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Key roles and responsibilities

The candidate is responsible for managing their application for voluntary higher level accreditation. Highly Accomplished Teacher accreditation relies on documentary evidence, reports from referees including school principal/service director and external observer to verify your teaching practice against the Standard Descriptors. These participants and the Teacher Accreditation Authority (Highly Accomplished/Lead) or (TAA (A/L)), are central to the process adding rigour and weight to the professional standing of teacher accreditation at this level.

It’s at the application phase that the candidate gathers documentary evidence. The candidate requests that their school principal/service director, referees and an external observer verify their teaching practice against the Standard Descriptors at this career level. 

The following participants have important roles in Highly Accomplished Teacher accreditation:  

  • the candidate
  • principal/service director
  • referees
  • external observer
  • Teacher Accreditation Authority (Highly Accomplished/Lead) or TAA (A/L)
  • Moderating and Consistency Committee (MCC).

The candidate

The candidate is responsible for managing their accreditation process. 

If you have already undertaken the online preliminary assessment and feel ready to begin the application phase, you should seek the support from your principal/service director. Your principal/service director will need to log into their BOSTES account and confirm your intention to apply. 

As the candidate, you need to: 

  • discuss your accreditation with your principal/service director or other delegate. Negotiate a suitable time with them to conduct an internal observation of your teaching against the Standard Descriptors 
  • gather a selection of documentary evidence that reveals complexity and depth of practice across your teaching contexts and demonstrates the Standard Descriptors 
  • annotate your documents to link them succinctly to the Standard Descriptors 
  • ensure your referees, include:
    • the principal/service director
    • a teacher colleague
    • a teacher who has received professional support or guidance from you 
  • decide which Standard Descriptors each referee will attest to 
  • request an external observation through your online account; the external observer is organised by BOSTES. In preparation, identify the Standard Descriptors to be observed and negotiate the timing of observations with your delegated observer and school principal/service director
  • keep all your details updated by logging into your online account
  • decide on when to submit your evidence.

Sometimes your referees may need support with the referee report. You may provide guidance but it is not appropriate for you to draft referee statements or any part thereof, on behalf of your referees.  

The variety of people who can be your referee is detailed in the Policy for Accreditation at Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher (PDF 91 KB).

Information on the types and examples of evidence to collect for Highly Accomplished Teacher Accreditation is available in the Evidence Guide for Highly Accomplished Teacher Standards (PDF 947 KB), sections 2 and 3.

The principal/service director

In the Highly Accomplished Teacher Accreditation process your principal/service director is required to: 

  • discuss with you the most appropriate level of accreditation for you
  • confirm your eligibility to proceed with accreditation, based on your satisfactory teaching practice and your residency status
  • observe your practice as an internal observer. The principal/service director may delegate this
  • write a referee report
  • accommodate and support your external observation that is organised by BOSTES. 

More detailed information on the role of the principal/service director in higher level teacher accreditation is available in the Accreditation at Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher – The Role of the Principal. (PDF 449 KB)

If you are an early childhood teacher and unsure about who, performs this role then email us or call 1300393338.


Your referees’ reports verify their direct knowledge of your practice against the Standard Descriptors. 

You nominate the referees who can confirm aspects of your practice, as part of your application. The number of referees range from three (minimum) to eight (maximum).

The variety of people who can be your referee is detailed in the Policy for Accreditation at Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher (PDF 91 KB)

Your referees are ‘witnesses’ to your practice and attest to your achievement of the nominated Standard Descriptors only. Their role is not as your advocate or to provide a character reference.

Your referees in the Highly Accomplished Teacher accreditation process need to: 

  • be sourced from your teaching context, and include your school principal/service director, a teacher colleague and  a  teacher who has received support and assistance from you
  • succinctly describe their professional relationship with you 
  • confine their description of your achievement to Standard Descriptors over time, to the extent of their involvement with your work
  • write authentic statements from their first-hand knowledge and experience of your practice
  • ensure their statements for each of the Standard Descriptors, relate to:
    • what they have seen you do with respect to the Standard Descriptors
    • how you have delivered the key actions in the Standard Descriptors
    • impact of your initiatives and how they’re being sustained

Your referee is required to submit their report online through their BOSTES account. If they don’t have one, they will need to apply and create one. 

Once the report has been submitted, you will be able to read what they wrote.

Find more information on the role of referees in higher level accreditation for teachers in the Accreditation at Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher – Information for Referees (PDF 383 KB), 

External observer

The external observation phase of higher level teacher accreditation enables independent review of a teacher’s practice.

The external observer must see you teaching children/students for two sessions. The emphasis of these is on variety in teaching rather than length or duration of the sessions.

The external observer:

  • is usually a teacher who has been accredited at Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher
  • negotiates an appropriate time to conduct the observation with you
  • observes your practice, with reference to the Standard Descriptors you have specified and the examples in the Evidence Guide
  • submits a report on your practice, which is a source of independent evidence for TAA (A/L) at the time of their review and decision making
  • does not make the accreditation decision


Teacher Accreditation Authorities (Highly Accomplished/Lead) or TAA (A/L), make the final decision whether to accredit teachers who have applied for accreditation at Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher levels. 

The TAA (A/L) is responsible for:

  • conducting an initial assessment of your submission 
  • ensuring consistent processes are in place making judgement about Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher accreditation
  • considering the advice by the MCC 
  • making the final accreditation decision. 

Dependent on the sector, the TAA (A/L) role can vary:

  • In Department of Education schools/services, it’s the Executive Director
  • Within the Catholic systemic schools it’s the Executive Director or Director of your Diocese
  • Seventh day Adventist Schools (greater Sydney) Ltd- the Director/ Company Secretary
  • For Independent Schools, it’s the Association of Independent Schools NSW 
  • Early Childhood Services – BOSTES.

Before their final decision a TAA (A/L) sends the submission to the Moderating and Consistency Committee (MCC) (convened by BOSTES) to ensure consistency in decision making against the Standard Descriptors.

Based on their analysis, the MCC can recommend a teacher to be accredited or not, however the accreditation decision is solely determined by the TAA (A/L) who can accept or set aside the MCC’s recommendation.

Moderating and Consistency Committee (MCC) 

The Moderating and Consistency Committee (MCC) is a sub-committee of the Quality Teaching Council (QTC) and is made up of teachers, principals and TAA (A/L) representatives from the Government, Catholic and Independent sectors.  

Its role is to ensure consistency in higher level accreditation decision making. The MCC assesses all teacher applications for accreditation at Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher. Their assessment forms the basis of their advice to Teacher Accreditation Authorities (Highly Accomplished/Lead) or (TAAs (A/L).

The MCC’s advice provides you, the candidate, insights from their analysis of higher level accreditation applications. 

These insights relate to:

  • the choice of the most appropriate level of accreditation either at Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher career stages 
  • the quality of evidence
  • descriptions of the characteristics of applications likely to be successful against those likely to be unsuccessful.

More information

Please email or call us on 1300 739 338 (within Australia), if you have any questions.