The IEU has been in discussions with NESA to ensure clarity as to the processes underpinning inspections both random and cyclical. Principals should note that a ‘risk’ approach is now utilised by NESA.
This revision stemmed from the review of BOSTES. The risk framework provides a mechanism for differential approach to inspections. For example, a school moving to the provision of the HSC for the first time would come under closer scrutiny.
For schools that are determined to have a lower ‘risk’, minimal provision of documentation ie scanned samples of the curriculum and student work, would inform the inspection. Principals can ‘attest’ that a full range of policy documents exist rather than provide all the documentation.
Member concerns stemmed from the initial floating of the issue by then State Education Minister Adrian Piccoli in 2016. The Education and Teaching Legislation Amendment Act 2016 provides the legal basis for random inspections of schools (across all sectors) in NSW.
It is important that schools derive the intent and carriage of an inspection from the registration manual – Registration Systems and Member Non-Government Schools (NSW) Manual. This manual will be updated in light of the current negotiations and will provide considerable clarity. Systems of schools will develop a particular overlay but should base these expectations on what NESA is actually seeking, rather than generating additional teacher workload.
Critically “the NESA processes have particular regard to minimising any additional administrative burden on either the system or individual schools by utilising any existing or future system processes that serve a similar purpose to the NESA monitoring processes”. This clause (derived from the NESA consultation papers) in particular should be a starting point for a school advised of either a random or cyclical inspection.
Importantly NESA has indicated that a random inspection would take about two hours and does not involve classroom interruption or teacher observation.
A cyclical inspection should take about half a day and similarly does not interrupt teaching and learning.