What Does it Mean to be a Lead Teacher?

(Last Updated On: September 16, 2023)

What is a Lead Teacher?

A Lead Teacher is a classroom teacher who has reached the Lead level of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

The APST outline four career stages, of which Lead Teacher is the highest. Lead Teachers are expected to have a significant role in the improvement and processes at their school. 

Why would I want to become a Lead Teacher?

Working towards becoming a Lead Teacher will make you think seriously about your teaching and involvement in your school community. It is a wonderful chance to delve into professional learning and make a big impact on your school, teachers and students. 

Lead Teachers still work in the classroom. If you’re a teacher who loves working with students and isn’t interested in a Leadership role but still wants to progress their career, becoming a Lead Teacher may be a perfect fit.

What do I need to do to become a Lead Teacher?

To become a Lead Teacher, you will need to provide evidence that you’ve met all of the descriptors of all seven of the APST at Lead Teacher level. This is a huge task, and will require you to demonstrate your practice across all areas of teaching. 

You will need to put together a portfolio and undergo a formal certification process. Your school will need to be involved, and you will have an independent assessor come and observe your lessons and speak to referees. 

Many states have programs to support and mentor teachers who are looking for professional certification. Check with your site leader if you would like to know if there are any current opportunities for further support.

Do you need a certain amount of experience to become a Lead Teacher?

You don’t need to have formal experience as a school leader to become a Lead Teacher, but it certainly helps. 

The descriptors in the APST at the Lead Teacher level require you to have had a profound impact on school improvement and processes. These opportunities may be difficult to come by if you haven’t been a school leader in the past.

Do Lead Teachers get paid more than other teachers?

Every state in Australia has a separate pay tier for Lead Teachers. In some states, teachers who have been officially certified will be automatically moved to this increased pay rate. 

This is not the case in every school, however. In some school systems, you will need to apply for a formal Lead Teacher position in a school to be paid at the Lead Teacher rate. These roles often come with additional responsibilities or expectations, which is why the roles need to be specifically created. 

Do Lead Teachers get paid more than School Coordinators?

In many schools, a Lead Teacher will be paid more than a coordinator. This is due to the fact that Lead Teachers need to demonstrate that they’ve reached the top level of every Professional Standard, which covers every domain of teaching. 

Lead Teachers are often paid more than a lower-level coordinator, but may not be paid more than an Assistant Principal or other Executive Leadership role.

Learn more about the other career stages:

Elise is an enthusiastic and passionate Australian teacher who is on a mission to inspire and support fellow educators. With over a decade of experience in the classroom, Elise leverages her expertise and creativity to provide valuable insights and resources through her blog. Whether you're looking for innovative lesson ideas, effective teaching strategies, or just a dose of inspiration, Elise has got you covered.

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