School registration extended to public schools

Wednesday 28 May 2014

In a first for NSW the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards' (BOSTES) school registration system will be extended to cover public schools, Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli announced today.

"BOSTES currently registers Independent schools and the Catholic school sector after being assured they comply with requirements related to teaching staff, facilities and delivery of the curriculum," Mr Piccoli said.

"The changes will mean government schools will have to show they meet the same standards that non-government schools are required to meet under the Education Act 1990.

"While the Act requires the government school sector to meet those same requirements, there has not, until now, been an independent means of assuring compliance. BOSTES will verify that the government school sector meets the equivalent standards required of non-government schools in order to be registered."

Legislation to amend the Education Act to allow the change will be introduced to the NSW Parliament this week.

"As Minister for Education for all NSW schools, it makes sense that the same standards are met by all schools in NSW," Mr Piccoli said.

"BOSTES, with the assistance of the Department of Education and Communities, will provide me with an independent assurance that the systems and processes in the government school sector address the requirements of the Act.

"NSW public schools are already required to meet the policy directions and requirements set by the Department that cover a similar range of operational aspects related to school staffing, student wellbeing and the curriculum. These changes will strengthen those existing processes by providing independent verification.

"The verification process will not be burdensome and acknowledges that the government school system already has a robust system of quality assurance.

"The Department will remain responsible for ensuring that NSW public schools meet the Act's registration and accreditation requirements."

Next year the Department will provide the BOSTES with advice on how it will ensure public schools meet the registration requirements so that BOSTES can advise the Minister that NSW public schools comply with the same requirements as non-government schools by the end of 2015.

Mr Piccoli also announced that the Department is developing enhanced processes for school planning, assessment and reporting with a focus on ongoing school improvement and excellence.

"We know our school leaders have been working hard to improve the learning outcomes of our students. Under  Local Schools, Local Decisions we promised a simplified ‘one plan, one budget, one report' structure to streamline the planning and reporting processes that were tying schools up in a myriad of paperwork, and stopping them from focusing on what really mattered," Mr Piccoli said.

"We also promised to create a bigger role for the school community in helping to set the direction of the school based on local needs. The new approach will clearly define what is meant by quality in NSW public schools and set out clear pathways to support schools in their ongoing pursuit of excellence."

The new approach will be built on a clear description of effective school practice across the three key elements of education – learning, teaching and leading.

The Department will now commence broad consultation with principals and teachers to finalise the new processes for school planning, assessment and reporting. The new approach is expected to be finalised by the end of this year for rollout from 2015.


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