Implementation of the NSW Education Standards

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The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) supports quality teaching in all NSW schools. Its charter is to advance the status and standing of the teaching profession.


NESA manages a system of accreditation and recognition of teachers' professional capacity against professional standards. It provides a process for the profession to influence the quality of teacher training and continuing professional development.

Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers recognise and celebrate the value of teachers' work and provides a credible way to describe, acknowledge and assure the quality of teaching that exists in schools. The standards provide a guide for your development throughout your career and also form the basis of the process for accrediting teachers.

The standards describe four career stages:

  • Graduate Teacher (mandatory level)
  • Proficient Teacher (mandatory level)
  • Highly Accomplished Teacher 
  • Lead Teacher.

Within each level, the standards describe the nature of teachers' work within the three domains of professional knowledge, professional practice and professional engagement.

Mandatory Accreditation: Graduate Teacher – Provisional/Conditional Accreditation 

Teachers who are first employed during or after term four 2004, or who are returning to teaching during or after term four 2004 after a break of five years or more, are considered teachers requiring accreditation under the Teacher Accreditation Act 2004. In order to be employed as a teacher in NSW, teachers will need to meet NESA accreditation requirements.

On employment, accreditation involves:

  • an assessment of your qualifications
  • payment of a fee to NESA.

Teachers need to be provisionally or conditionally accredited in order to be employed in NSW schools. 

Provisional Accreditation applies to teachers who have completed a pre-service teacher education course that has been approved by NESA.

Conditional Accreditation applies to teachers who do not meet the requirements of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers for provisional accreditation or who have not completed an approved course.

Mandatory Accreditation: Proficient Teacher Level

NESA requires teachers entering the profession to achieve the standard of Proficient Teacher Level. This will represent a minimum standard that you are required to demonstrate. You will need to:

  • be well prepared in terms of your knowledge of subject content
  • know how to teach that content to a diverse range of students
  • have a high level of practical experience before you can function as an independent professional.

For accreditation at Proficient Teacher level, the decision will be based on:

  • evidence presented by you
  • observation of your teaching
  • a report signed by the principal and endorsed by the Director, Public Schools NSW.

Once accredited with NESA teachers must maintain accreditation at Proficient Teacher Level. Maintenance of accreditation is assessed every five years and requires teachers to participate in at least 100 hours of continuing professional development while maintaining professionally competent teaching practice.

Accreditation Process

Your progress towards accreditation is a partnership between you and your school. The process will include supervision by an experienced teacher and targeted professional development where needed.

Your school will support you in gaining accreditation at the level of Proficient Teacher. An experienced teacher will be assigned to you, to assist and support you in meeting the standards. This support will take the form of:

  • classroom observations in a variety of contexts and over a period of time
  • meetings with you to review and analyse relevant documentation such as teaching programs and student learning outcomes.

Your responsibility involves:

  • collecting and annotating samples of your work as evidence for accreditation 
  • seeking professional engagement with colleagues within and outside of the school to improve your teaching practice
  • ensuring that you understand the process of accreditation.

Detailed information about accreditation can be found on the BOSTES website. The department's policy and procedures on mandatory accreditation at Proficient Teacher Level and maintenance of that accreditation describe the department's requirements. 

Accreditation at Highly Accomplished Teacher and Lead Teacher

NESA has developed processes for accreditation at the higher career stages of Highly Accomplished Teacher and Lead Teacher. This allows accomplished teachers and leaders in other key stages of their careers to assess their development against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. Application for accreditation at the higher levels is voluntary.

Professional Development

The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers provide a framework for mapping professional learning across a teacher's career. This includes continuing professional development that supports teachers in gaining and maintaining accreditation. Continuing professional development must clearly address the professional requirements of teachers. Many professional development courses supporting the standards will be registered by NESA. This process will ensure the outcomes of the course are consistent with the standards.



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