Statement of Expectations
In October 2023 the Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car provided the NESA Board with the following Statement of Expectations.
Improving educational outcomes for students across the state is a key priority for the NSW Government.
The Government’s aspiration is for every child to receive a high-quality education, that equips them with the knowledge and skills they need to fulfil their full potential, regardless of what post-school pathway they choose.
Our success depends on having teachers that are supported, valued, and enabled to focus on their core work – teaching. The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) role in this, is vitally important. The expectations the Government has set for NESA are designed to support teachers in ensuring that all students in NSW, regardless of their location, have access to quality schools, teaching, syllabuses, and assessment.
In recent years, the teaching profession has come under enormous strain due to significant teacher shortages and excessive administrative workload. This is a challenge that needs to be addressed urgently.
The Government is committed to the 2022–2024 NSW Implementation Plan for Closing the Gap, including key action areas to improve the educational outcomes of Aboriginal children and young people. NESA should strengthen initiatives to help achieve these targets in all its areas of responsibility.
The six points below set out the Government’s expectations of NESA from the date of issue to 31 December 2024, to be evaluated in the first half of 2025.
1. Reducing unnecessary workload
The administrative burden placed on teachers should be reduced as far as possible.
Administrative requirements should be confined to those that support teachers, add value to their work and benefit the delivery of education to NSW students.
The rationale and benefits of any administrative task should be clearly communicated to teachers and schools.
The accreditation process should not be overly burdensome for teachers and schools, have a pragmatic and sensible approach to risk, and have a continued focus on national consistency.
2. Focusing clear and concise language
To ensure successful and effective compliance with NESA’s processes, and to promote transparency for the broader public, all documents should be clear, concise, and simple to understand.
Outward-facing documents and resources should be clear, concise and, as far as possible, easy to implement.
NESA’s requirements of teachers and schools should be clear and explicit in all its documents and communications. This is to avoid duplication, the creation of unnecessary work and any misunderstanding of what is actually required. In that respect, NESA should consider setting and communicating “maximum” requirements.
3. Supporting teachers in implementing the new curriculum
The success of curriculum reform depends on teachers having the opportunity to fully familiarise themselves with the new syllabuses and being able to properly prepare for their implementation.
The new curriculum needs to be delivered in line with the reprioritised timetable and in a way that provides the maximum amount of support for teachers.
NESA needs to maximise the opportunity for consultation on new syllabuses and provide teachers with sufficient time to provide feedback.
4. Addressing teacher supply challenges through teacher training
NESA should work with AITSL and higher education providers to ensure that high-quality initial teacher education (ITE) programs are being delivered and that they are properly preparing graduate teachers for the classroom. The final report of the Teacher Education Expert Panel, and subsequent decisions by Education Ministers Meeting, should be used as the basis for this work.
NESA should also work with ITE providers to design programs that promote effective classroom practices. This includes developing stronger partnerships with schools and incorporating early in-school employment opportunities for conditionally accredited final year ITE students.
5. Removing barriers for teachers in subjects of greatest need
NESA should work with school sectors, ITE providers, teachers and stakeholders in preparing teachers for those areas of greatest need, such as Technological and Applied Studies, while maintaining the standards expected of the teaching profession. This includes, where possible, streamlining administrative processes.
The Subject Content Knowledge policy should be reviewed to incorporate relevant knowledge and skills in addition to academic teaching qualifications. NESA should also continue to work with the Department of Education on the teaching subject codes, with the aim of removing any unnecessary administrative barriers for attracting teachers in those areas of greatest need.
6. Successfully deliver the Higher School Certificate exams and credentials
NESA should continue to modernise the HSC by prioritising improvements to its operations and technology systems.
Working closely with school sector authorities and other stakeholders, NESA should provide advice on enhancing opportunities for students in senior secondary education, in line with recent reports such as the 2020 Masters’ Curriculum Review and the 2021 Shergold Review.