Implementation of local school management and funding arrangements

Local Schools, Local Decisions is an education reform that gives NSW public schools more authority to make local decisions about how best to meet the needs of their students.

This means giving schools greater freedom to make decisions about how to use the money we spend on public education. Schools have more flexibility to respond to local student needs through the allocation of staff and resources. They will manage a single budget and be funded directly through a new resource allocation model (RAM).

This audit is likely to examine the RAM, its implementation and impact.

Supply of specialist teachers

Maintaining an adequate supply of secondary subject-specialist teachers is crucial to meet the goals of the ‘National STEM School Education Strategy 2016–2026’. The NSW Department of Education’s workforce projections identify shortages in qualified subject-specialist teachers. To address these shortages, the Department offers scholarship programs to encourage graduate teachers to practice in a discipline or location of demand. This audit may examine the robustness of the Department’s workforce planning projections and effectiveness of initiatives to increase the supply of secondary teachers in areas of shortage.

Connected Communities - effectiveness of cross-agency coordination

The Connected Communities strategy is a whole of government reform to drive improved education outcomes for Aboriginal children and young people in some of the state's most complex and disadvantaged communities.

The 15 schools, in rural and remote NSW, have been selected to work in partnership with their communities to create the generational change required for students to achieve better outcomes at school and access pathways from school into further learning and employment. The schools act as community hubs to co-ordinate a range of services from government and non-government agencies and tailor education to the needs of their students.

The audit may examine the effectiveness of this coordination, and the impact of the program on students.

Mental health support services in schools

Schools play a critical role in helping children and young people make sense of the world around them. Schools are experiencing increases in the number of students with social, emotional and mental health issues. Students need support that is relevant to their specific needs.

The $167 million Supported Students, Successful Students initiative commenced in 2015. Some of the additional resources under the initiative included:

  • 236 new school counselling/psychology positions
  • $51 million for wellbeing services equivalent to an additional 200 Student Support Officers
  • 500 graduate scholarships to boost the recruitment of school counsellors, psychologists and wellbeing officers. 

Teacher quality

The Department has been pursuing initiatives to shorten and streamline processes for managing underperforming teachers. By 2015 teachers were to be subjected to an annual performance and development process based on the Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework.

This audit is likely to examine the design, implementation and effect of the performance and development process.