAT and LT certification - $100

In addition, a teacher will have access to one TRS day during stage one of the process to support them in the development of their portfolio.  The assembly of a portfolio will take more than one day, but this is an employer contribution to supporting the process.

The certification fee is tax deductible, based on interstate programs.

What about teachers in promotional positions?

The remuneration levels for HAT and LT do exceed some of the salary levels for heads of program and teaching principals. 

The Promotional Positions Classification Review is ongoing, with a new structure to be introduced from 1 July 2019.  The QTU is campaigning for significant increases.  However, there are no indications of salary levels yet, and the salary levels for HAT and LT might be an attractive alternative for some members currently in promotional positions.

Teachers in promotional positions who meet the eligibility requirements for HAT and LT can apply.  If certified, the individual will have to decide whether to retain the promotional position or return to a classroom teacher role and be paid as a HAT or LT as the case may be.

Next steps

The QTU and the Department of Education are currently working together to support the statewide implementation of HAT and LT during 2019.

Additionally, the QTU is providing information sessions across the state for anyone interested in applying for certification as either a HAT or LT. These information sessions are being conducted by QTU activist, principal and current acting Professional Development Officer (Special Projects) Rebecca Hack.  Rebecca is also a qualified assessor.

The information sessions are in two parts: a session for school leaders and a session for interested classroom teachers. For more information about sessions being conducted in your region, please follow this link

More on HAT and LT



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