Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards news

icon Subscribe by email

Enter your details to receive the weekly BOSTES Bulletin e-zine. Privacy Policy

twitter icon Follow us on


Media releases icon Media releases

Review all media releases.

Media enquiries icon Media inquiries

These contact numbers are for journalists only. Students, teachers and other members of the public should refer to the Contact Us page for the most relevant contact for their enquiry.

Thursday, 05 May 2016

NAPLAN – Test Week

The 2016 NAPLAN tests are from Tuesday 10 to Thursday 12 May. Students absent on a scheduled test day may complete the test at a later time during the test week, either during an afternoon or on Friday 13 May.

No tests can be completed by individual students after Friday 13 May.

To ensure the tests are administered according to the National Protocols for Test Administration and all student participation details are recorded correctly, schools should note the following:

  • NAPLAN coordinators must print off a test participation roll from the Participation and Registration (PAR) website for each test and each test group. The roll should be provided to the appropriate test administrator(s) either prior to the test or with the test materials. Test administrators should be briefed on how to complete it.
  • The principal and NAPLAN coordinator must ensure that the information in PAR about student participation and disability adjustments is completed accurately following the tests, as it is used to produce the student reports and for reporting through SMART. Further information can be found in the PAR Manual.
  • All applications for scribe or computer use must have been approved by BOSTES prior to the Writing test.
  • Approved scribes must follow the NAPLAN scribe rules.
  • Students with a temporary injury are not permitted to use a scribe in the Writing test. Approval may be given for the student to use a computer. Schools should apply through PAR for computer use (temporary).
  • Any breaches of test administration protocols or test security must be reported to the BOSTES NAPLAN team.

The Handbook for Principals and the Test Administration Handbook for Teachers are the key documents to support schools in the administration of NAPLAN tests in NSW schools. These can be downloaded from the PAR website.

All test materials are to be packaged correctly and sent for processing by Wednesday 18 May. Further information about the return of test materials will be published in the BOSTES Bulletin on Monday 16 May.

For more information, contact:
(02) 9367 8382

Thursday, 05 May 2016

US Study Information sessions in Central West

EducationUSA is holding an information session about study opportunities in the US at Kinross Wolaroi School in Orange.

Date: Monday 16 May
RSVP: Friday 13 May
Inquiries: Emma Bylsma, 6392 0346

Students, parents and careers advisers in the Central West who want to attend are invited to register.

Students considering studying overseas can also contact EducationUSA at the US Consulate in Sydney.

The NSW HSC in an internationally regarded credential and every year leading US and UK universities regularly offer places to our high achieving students.

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

Thursday, 05 May 2016

HSC history students discuss US elections with strategists

Nearly 40 HSC history students and teachers attended a recent forum with two leading US election strategists to discuss the US primaries and upcoming November election.

The forum was the second event organised by BOSTES and the US Consulate General for HSC students. Last year over 50 students attended a forum with US entrepreneur Peter Shankman.

3 - 1 1

The two US election strategists, in Australia for a series of public events, were:

Penny Lee – Democratic strategist

Ms Lee was the top communications and political advisor to US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, former Executive Director of the Democratic Governors Association and communications director for Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell.

Noam Neusner – Republican strategist

Mr Neusner was President George W. Bush’s primary speechwriter on domestic policy matters, including tax relief, Medicare reform, energy, and the environment. He also served as Director of Communications and Strategic Planning at the Office of Management and Budget.

BOSTES HSIE Inspector, Darren Tayler, explained that HSC history students are asked to develop a deep understanding of major world events and their causes and consequences, leading historical personalities, and the big historical debates.

“The forum was a great opportunity for these students to assess alternative points of view as well as build on their understanding of US politics.”

The students at the forum came from the following schools:

  • Al-Faisal College
  • Barker College
  • Canley Vale High School
  • Fort Street High School
  • Girraween High School
  • Northern Beaches Secondary College – Manly Campus

The forum was also attended by representatives of the History Teachers Association.

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

Thursday, 05 May 2016

Applications for new Board Endorsed VET courses for 2017

Schools wishing to offer VET qualifications that are not currently endorsed by BOSTES need to apply for endorsement of a new Board Endorsed VET course (VET BEC).

It is important to note that  some courses endorsed in previous years will not automatically be re-endorsed for 2017 following the recent changes to many Training Packages. School system and TAFE NSW representatives have been advised which of these courses/qualification pathways require an application for a new VET BEC for 2017 so schools and colleges should check with their local school system VET adviser.

Applications for new VET BECs to be offered in 2017 are due by Friday 22 July 2016.

 The Guidelines for Stage 5 and 6 Board Endorsed VET Courses and application forms for new VET BECs are available on the BOSTES website.

 For more information, contact:
VET team
(02) 9367 8310

Related Categories
Thursday, 05 May 2016

The Best of WriteOn 2015

A collection of outstanding work from the 2015 WriteOn competition is now available for teachers to use to model writing in classrooms.

WriteOn is an annual writing competition open to all primary students in Years 1 to 6. Using a photograph as a stimulus, students are asked to compose an imaginative piece of writing.

These exemplary Stage 1 to 3 student work samples cover a range of imaginative text type options from across NSW education sectors.

The work samples are useful to:

  • establish high student expectations
  • model excellent standards of student work
  • teach imaginative writing of texts
  • develop creative approaches to writing.

The Best of Write On 2015 is available in the e BOS Shop online > What’s New/Special Offers.

For more information, contact:
Peter Lee
Inspector, Primary Education
(02) 9367 8191

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