Teachers often ask why they should bother to submit an application for accreditation at Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher because it’s “soooooooooo much extra work!”. Whilst I acknowledge that writing annotations and collecting evidence can be quite a task, it’s not as insurmountable as you might think. Of course, I understand that asking already very busy colleagues to give up precious time to write referee reports does require a significant investment on their part, and committing to and planning for an External Observation day won’t just happen by itself. However, the consistent demonstration of all 37 standard descriptors should not be a challenge for you. It should just be “how you roll”.
Fake it ‘til you make it!
Actually no, this is something you definitely can’t do. Of course there will be some standard descriptors you will have plenty of evidence for. You’ll naturally be drawn to those areas because they appeal to you or you have certain expertise, other areas not as much. You can seek out advice and support about constructing a quality submission but you definitely should not need to manufacture opportunities to demonstrate standard descriptors.
Keep it real and genuine
Without sounding too worthy, making the decision to pursue accreditation at Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher should be a compliment to your ethos as a teacher to support and invest in the growth and development of your colleagues and your school. No one should be feeling “Argh….this is just for their accreditation”, similar to the good old “they’re just CV building”. The 37 standard descriptors are benchmarks. You’re a Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher or you’re not. The standard descriptors should quietly move in and out of focus throughout formal and informal interactions with colleagues throughout the day, week, term and year. You are never juggling them all at once.
Getting started with accreditation at Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher
One of the most difficult aspects of embarking on your accreditation at Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher journey is knowing where to start and how to involve your school. Not only is it policy, it is also courteous to have an initial discussion with your Principal when considering an application at Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher. After that no one need be aware that you have commenced your journey. You should simply be supporting other towards improving their knowledge, practice and engagement in the context of your school setting and networks. You don’t need to pay the fee to actively begin your accreditation journey, you just start making it part of your every day.
You need the three sources of evidence:
- Referee reports
- External observation report,
Together these prove you are indeed either a Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher to both your Teacher Accreditation Authority (A/L) and the Moderating and Consistency Committee. When you walk into school tomorrow look at everything you do through two lenses:
1. Does this meet the standard descriptors?
The first step is to interrogate the standard descriptors to ensure you have a solid understanding of their true intention and not make assumptions as to what you think they mean. For example, I have seen teachers attempt to match standard descriptors loosely to a professional learning event rather than refining what they’re doing to better meet the standard descriptor. A square peg just won’t fit a round hole.
2. What will be the evidence of impact?
How will you know you have enhanced the knowledge, practice and engagement of your colleagues? What will you see or hear? You will need to include evidence of practice from the teachers you have supported and their students, not just yours. This is crucial in proving you have indeed demonstrated the standard descriptors at the higher levels.
The journey towards accreditation at Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher is a challenging yet rewarding one. It shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, for teachers that nurture growth, invest in quality teaching and share best practice as part of their everyday it really does come naturally and is well deserved recognition.
Higher Levels of Accreditation Introduction Workshop
If you would like to learn more about the process of accreditation at Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher the Enrich workshop: Introduction to Accreditation is an invaluable first step or refresher. This one day session will step you through the principles and key aspects of Accreditation, and what it means both for the teacher and their school. It provides comprehensive insight and practical advice, exploring all aspects of the submission in depth using real examples. The aim is to demystify the process, help teachers decide if they want to undertake accreditation and give them clarity on the next steps at the start of their journey.