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Thursday, 28 Apr 2016

NSW Young Scientist of the Year visits BOSTES

The winner of the Science Teachers’ Association of NSW (STANSW) Young Scientist of the Year and runner up of the BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Awards, presented her investigation to a group of leading science education and industry representatives at BOSTES.

Jade Moxey won for her investigation ‘The Spread of Seeds through Cattle’  that examined which seeds, in particular weed seeds, germinated in cattle manure and their management. Her investigation has great significance in dealing with weed control and grazing management systems for agriculture, particularly in cattle related industries.


Jade’s presentation was well received and the group, which included BOSTES Science Inspector, Kerry Sheehan, provided constructive feedback to assist her with her presentation skills and responses to scientific questions. Jade will next present her investigation to a panel of judges at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona in May.

Jade is in Year 11 at Sapphire Coast Anglican College, Bega, where her Principal, Andrew Duchesne, reports she has become "a bit of a celebrity".

Mr Sheehan congratulated Jade on her successes and wished her well at the international awards on behalf of the group. He described her as "an outstanding example of the inventiveness of NSW science students and a great future ambassador for science".

For further information about Jade and the BHP Billiton Science awards see

Information about the STANSW Young Scientist of the Year program can be found on their website.

For more information, contact:
Kerry Sheehan
Inspector, Science
(02) 9367 8144




Thursday, 28 Apr 2016

HSC Visual Arts professional development video

BOSTES has produced a professional development video for HSC Visual Arts teachers as part of our commitment to helping teachers improve and maintain their teaching practice.

The video was filmed at the Visual Arts marking centre for the 2015 HSC, and focuses on the use of “critical dialogue” in the marking process. The critical dialogue involves two markers discussing the qualities of a body of work, before individually considering the work’s relationship to the marking guidelines and awarding an independent mark. The critical dialogue facilitates a deeper engagement of the conceptual strengths, meaning and resolution of a body of work than may be possible for a marker or teacher viewing a work by themselves.

BOSTES strongly recommends that all HSC Visual Arts teachers watch the video to gain an understanding of the HSC marking process.

Further information can be found in the Visual Arts syllabus and related documents.

For more information:
Rosemary Gorman
Inspector, Creative Arts
(02) 9367 8161

Thursday, 28 Apr 2016

Fairness and integrity core to NSW HSC

BOSTES has released the 2015 data for four programs that support the fairness and integrity of the NSW HSC.

Summary of 2015 statistics:

Disability provisions

  • BOSTES received 6985 applications for disability provisions
  • 94% were either fully or partially approved
  • Almost 89% of all schools – and 89% of government schools – had at least one application for disability provisions. This is a small increase from 2014.

Illness/misadventure applications

  • As Illness/misadventure applications are for occurrences of sickness or other unforeseen incidents, the numbers, types and schools vary from year to year
  • Some Music listening exams were affected by loud thunderstorms that made hearing difficult.

Assessment integrity

  • All schools are required to maintain a register of malpractice in school assessment tasks
  • In 2015, 206 schools registered 719 instances involving 623 students
  • The most frequent instance was plagiarism, for which 64% of cases received zero marks, and 32% were given reduced marks.

Examination integrity

  • Incidents of cheating remain very small
  • This includes a very small number of students (10 from over 77,000) appearing before the Examination Rules Committee for breaching examination rules and 97 students where the school was unable to certify that the student’s major project was all their own work or completed in the permitted time.

To ensure the HSC’s fairness and integrity, BOSTES applies stringent processes when assessing disability provisions and illness/misadventure applications, and applying assessment and examination integrity rules. BOSTES considers each application and incident on a case by case basis to ensure that all decisions are fair and transparent.

  • Disability provisions in the HSC give practical assistance to students who may otherwise be disadvantaged when undertaking their exams. Emergency provisions are also approved for late injuries, such as a broken arm just prior to the examinations. Disability provisions do not confer additional marks and are not intended to confer any advantage. They allow students to participate in the examination process in the same way as their peers.
  • Illness/misadventure applications also do not confer any advantage. If an illness/misadventure application is upheld, BOSTES will consider other indicators of the students’ performance, such as school assessment marks, to ensure students are not disadvantaged by this occurrence.
  • Examination integrity includes breaches of examination rules and malpractice by students undertaking HSC examinations or school assessment tasks. BOSTES and schools take incidents of malpractice seriously, and warn students that the consequences of malpractice can range from loss of some marks to their entire HSC.

For more information, contact:
Michael Charlton
Director, Media
(02) 9367 8248


Thursday, 28 Apr 2016

NAPLAN – Preparing test administrators

Principals and NAPLAN coordinators should ensure final preparations are underway for the administration of the 2016 tests.

The responsibilities of the principal in overseeing the 2016 NAPLAN tests are documented in the Handbook for Principals (pp 18-24).

  • The principal will determine and appoint relevant persons to act as test administrators.
  • The principal will ensure test administrators are provided with the relevant Test Administration Handbook for Teachers and all assessment materials and are familiar with the requirements of the role, including implementation of disability adjustments for relevant students.
  • The principal will ensure test administrators are provided with a copy of the code of conduct.

The Test Administration Handbooks for Teachers should be distributed to test administrators as soon as convenient after delivery. All other test materials must be securely stored until test week.

The NAPLAN Code of Conduct can be downloaded from the PAR website.

It is strongly recommended that schools hold a meeting this week with test administrators, including itinerant teachers who will be administering the tests, and support staff, to fully brief them on NAPLAN test administration protocols and procedures. Refer to suggested topics for discussion to prepare the agenda.

Two interactive PDFs can be downloaded from PAR > Documents and Forms to assist in preparing test administrators.

