By CELA on 3 Nov, 2023

The Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher (HALT) accreditation is a significant form of recognition for educators who achieve the Highly Accomplished or Lead levels of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. These standards are upheld by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) and offer a structure through which teachers can enhance their professional capabilities and engagement.

About the certification

According to AITSL, national certification is a voluntary and portable process that ensures teachers have access to a rigorous and transparent process that recognises Highly Accomplished and Lead teachers.

It enables you to receive feedback on your practice and have your practice evaluated by nationally trained assessors who are external to your school. It exposes you to communities of practice and supports you to further develop and grow as a professional whilst improving outcomes for your students.


Here is a brief explanation of the two tiers of the accreditation:

Highly Accomplished Teacher:

This designation acknowledges teachers who are exceptionally effective in their practice and who consistently deliver superior teaching that leads to tangible improvements in student outcomes. They are well-regarded amongst their peers and amongst families and the wider community as outstanding educators. They also take on the role of mentors to their colleagues, strive to augment the educational programs of their services/schools, and engage actively with professional networks and associations.

Lead Teacher:

Lead teachers are recognised as leading figures in the realms of teaching and learning, within their schools and in broader contexts. They exert a profound influence on the practice of their colleagues and contribute to the strategic direction of their services/schools. Their leadership extends to nurturing the development of other educators and advocating for efficacious educational practices and policies.

To secure HALT accreditation, teachers must engage in an evaluation process, during which they must provide evidence of their professional practice. This typically involves compiling portfolios, participating in observations and interviews, and collecting testimonies from referees.

The aims of the HALT accreditation process are multifold:

  • To acknowledge and promote excellence in teaching.
  • To offer an inspirational career trajectory for teachers.
  • To foster a professional ethos centred on reflection and continual progression.
  • To elevate the prestige of the teaching vocation.

To become certified you’ll need to contact your certifying authority. Certifying authorities in each participating state and territory are responsible for implementation of the certification process and all applications. They can provide you with details specific to your situation including:

  • timeframes for the application process
  • costs involved
  • support available to applicants.



Why I pursued HALT Accreditation - LEAD

By Dr Debra Wiliams

I've been involved in, and passionate about, the early childhood education and care sector for over four decades. I started out as an ECT with a degree in Early Childhood and built upon this through PhD completion examining critical reflection as part of the NQS. I saw the HALT accreditation process as an exciting opportunity to critically self-reflect and self-assess my practice to really see what outcomes have been achieved. 


If we really believe in the best outcomes for the next generation, we have to critically reflect by examining our practice and impact. This will enable us to know whether we are really making a difference to children, families, community and colleagues. 

What I learnt through the accreditation process

Like the process of becoming of a black belt in karate, I learned that this is both a personal and professional journey.

For me, it was a long journey of small steps, through which I learned to build more understanding, which developed further resilience, discipline, and confidence. I now know, through having completed this journey, that learning is lifelong and that what we do REALLY matters. The impact of quality early education results in positive outcomes that REALLY do make a difference.

So, remind yourself to keep moving forward by keeping a positive attitude. Achieving HALT LEAD accreditation is an important milestone, but it’s not the end of the continuous improvement journey. Remind yourself it’s part of the ongoing effort to improve that makes the HALT accreditation process so satisfying.  

What's next for me

In Book Week 2024 I am excited to share that I am having a children’s book published entitled ‘The Laughing Dragon, Dancing Fairies, and the Gnomes’ linked to literacy and movement outcomes with dances included.  

I am excited about the future and new opportunities to advocate for our sector and equip others to grow and lead and to be the very best they can be, demonstrated through the HALT accreditation process, for the more equipped teachers  are in demonstrating their practice and impact,  the better the outcomes for all those they influence their world, both now and in the future, and that matters.  

Find out more about the accreditation: 

About CELA

Community Early Learning Australia is a not for profit organisation with a focus on amplifying the value of early learning for every child across Australia - representing our members and uniting our sector as a force for quality education and care.

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