NSW Education Standards Authority

Mission and Purpose

Consistent with the National Declaration on the Educational Goals for Young Australians, NESA’s mission is to support teachers, schools and sectors to offer all children and young people a high quality education that enables them to fulfil their potential, through schooling that:

  • is characterised by equity and excellence
  • equips young Australians to become successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens, and
  • nurtures the development of the whole person, preparing students not only for undertaking meaningful work, but for living the lives they have reason to value.

NESA brings about change to improve student learning and wellbeing through:

  • supporting the teaching profession to be the best it can be through the Australian Professional Standards for Teaching and quality assurance of professional learning and development
  • developing world class curriculum
  • deepening the understanding and practice of assessing student knowledge and capabilities, and
  • driving improvement in the quality assurance systems for schools.

NESA provides a forum for collaboration on key educational matters in NSW and works in partnership with students, parents, teachers, principals, school sectors and other stakeholders to identify issues and produce policy that supports teaching practice and student learning, and the attainment of high education standards in NSW.


Objectives and Functions

The Education Standards Authority Act 2013 (NESA Act) sets out NESA’s principal objectives. These are to:

  • provide strategic leadership in improving standards of school education
  • promote an evidence-based approach in improving standards of school education
  • ensure that the quality of teaching, school curriculum, forms of assessment and regulatory standards under the NSW education and teaching legislation are developed, applied and monitored in a way that improves student learning while maintaining flexibility across the entire school education and teaching sector.

NESA has functions under the education and teaching legislation in relation to:

  • the accreditation of teachers and the monitoring of the accreditation process across all schools and early childhood education centres
  • the approval of initial and continuing teacher education courses that are relevant to the accreditation of teachers
  • the development, content and application of professional teaching standards
  • the school curriculum for primary and secondary school students
  • basic skills testing
  • the granting of Records of School Achievement and Higher School Certificates
  • the registration and accreditation of schools
  • the approval of providers of courses at schools to overseas students, and
  • reporting and advising on matters relating to NESA’s functions.


Standards, informed by Evidence

The foundations of NESA’s work are standards that are developed through the analysis of data, research and the practical experience, wisdom and professional judgement of teachers and schools across the four domains of teaching quality, curriculum, assessment, and school regulation.

As an independent authority acting across school sectors, NESA identifies common and agreed standards and benchmarks for the jurisdiction as a whole.

NESA draws on evidence nationally and internationally to implement policy that generates improvements in the quality of teaching and student learning.

NESA draws together expertise from within the school sectors, universities and other professional groups and promotes evidence-based analysis, teacher judgement and policy within and on behalf of the teaching profession.


Values and Operating Principles

NESA’s work is underpinned by the following values and operating principles:

  • Supporting the profession: Help to maintain and build the status of the NSW teaching profession.
  • Educational expertise and leadership: Exercise a leading role in ongoing monitoring, research and development in teaching quality, school curriculum, assessment, and school regulation.
  • Quality and effectiveness: Implement best practice to provide high-quality, efficient services that are effective, relevant to the interests of and respond to the needs of the New South Wales community.
  • Accountability and transparency: Actively promote community confidence in NSW education through activities in the public interest that are ethical, sustainable and transparent.
  • Focus on stakeholders: Provide exemplary representation and service with professionalism and commitment to our stakeholders.
  • Productive relationships and partnerships: Foster collaborative, constructive and valuable relationships and partnerships with the school sectors and the community.
  • Equity and inclusiveness: Policies and programs are underpinned by the principles of equity and inclusiveness and will be designed and delivered with fairness, transparency and consistency.
  • Research, evaluation and innovation: Encourage and promote innovation and creativity to encourage new strategies, ideas, products and processes.
  • Continuous improvement: Secure continuous improvement through active self-evaluation and independent external evaluation of our work and services.


The Board

The Board of the NSW Education Standards Authority (the Board) is established by the NESA Act. The Board:

  •  provides strategic leadership in improving standards of school education
  •  promotes an evidence-based approach to improving standards of education, and
  •  ensures that each of the following matters is developed, applied and monitored in a way that improves student learning while maintaining flexibility across the entire school education and teaching sector:
  1.  teaching quality and professional standards
  2.  school curriculum
  3.  forms of assessment, and
  4.  regulatory standards for schools.

The Board has oversight over:

  •  high-level strategic governance of NESA
  •  regulatory functions set out in legislation
  •  financial governance to provide direction on the alignment between resource allocation and functions for NESA, and
  •  meeting priorities set out in the Minister’s Statement of Expectations.

Board members exercise their functions in a manner that promotes the objectives of NESA and in the interests of students.