Supporting the independent education community

Teachers r Teachers: Check your classification

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In 2021, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) handed down its 267-page decision in the IEU’s long-running equal remuneration orders/work values case.


The FWC decided that significant changes to the pay rates and classification structure contained in the Education Services (Teachers) Award 2020 (the Modern Award) were required to recognise significant changes in the work value of teachers, including early childhood teachers.


The FWC decided that the classification structure in the Modern Award should be based on the accreditation level of a teacher rather than purely on years of service. Therefore, the classification has moved from a 12-level structure to five levels.


Under the new structure, a teacher’s classification is determined by their accreditation status and their years of satisfactory service at Proficient Teacher level.


This means the faster a graduate teacher achieves Proficient Teacher accreditation, the faster they will access higher paying classification levels.

The new classification structure introduces a Level 5 classification which rewards teachers who are accredited by NESA as a Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher.





Graduate teacher and all other teachers (as defined) including those holding provisional or conditional accreditation


Teacher with proficient accreditation


Teacher with proficient accreditation after three years’ satisfactory teaching service* at Level 2


Teacher with proficient accreditation after three years’ satisfactory teaching service* at Level 3


Teacher with Highly Accomplished/ Lead Teacher accreditation

The criteria are for teachers in NSW and may be slightly different for other states, including the ACT, due to teacher accreditation/registration not being available and/or required in some interstate early childhood settings.


Modern Award transition arrangements


A teacher who prior to 1 January 2022 was covered by the Modern Award will have transitioned to the new classification structure on the following basis.

Classification prior to 1 January 2022

Classification on and from 1 January 2022

Level 5

Level 2

Level 6

Level 2

Level 7

Level 2

Level 8

Level 3

Level 9

Level 3

Level 10

Level 3

Level 11

Level 4

Level 12

Level 4

Teachers who are covered under Enterprise Agreements (EA) stay on their current classification structure until a new EA is negotiated for their service. This year the IEU started using a standards-based template when drafting new EAs. This template mirrors the five-level salary structure in the Modern Award.


Eventually, all agreements will transition to the five levels as it is easier for comparison when a draft EA goes through the approval process in the FWC.

* The new classification structure introduces a new concept of “satisfactory teaching service”. Note that all teaching service will be satisfactory, unless the employer can explicitly demonstrate through a timely, formal and documented review that the teacher has not complied with the requirements of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST) on an ongoing basis.


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