Participation in 2021
From 2021, the NSW Department of Education is asking all eligible schools to participate in Tell Them From Me.
Schools that are eligible include all schools except for those listed below. Schools are asked to extend the student survey to all students in Years 4-12 for whom Tell Them From Me is suitable.
School types that will not be required to participate but may do so at their discretion, include:
- Schools for Specific Purposes (SSPs)
- Environmental Education Centres
- Schools with fewer than 10 enrolled students across Years 4-6 (for primary schools) or Years 7-12 (for secondary schools)
- Primary Schools without Year 4-6 enrolments, such as Infants Schools.
If there are circumstances which will make undertaking the survey complex in Term 1 2021, please talk with your Director, Educational Leadership.
The Tell Them From Me teacher survey
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the department asking all schools to undertake Tell Them From Me?
The department is committed to ensuring that every student has a voice in their learning and is known, valued and cared for at school. Tell Them From Me supports these goals by assisting schools to collect valuable data on student engagement and wellbeing from the perspective of the entire school community – students, parents and teachers.
When will my school complete Tell Them From Me?
Schools will complete the student survey during the Term 1/2 survey window in 2021, and the teacher survey in the second survey window in Term 3/4. The option to undertake additional surveying of students and parents will also be available in the second survey window.
Can parents opt their child out of participating in the student survey?
Yes. The opt-out consent process is still being carried out to give parents the opportunity to have their child opt-out from Tell Them From Me.
My school uses its own student wellbeing survey. Can I still use this?
While you are certainly able to continue to use other student and community surveys should you wish to do so, to ensure the consistency and validity of student wellbeing and engagement data, you will also be asked to undertake Tell Them From Me if you are an eligible school.
Can I complete the student survey in Term 3 instead?
Term 1 has been selected as the survey period for students as it allows our Year 12 students to participate without interrupting their HSC preparations. It is also the data from this period that forms the basis to support school wellbeing targets.
My school has a good reason for not completing the student survey this year. Do we still have to do it?
There may be exceptional circumstances that prevent your school from participating in Tell Them From Me at certain times. Should you wish to discuss an exemption from undertaking Tell Them From Me during a particular survey period, speak to your Director, Educational Leadership.
Do I still need to register my school as I have in the past?
Yes. As in the past, the department will undertake a registration process beginning in Term 4 each year where you will have the opportunity to nominate which of the Tell Them From Me student, parent and teacher surveys you would like to participate in for the following year. Options include:
Survey period 1 (Term 1/2)
- Student survey (all eligible schools)
- Shortened student survey (optional alternative)
Survey period 2 (Term 3/4)
- Student survey
- Shortened student survey
- Teacher survey (offered and encouraged for all eligible schools)
- Parent survey
Will the parent survey be mandatory or optional for 2021?
The Tell Them From Me parent survey is optional. The department, in consultation with schools, is considering options for the design of the survey next year and will communicate these to schools once concluded.
Do we still need to participate in the People Matter Employee Survey (PMES) as well as the Tell Them From Me teacher survey?
Teachers should be encouraged to continue participating in the People Matter Employee Survey (PMES), as it measures different things from the Tell Them From Me teacher survey. The Tell Them From Me teacher survey provides insights into effective teaching practices, including learning culture, teaching strategies, feedback to students and teacher collaboration. PMES provides insight into employee satisfaction, engagement with their work and the department, workplace culture, communication and change, diversity and inclusion, leadership, professional learning, career opportunities and recognition.
How is Tell Them From Me data used?
Tell Them From Me data is used by schools for school planning and improvement processes. The department uses the data to support systemic measures designed to enhance student engagement and wellbeing, including as the basis for wellbeing targets to ensure that every student is known, valued and cared for. Research conducted using de-identified NSW data also allows us to gain real insights into our own system, supported by the national and international evidence base.
My school has never completed the Tell Them From Me surveys before. Where do I start?
The department provides training and support for all NSW public schools participating in Tell Them From Me. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accessibility and suitability of the surveys
My students with low literacy, learning difficulties or mild intellectual disability find the survey difficult to complete. What is the department doing to address this?
The department is addressing this in several ways.
- In 2020, the department introduced an optional shortened survey to address concerns about survey length. This shortened version still captures key measures of student engagement, wellbeing and teaching practices.
- Implementation guides have been developed to help support teachers working with students with low literacy. These guides include advice about how teachers can answer student queries about individual questions.
- The department has commissioned a review of the readability of the student survey by the Centre for Inclusive Design. This review is investigating the barriers experienced by students when undertaking the survey including layout, reading level and length. Students and teachers are being consulted to ensure the results reflect their experience. Following this review, the department will work with the survey provider to implement the findings to improve the readability and accessibility of the survey.
- The department has advice relating to text-to-voice technology available on the Tell Them From Me online portal.
How will students with a visual impairment be able to undertake the survey?
The department is investigating options to ensure that the surveys are accessible to students with visual impairments. The surveys have been assessed for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) compliance and the survey provider has committed to ensuring compliance by the end of 2020.
What is the department doing to help students with moderate to severe intellectual disability to undertake the survey?
The department has partnered with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) to develop and trial an accessible survey for students with moderate to high support needs to ensure all students are able to participate. The trial will involve students with moderate to high support needs (moderate to severe intellectual disability and/or autism) from schools for specific purposes and mainstream schools that have support classes. UNSW has been engaged to work alongside teachers to design, test and evaluate an accessible survey method for this cohort of students. The department will use the findings of this trial to build our evidence base and support our teachers to improve the participation of students with moderate to high support needs.
How does Tell Them From Me meet the department’s accessibility requirements?
The department commissioned a review of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) compliance of the survey portal and is working with the survey provider to ensure compliance by the end of 2020.
Can students in K-3 participate in Tell Them From Me?
Not at the moment. The department is exploring options for expanding Tell Them From Me to students in Year 3, as well as alternative wellbeing surveys for students in K-2.
Can students access the surveys in other languages, including Auslan?
While the student survey is not available in different languages, FAQs about the student survey for parents are available in 22 community languages. The parent survey is also available in 22 community languages. The department is working with the survey provider to investigate the feasibility of providing an Auslan translation for the student survey.
My students find the survey too long to complete. Can the survey be shortened?
In 2020, the department introduced an optional shortened survey to address concerns about survey length. This shortened version still captures key measures of student engagement, wellbeing and teaching practices. Schools can choose to undertake the full or shortened surveys at their discretion.