  • NAPLAN 2016 Guidelines for NAPLAN coordinators
  • NAPLAN 2016 Guidelines for test administrators

For more information, contact:
(02) 9367 8382

Related Categories
Thursday, 28 Apr 2016

Review of the PDHPE K–10 Syllabuses

BOSTES has endorsed a review of the NSW K–10 PDHPE syllabuses to consider incorporation of Australian curriculum content.

To keep up-to-date with opportunities to participate, subscribe to the BOSTES Bulletin and follow @PDHPEBOSTES on twitter.

To be considered for inclusion on the BOSTES Register of Curriculum Writers for PDHPE please submit an Expression of Interest.

Schools should continue to teach the current NSW K-6 and Years 7-10 PDHPE syllabuses during the review.

For more information, contact:
Karen Ingram
Inspector, PDHPE
(02) 9367-8150 

Thursday, 28 Apr 2016

2016 HSC Drama Group Performance information

BOSTES requires details of student Group Performances to schedule the 2016 Drama performance exams.

Schools should enter the following information about Group Performances via Schools Online > Examination Options and Scheduling:

  • the number
  • the title and the names of students in each group.

Please ensure that the name and correct email address for the supervising teacher for Drama are also entered as important information on the performance exams will be emailed directly to them.

Schools are asked to enter this information by Friday 10 June.

Logbooks for EACH student should be given to the examiners in program order for Group and Individual Performances.

The Rationale for the Individual Project, Performance, should be on the last page of the logbook. A rationale is not required for the group performance.

For more information, contact:
Cara Homem
(02) 9367 8168

Thursday, 28 Apr 2016

Building positive body image

The mandatory K–10 PDHPE syllabus contributes significantly to students’ formation of sense of identity, feelings about their appearance and ability to make positive choices about their physical, social and emotional health and wellbeing. It identifies the skills that build resilience and self-acceptance, and the critical thinking required to assess the impact of negative images, stereotypes and messages presented through various forms of media.

In K–6 PDHPE, students explore:

  • characteristics that make them similar to and different from others
  • recognising and accepting differences
  • feelings about changes to personal appearance and the body
  • building positive relationships
  • ways they communicate, cooperate and care for others
  • how positive health choices can promote wellbeing
  • cultural influences on a sense of self, nutrition, physical activity and a young person’s decisions
  • influences of media and culture and their impact on body image and self esteem.

In Years 7–10 PDHPE, students explore:

  • factors that influence a sense of self
  • the relationship between a sense of self and body image
  • the importance of self-acceptance and self-belief
  • the changes and challenges that adolescence presents
  • understanding mental health and how to help yourself and others
  • skills that enhance resilience, eg. problem solving
  • valuing difference and diversity
  • healthy food habits and the benefits of being physically active
  • the impact of social media and other influences on our sense of self
  • available support services and skills to access health information, products and services.

Schools play an important role in celebrating the diversity and individuality of our students and in developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes young people need to build resiliency, a strong sense of identity and capacity to accept and care for others. Undertaking a whole school approach, which supports acceptance and respect for difference, provides a safe, supportive environment where students can be themselves, free of adversity.

Working in partnership with parents and the community to build knowledge, skills and understanding enhances positive attitudes, support and acceptance for all people in the school community.

It is important for teachers to use their professional judgement when considering which resources they use to ensure content is delivered in an age, stage and culturally sensitive way. All websites and resources should be previewed and evaluated in full, prior to use.

 For more information relating to positive body image, visit the following websites:

For more information, contact:
Amy Harriman
Senior Curriculum Officer, PDHPE
(02) 9367-8317

Thursday, 21 Apr 2016

Vale Dame Leonie Kramer

BOSTES notes with sadness the passing of Dame Professor Leonie Kramer, a member of the former Board of Studies for 11 years.

The Australian academic, educator and professor died at her home in Sydney last week at the age of 91.

Her academic career began at the University of NSW, and then as professor of Australian literature and then Chancellor at the University of Sydney.  She was also a visiting professor at Harvard. In 1982 she became the first woman to chair the board of the ABC. 

She was a founding member of the Board of Studies.  On her retirement in 2001, she was thanked for her 'outstanding contribution to the work of the Board, particularly in the area of English.'

Related Categories
Thursday, 21 Apr 2016

Presentation of President’s Aboriginal Studies Award

BOSTES President, Tom Alegounarias, recently presented the Aboriginal Studies Award for the highest performing 2015 HSC student to Benjamin Wilson. Benjamin is a current Year 12 student at Champagnat Catholic College, Pagewood, and completed HSC Aboriginal Studies last year at the Sydney Distance Education High School.

He was commended on his achievement and presented with a trophy and certificate recognising his academic excellence at a ceremony attended by family members and his school principal.


Board Bulletin  Aboriginal Studies Firsn Benjamin Wilson Matthew Wilson Stephen Wilson Tom Alegounarias - 20 APRIL

Principal David McInnes, family members Mark Heiss, Gisella, Benjamin, Matthew and Stephen Wilson with President Tom Alegounarias.

For more information, contact:
Dr Christine Evans
Chief Education Officer, Aboriginal Education
(02) 9367 8198


Wednesday, 20 Apr 2016

2016 HSC exam timetable available

The 2016 HSC written examination timetable will be available on Wednesday 27 April.

Students can view their personal timetable via their Students Online account.

Schools are asked to encourage HSC students to log in to check personal details and timetables. Please advise students to speak to the principal or a senior staff member if there are any errors, omissions or clashes in their timetable.

Schools can download their 2016 HSC written exam timetable via Schools Online.

The full timetable will be published on the BOSTES website.

For more information, contact:

Bronwyn Hughes
(02) 9367 8223