Priority Items

2021 BEST START Year 7 Assessment (Ref: 218/20)

Best Start Year 7 is an optional literacy and numeracy assessment package for secondary schools, offered to schools since 2019. The assessment will be available to schools again in 2021. The assessment:

  • provides a current snapshot of the literacy and numeracy skills and understandings that students bring to secondary school, and
  • supports teachers in the planning of targeted teaching strategies across all subjects.

Schools may choose to use Best Start Year 7 to supplement their existing primary to secondary transition practices.

Schools that choose to participate in Best Start Year 7 will be provided with professional learning and support to help prepare and administer the assessments, and to access post assessment feedback. The professional learning will be made available on-line.

The BSY7 assessment window for non-government schools is Monday 15 February to Wednesday 10 March 2021.

The cost of participating in Best Start Year7 is $2.00/ student.

Please use the following link to register your interest in participating in 2021 Best Start Year 7 before 16 November 2020

Note that continuing schools (those that have participated in Best Start in previous years) will still need to complete the Opt-in registration form so that school details can be updated.

Confirmation of particpation will be provided to participating schools once the registration period has closed.

Click here for an FAQs document which may be of use.

For further information contact

Updated TAA Guidelines, November 2020​ (Ref: 228/20)

As notified in Official Notice NESA 31/20, 30 October 2020 (link here​), NESA has updated the TAA Guidelines and the transitional arrangements have been removed.

A small number of additional editorial changes have also been made, although NESA has indicated that these should not impact on a TAA’s policies or procedures. A tracked changed version of the Guidelines can be accessed here. 

Any queries regarding the Guidelines can be directed to Jane Williams, Senior Inspector, School Registration and Accreditation,, (02)9367 8256.

NEW DATE! Copyright Society webinar “Legal issues in copyright enforcement” (Ref: 226/20)

The Copyright Society of Australia has decided to defer the date of this webinar event (originally scheduled for the same time as the US election).

The event will now be held from 12.30-2pm on Tuesday, 24 November 2020. If you have already purchased a ticket and are unable to attend, we will of course refund or credit your purchase.
Please email if this applies to you.

Professional Learning

Child Safe Standards Professional Development – Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG) (Ref: 228/20)

Introduction to the Child Safe Standards for School Staff on November 24,  3:00-4:30. This is an introduction to the child safe standards suitable for school staff. The OCG encourages any school leaders or teachers who have not attended any previous sessions or who want to update their knowledge about the child safe standards to attend. Register here.

There is an expectation that new Child Safe Standards legislation will be introduced into the NSW Parliament soon. This will make implementation of the Child Safe Standards mandatory for every school in NSW.


German Teachers - Kurz Und Bundig Online Workshops (Ref: 225/20)

Join Teachers of German in Australia for the last two online professional learning sessions this year to get ideas and inspiration for the remainder of Term 4:
Fri 13 Nov, 4:00-5:00 pm AEDT
“Interaction in the German classroom” with Pati Ramishvili
Fri 27 Nov, 4:00-5:00 pm AEDT
“Grammar with movement” with Natalie Miller

for more information please click here.


NSW Curriculum Review

NSW Curriculum Reform: ‘The Later Years’ (Ref: 230/20)

The NSW Government’s response to the recommendations in the final report on the review of the NSW Curriculum regarding the later years (Years 11 and 12) highlighted the need to strengthen senior secondary pathways, and to reconsider the impact and relevance of the current strong divide between vocational and academic learning in the senior years.

‘The NSW Government supports the development of a smaller number of rigorous, high-quality HSC courses. All senior secondary subjects must provide a strong foundation for future learning and life beyond school.’ (NSW Government Response to the NSW Curriculum Review Final Report, page 12)

Catholic Schools New South Wales continues to contribute to current and recent reviews relevant to the senior years, such as the recent Review of Senior Secondary Pathways. The current review of the NSW Vocational Education and Training sector is relevant to the discussions about vocational education in the school sector as part of the reform of the NSW Curriculum. This topic will be one of several the Catholic Schools New South Wales VET Advisory Group and other key stakeholder groups will explore further. We await further advice from NESA regarding curriculum reform developments for the later years. Having implemented innovative and best practice 21st Century school structures and curriculum provision in many of our secondary schools, the NSW Catholic sector is well placed to contribute to these reforms.



