New authority can close schools, conduct snap inspections

New authority can close schools, conduct snap inspections

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”.