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The National Professional Standards for Teachers: Document


The National Professional Standards for Teachers (the Standards) is a

standards document that was finalised by the Australian Institute for
Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) with work completed by both
the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and
Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA) and the National Standards Sub-group of the
Australian Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs
Senior Official Committee (AEEYSOC). The AITSL was formed by the
Government in order to provide national leadership for the entire
country through the promotion of excellence in teaching and school
leadership, funded by the Australian Government (Australian Institute
for Teaching and School Leadership [AITSL], 2011). As a consequence, it
is important to note that the AITSL is not an independent body and their
position may be influenced by the impact of the current government.
The Standards were written for a large cross section of the general
population in particular teachers, teacher organisations, teacher
educators and professional associations, along with those in the general
public interested in teacher standards such as parents, in order to
provide a common dialogue and understanding amongst all invested
parties (AITSL, 2011). It is evident in the document that the Standards
were written to assist teachers to define their role and clearly outline
the requirements of high-quality, effective teaching to promote
improved student outcomes in the 21st century (AITSL, 2011). A
document outlining the expectations of all teachers also provides a
platform for teachers to be held accountable by schools, the
government and the wider community, with all parties having clear
documentation of the standards to be upheld. The same can be said for
the government, with the Standards also ensuring that they remain
committed to maintaining a high calibre of teaching staff, to ensure that
Australian students continue to be successful, creative and confident

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learners, who are highly regarded in an incredibly competitive global

workforce (AITSL, 2011). The Standards also provide clear career
progression for those working in the teaching profession and encourage
personal and professional development of all teaching staff (AITSL,
The Standards draw upon work completed by many organisations and in
particular, are stated to support the Melbourne Declaration, which aims
to ensure that the youth of Australia develop into confident and creative
individuals who are both successful learners and active and informed
citizens (Ministerial Council for Education, Employment, Training and
Youth Affairs [MCEETYA], 2008). As specified in Standard 6 and a factor
that is imperative to quality teaching, it is important for teachers to
model effective learning by identifying their personal learning
requirements and then evaluating, analysing and expanding their
professional learning (AITSL, 2011). This as a skill, is vital for teachers to
master. One cannot expect to become a highly accomplished teacher
with the ability to engage and inspire students, without the knowledge
of what ignites their own passion to learn. A successful teacher is one
that recognises what it takes to be a successful learner (Hattie, 2003).
Another interesting point highlighted in the Standards is that teacher
quality is considered to be the single most important in school factor
impacting on student achievement. This is a very powerful statement
and finding, and one that is the result of extensive research into the
field of education (Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and
Development, 2005). Knowing this, it is interesting to then consider why
government bodies choose to allocate a large percentage of their
funding into developing schools aesthetically rather than investing in
teacher development and teacher retention programs. If teachers are
the most important factor having an influence on student achievement,
and the government have funded the release of the Standards, which
support the Melbourne Declaration aiming for all students to become
successful learners, it would then make sense that the government

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focus their funding on ensuring teacher quality is guaranteed across all

Throughout the Standards, it is evident that the expectations of
teachers is incredibly high. It is no wonder that an entire standard is
allocated to the importance of engaging and collaborating professionally
with colleagues, parents and the community (AITSL, 2011). Successful
teachers are those who nurture the parent-teacher relationship and
recognise the important role parents play in their childrens education.
Not only is it important for teachers to inspire their students to learn,
but it is also important for teachers to inspire parents to be passionate
about learning, to ensure that teaching continues in the home
environment to support the work completed in the classroom.
Upon reviewing the Standards, it is evident that there are two factors
that may not have been considered. Firstly, one may question what
methods are used to determine whether the teachers have met the
standards and whether there is one official body responsible for
streamlining the results of said methods? With a document such as the
Standards specifying all the expectations of teachers, it would be
reasonable to assume that teachers would also like to know how their
performance is to be measured so they can ensure that they are
meeting their standards. It would also be beneficial for teachers to know
who is responsible for collecting the results of their performance, in
order for teachers to know how they fair against their peers and
colleagues to encourage them to be the best in their field. This would
also ensure that teacher quality is equal across all areas and students
are therefore receiving the same level of education, regardless of where
they are formally educated. This would in turn, support the Melbourne
Declaration that aims to ensure that schooling in Australia promotes
Secondly, in terms of career progression and encouraging teachers to
engage in professional learning, is there a specified timeframe in place
for when a teacher can expect to move to the next level of proficiency?

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And if so, what happens when teachers are not meeting these time
lines? It is hoped that in any career, an employee remains passionate
about the field they are working in and committed to continually
improving their skill base to be the best in their field. The Standards do
not specify if one can expect to progress in their career in a specified
amount of years or what happens in situations where teachers are not
inspired to aim for higher levels of proficiencies. If the aim of the
Standards is to set out expectations and to articulate the role of the
teacher, it should also specify some realistic timeframes to encourage
teachers to achieve promotions, and at the same time, outlining
discipline for those teachers not meeting the Standards.
The development of the National Professional standards ensures that
the expectations of all teachers are explicitly outlined with the desired
outcome being that all teachers strive to become Lead Teachers.
Despite this document being in circulation, unfortunately it does not
guarantee teacher quality and therefore, it can be questioned how
much of an impact an investment into the development of such a
document actually has on student outcomes.

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership [AITSL]. (2001).
National professional
standards for teachers. Retrieved from
Hattie, J. (2003). Teachers make a difference: what is the research
evidence? Retrieved from
Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs
[MCEETY]. (2008). Melbourne declaration on educational goals for
young Australians. Retrieved from

Melody Collett EDU60009

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD].

(2005). Teachers matter: Attracting, developing and retaining
effective teachers. Retrieved from