New authority can close schools, conduct snap inspections

by Robert Ballantyne19 Aug 2016

NSW Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, has announced that the Board of Studies – which will be renamed the NSW Education Standards Authority – will have the power to close non-compliant schools and conduct random unannounced inspections.

The changes, announced on Friday, are designed to boost school compliance and enhance student outcomes, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

“The board ought to make schools nervous around school registration requirements, and it ought to make teachers nervous around teaching standards,” Piccoli said in a statement.

“It's not punitive, it's not about closing schools down, it's about finding where there might be weaknesses and helping schools address those weaknesses in their systems.”

However, Piccoli added that the changes were not “a silver bullet” for improving students’ learning outcomes.

“It's about information: what are the weaknesses and what do we need to do to target those weaknesses?” he said.

The changes: at a glance
  • Increased audits of independent schools
  • Inspectors will conduct classroom observations
  • A more frequent review and update of school syllabuses
  • BOSTES’ 23-member board will be cut to less than 14
The new changes come out of a review of BOSTES chaired by Emeritus Professor, Bill Louden, which was also critical of BOSTES for “needlessly duplicating” national reforms in regulation and curriculum areas, saying the board's regulatory processes are “currently administratively burdensome for schools, teachers, employers and indeed for BOSTES itself”.


  • by Steve 19/08/2016 6:51:35 PM

    Once again a Minister contradicts him/her self. If the proposed changes and powers are truly designed to help schools and improve student outcomes, why should schools be nervous - especially around teaching standards? It's about time those in power learned that whipping people in order to "help" them is a teaching method proven ineffective many years ago. If you want to improve student outcomes give educators the flexibility to respond to student needs instead of caging them within more layers of "standards" and oppressive threats of closure.

  • by 14/09/2016 12:48:21 AM

    Well said. I also find it extremely confusing that after years of study and training, that the board can so easily use terms such as the revocation of a teacher's accreditation without making any reference to what happens when you take away a person's livelihood. Needless to say, that in such a subjective field as teaching, revocations will take place whether merited or not. Furthermore, why should teaching outside a nsw school not count for anything at all? It seems unnecessarily harsh to refuse to recognise a teacher's teaching experience simply because it did not take place in a nsw school. I seriously doubt when the minister of education signed off on these laws that he understood the full ramifications of his actions. I'd hate to be in his shoes when for reasons I believe relate to basic work rights that it all backfires. But then he'll probably not be around for the aftermath. Shame on the nsw government for it's shabby treatment of a problem that requires other solutions and not the teacher's head. This is not the middle ages.