Rewarding Excellence in Teaching

Effective 1 May 2023, the Rewarding Excellence in Teaching project ceased.

The Classroom Career Pathway project will explore any aspects of the Rewarding Excellence in Teaching policy development and consultation that may be built upon.

Content relating to the Rewarding Excellence in Teaching project will remain here while the department transitions relevant aspects of the work to the Classroom Career Pathway project.

The Rewarding Excellence in Teaching project aimed to strengthen the teaching profession in a way that supports and scales effective classroom teaching practices across the system to benefit all students.

Commencement of build, test and learn phase

On 21 February 2023, the NSW Government announced the implementation of Phase 1 of the Rewarding Excellence in Teaching program.

This will start with a build, test and learn phase at 51 NSW public schools who have opted in to be early adopters. Approximately 200 new roles will be in place in these schools from Term 3, 2023.

Read the full list of the 51 pilot schools (PDF 67.9KB).

These schools will help to co-design the policy, test how it works in their school context, and give feedback on what centralised support is required to help ensure the public school system can leverage the expertise of highly effective teachers.

An iterative design process and thorough evaluation will underpin our work in this phase, which will help inform further phases of implementation.

Release of the Consultation Playback Report

On 21 February 2023, a report detailing the findings of the extensive consultation process undertaken by the Rewarding Excellence in Teaching project was released.

In total, we held over 269 different consultation sessions with thousands of teachers, school leaders and educational partners. This included 125 roundtables held across all NSW metropolitan, regional and rural principal networks, and 4,554 survey responses from employees of the department and members of the community. Thank you to everyone who provided feedback.

Read the quick summary (PDF 2,034KB).

Read the full report (PDF 5MB).

The findings of the consultation process will help inform the design of the build, test and learn phase, which will commence with roles in selected schools from Term 3, 2023.

Release of the Options Paper

On 1 November 2022, the NSW Government released the Rewarding Excellence in Teaching Options Paper, which sets out what a career path for classroom teachers could look like. The paper provides a proposed model, including roles and functions, pay, allocation of roles, selection processes, how we could define excellence, and more.

Read the quick summary of the paper (PDF 290 KB).

Read the summary for schools and teachers (PDF 452 KB).

Read the full paper (PDF 786 KB).

The Options Paper will inform the next phase of consultation, which will include in-person engagement with every school network across the state during November 2022.

Have your say on the Options Paper

Thank you to those who completed the survey on the Have Your Say website. The survey closed on Friday 25 November.

Release of briefing paper

On Wednesday 28 September 2022, the NSW Government announced the release of the Rewarding Excellence in Teaching Briefing Paper. This paper outlines the case for change, lessons learnt from previous initiatives, as well as an overview of approaches taken to similar subjects in other jurisdictions and sectors. The paper will form part of the targeted consultation process with stakeholders and educational partners over the forthcoming two months.

If you have any feedback on the issues and subjects raised in the paper, you can email the project team at



The Rewarding Excellence in Teaching project aims to recognise excellence in classroom teaching and strengthen the practice of teacher colleagues, as well as making the profession more attractive to those who are considering pursuing teaching as a career.

The purpose of the work is to create a clear classroom teaching career pathway that values professional collaboration and effective teaching practice and allows for further career progression while staying in the classroom.

About the project

The project will explore how our expert teachers can best support collaborative practice and sharing of their professional expertise in and across schools, to help ensure all our students have access to even stronger evidence-based, high-quality teaching.

The project raises important and complex questions for teachers and leaders. The department will consult widely and deeply, working with members of the teaching profession and a wide range of educational partners to define and identify excellence in teaching, how to best acknowledge and recognise classroom teacher expertise and how to support and inspire colleagues and the broader system.

The work will embrace the many different contexts in which teaching excellence exists, including in schools for specific purposes (SSPs), in small schools, in rural and remote areas and in those schools with community responsibilities. It will also explore the views of our most experienced teachers and educational leaders in our current system, as well as the views of our newer teachers and those contemplating coming into the profession.

This project of work is not about rewarding NAPLAN results, or putting in place performance pay, or about rewarding tenure. It is about identifying and recognising teachers who achieve great things for their students every day and who support and inspire other teachers to do the same.

The department is currently developing the project through consultation with a wide range of stakeholders and educational partners from now until the end of November 2022. In this initial phase, we will be engaging staff and opinion formers via:

  • a series of 'round table discussions' held in metropolitan, regional and rural areas to capture a range of voices and views from across our school communities, including those from small schools, SSPs, environmental education centres (EECs), primary schools, central and community schools and secondary schools
  • school visits where we will capture feedback and insights from principals, school leaders and teachers
  • ongoing consultation with the Secondary Principals' Council (SPC), Primary Principals' Association (PPA) and the NSW Teachers Federation
  • information briefing sessions where representatives from professional bodies including the Professional Teachers' Council (PTC) and various leading professional associations will be invited
  • an initial insights survey which is available to all staff from across the system to provide feedback on the concept development phase of the work.

This initial engagement will be followed by the development of a policy paper and a period of further extensive consultation, likely to be in Term 4 2022. The learnings from this consultation process will inform the development of the final policy.


Please email the project team at


  • Teaching and learning

Business Unit:

  • Transformation
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