Last year, a global survey involving more than 27,000 participants in 29 countries, found that for parents, teacher quality is the most important factor when choosing a school for their child.
In Australia, a movement focused on driving professional best practice is taking the education landscape by storm.
Highly Accomplished Lead Teachers (HALT) are not only using their expertise to impact their own classes of students but supporting and influencing their colleagues’ teaching practice to extend their impact across entire schools.
In September 2018, Queensland’s independent schooling sector celebrated the accomplishments of 25 exceptional educators who confirmed their places among the nation’s top tier of quality teachers.
The teachers were the first to be certified by Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) as HALTS. The number of nationally certified HALTs had more than doubled from about 250 to almost 500 in the past three years, as momentum builds across the country – particularly in Queensland.
Principal Gary O’Brien, who heads up Cannon Hill Anglican College, has the most HALTs of any school in Queensland. Last year, ISQ certified 10 of the College’s teachers at the HALT levels last year through a nationally recognised process.
“In all discussions at Cannon Hill Anglican College around teacher development and teacher expectation, we clearly articulate that every teacher should be aspiring to and striving towards working at the standards of a Highly Accomplished Teacher,” O’Brien told The Educator.
O’Brien said teachers who understand and display the characteristics of HALTS have generally spent time reflecting on and challenging their personal practice.
“As a consequence, these teachers create high quality learning environments that provide relevant, rigorous learning opportunities,” he said.
“This leads to interesting, challenging experiences that motivate and engage students in their learning, and consequently produces positive longer-term outcomes for students.”
O’Brien said the College fosters a culture where staff are encouraged and supported to engage with and participate in the HALT process, which has flow-on effects that impact all teacher practice at CHAC.
“In a collaborative, supportive environment these teachers are looked to by peers and College leadership to model and share excellence in practice, and invariably are those who take on College projects and leadership in areas of passion,” he said.
“From a College leadership perspective, these outstanding practitioners model the expected standards, which inspire staff and contribute significantly to the overall culture of the College and the expectations of our Teaching and Learning program.”
On Wednesday, ISQ executive director, David Robertson presented O’Brien with a certificate recognising the significance of the high number of certifications within the school’s teaching community.
“This is a credit to the College and to the dedicated teachers who have invested their time and professional expertise in what is a very rigorous and prestigious certification process,” Robertson told The Educator.
“The latest findings from ISQ’s ‘What Parents Want’ survey highlights that parents value the quality of teaching in independent schools. Cannon Hill Anglican College’s leadership in this area is to be commended,” he said.