BOSTES review concern

NSW’s strong position is now in jeopardy, says Federation

The NSW government has placed in jeopardy the quality of NSW education across all sectors, Federation President Maurie Mulheron said in response to plans to review the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES).

Announcing the review, the state government spoke fondly of the “new national architecture for schools” such as the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) and the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL).

“So, too, NSW needs to ensure that the state’s educational architecture best meets the present and future needs of NSW schools,” the government document says.

The review’s terms of reference include: “The optimum processes for formulating and assuring high educational standards for curriculum, for assessment, for schools and for the accreditation of teachers.” The review panel will also look at membership of the Board and the functions of the members of the Board, and Board committees and related structures (for example, the Quality Teaching Council). At present, curriculum development is still overseen by a representative board.

“NSW faces the prospect of having fundamental decisions about its curriculum, assessment and teacher accreditation made by distant and detached Canberra bureaucrats,” Federation Vice President and member of BOSTES, Denis Fitzgerald said.

“As former prime minister Abbott did with AITSL, the prospect now exists in NSW that education will be handled by hand-picked, politically chosen, tame ‘experts’ rather than those who know NSW education best and have the interests of children and students as their first priority. NSW has the strongest and most respected curriculum, credentials, assessment and examination systems in the land. This is now all in jeopardy,” Mr Fitzgerald added.

The union will mount a significant campaign against the review.

BOSTES review panel members are former federal bureaucrats:

  • Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Western Australia, Bill Louden (Chair)
  • former Secretary of the Australian Department of Education and Training Lisa Paul
  • former general manager, Curriculum ACARA and regional director, Sydney, of the NSW Department of Education, Dr Phil Lambert.

The review panel is to report back to the Education Minister by July. The review’s full terms of reference can be found here.