Not -For-Profit Governance Compliance Self-Check Tool (Ref: 232/20)

The NSW Department of Education has recently launched a Not -For-Profit Governance Compliance Self-Check Tool.

The tool was developed by the NSW Department of Education with input from Catholic Schools NSW and the Association of Independent Schools.

The aim of the tool is to assist schools’ governing body members to revisit the not-for-profit obligations and identify areas where further work may be needed, including how to action strategies for improvement, if relevant. An additional benefit of the tool is the ability for Responsible Persons to test their knowledge of the duties and obligations which accompanies the role of Responsible Person.

The governance tool provides a useful summary of background information regarding the regulatory environment for NSW Non-Government Schools. The main component of the tool is a questionnaire, designed as a ‘self-check’ instrument. A series of self-refection questions then assist a governing body to develop a plan of action.

The tool can be accessed by clicking here.

Responses to the questionnaire are confidential to those who complete it. They are not collected by the Department of Education. Further queries or feedback regarding the tool can be emailed to


School Newsletter

Online safety webinars for your parent and carer community (Ref: 231/20)

Each term, eSafety Education will offer a new parent and carer webinar topic that will run numerous times. These webinars will provide parents and carers with the knowledge, skills and tools to support their children to have safe, positive online experiences. This is especially important in an era when we are all online more than ever before.

The Term 1 webinar topic is eSafety’s guide to cyberbullying and online drama. This will be offered five times over the term.

Click here for eSafety’s 2021 webinar schedule. We would be grateful if you could note the dates as you start planning the year ahead, then advertise them in 2021 through your communication channels with parents and carers.

Sun and UV at School - Skin Cancer Prevention Resources (Ref: 227/20)

Using these resources in the lead up to summer, students will learn about sun protection, and how to make healthy, safe and proactive choices that reduce their risk of skin cancer.

Statistics show that melanoma is the most common cancer affecting young Australians aged 15-24. With that in mind, Cancer Institute NSW will be teaching students about the dangers of sun exposure and that skin cancer prevention starts with practising sun-safe behaviours at school.

This focus on sun safety follows the release of a suite of interactive skin cancer prevention resources for NSW schools. The Sun and UV at School classroom resources are curriculum aligned and have been developed by the Cancer Institute NSW in consultation with the NSW Department of Education, other education advisors and Cancer Council’s SunSmart program.

As part of the initiative, students will be encouraged to take part in a Sun and UV School Challenge, designing contemporary shade solutions that protect them, their friends and local community from the harmful effects of the sun.

Click here for more information.


Viola Composition Competition (Ref:224/20)

After three previous successful Viola Composition Competitions ,ANZ Viola Society,  are organising another one in Winter next year – as advertised on

Click here for the Conditions of Entry (rules) of this competition. Click here for the Entry Form.

Note that there is now a new category in the competition this year: compositions will be accepted for viola plus voice or viola plus one other instrument, for the first time.

Please help advertise the competition with anyone you know who is teaching or studying composition or who might just feel like dabbling in writing music for viola or violas and ‘having a go’.

Our previous ANZVS Composition Competitions have given us several viola solos, duets, quartets and other ensembles which have been very enjoyable to play in Café Violas and ad hoc. Violas Only sessions.

Once you become a viola-player, one of your most important duties is to strive to enlarge the library of solo viola music” Lionel Tertis

Want to be part of an empowered, deadly network of Indigenous women leaders? Want an amazing career? (Ref: 222/20)

The Young Indigenous Women’s STEM Academy is currently recruiting for young women who are interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The Academy will give you the tools and support you need to succeed in an exciting STEM career.

Start your journey in 2021 by applying to take part in one of our year 8 camps in the Blacktown, Penrith and Central Coast local government areas (NSW), or the Perth region (WA).

We’re aiming to empower a generation of female Indigenous leaders, role models and game changers in STEM. Apply now to join us, or pass the link onto the deadly young Indigenous women you know.

Apply now! Applications have been extended!