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Schools selected randomly for inspection

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Schools selected randomly for inspection

In 2017, the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) strengthened its risk-based approach to regulation by expanding the program for the inspection of schools selected randomly. The program now includes government schools and continues to select individual and systemic non-government schools.

The inspection of schools selected randomly:

  • considers school compliance with a subset of the registration requirements rather than the full set of requirements; 
  • occurs with a minimum four days’ notice, having regard to the assessment of risk associated with the registration requirement(s) being monitored; 
  • assesses whether the school continues to comply with the registration requirements.

During an inspection, the selected school provides a sample of the materials identified in the Evidence of Compliance sections from the relevant registration manual:

For non-government school registration systems and the government schooling system, the inspection of schools selected randomly is part of the NESA process for system monitoring.

NESA implements two processes for the purposes of system monitoring:

  • System monitoring – cyclical
  • System monitoring  – random selection.

The characteristics of these two processes are described in the NSW Education Standards Authority System Monitoring comparison table.

Random selection of schools

Schools are selected randomly to form a sample that is proportionate to the number of schools in each schooling sector.

In 2017, the sample includes 18 government schools, 4 individual non-government schools and 4 systemic non-government schools.

Schools that are already part of the NESA inspection program, for example, schools seeking renewal of registration in 2017, are excluded from the selection process.

Notice to schools

The selected schools will be contacted by an Inspector no less than four days in advance of the inspection.

The contact will be by phone call to the school’s Principal (or equivalent) followed by written notice identifying the inspection date and confirming the subset of requirements to be assessed.

For government schools and systemic non-government schools, the nominated system representative will be notified prior to phone contact with the school’s Principal (or equivalent).


In 2017, there are two separate subsets of requirements, Strand A and Strand B. Thirteen schools will be selected in relation to either Strand A or Strand B. This will comprise nine government, two systemic non-government and two individual non-government schools for each strand. Each selected school will be inspected in relation to only one of the strands.

Inspections of schools in relation to Strand A will commence in Term 2, 2017 whilst inspections of schools in relation to Strand B will commence from Term 3, 2017.

Strand A – Annual priorities in 2017

The subset of requirements at Strand A relates to annual priorities of NESA.

The annual priorities in 2017 relate to requirements for:

  • safe and supportive environment – child protection, including evidence that all staff who have direct contact with students are informed annually of their reporting obligations and staff engaged in child-related work at the school have a working with children check clearance; and
  • safe and supportive environment – student welfare, with particular regard to policies and procedures for anti-bullying OR policies and procedures for raising and responding to complaints and grievances from students and/or parents/caregivers.

Strand B – Quality of teaching and student learning

The subset of requirements at Strand B relates to the quality of teaching and student learning.

Under amendments to the Education Act 1990, from 2017, NESA is to have regard to the quality of teaching and student learning in deciding whether the requirements for registration are being met.

The relevant Manual for each schooling sector describes how schools may demonstrate the quality of teaching and student learning.

Further information in relation to Strand B will be published during Term 2, 2017.

Findings and outcomes of the inspection

While the focus of the ‘random inspection’ process is a subset of the requirements, an Inspector may request additional evidence in relation to a broader range of registration requirements should compliance concerns be identified.

For government schools and systemic non-government schools, the ‘random inspection’ program has regard to the context in which these schools operate as members of a system and the associated responsibilities of the system in managing the compliance of their schools.

Where a ‘random inspection’ identifies compliance concerns, the individual school and, if relevant, the non-government registration system or Department of Education will be requested to provide NESA with evidence of addressing the concerns. The school may be subject to further inspection.


An Inspector will prepare a report identifying the findings of the ‘random inspection’ in relation to the school’s compliance. The school and system, if relevant, will be provided with a copy of the report prior to it being considered by the NESA School Registration Committee.

Further information

Official Notice 51/16 – Inspection of schools selected randomly in 2017

Official Notice 14/17 – Inspection of government and non-government schools selected randomly in 2017

For more information, contact:
Stan Browne 
Senior Inspector, School Registration and Accreditation Directorate 
(02) 9367 8156 

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