The Quality Time Program
The NSW Department of Education’s Quality Time project aims to simplify, modernise and reduce administrative processes and practices so teachers, principals and school-based non-teaching staff can focus on the work that matters most – teaching, leading and supporting learning.
The Quality Time Program explained
The NSW Department of Education’s Quality Time program aims to simplify, modernise and reduce administrative processes and practices so teachers, principals and school-based non-teaching staff can focus on the work that matters most – teaching, leading and supporting learning.
While many tasks essential to teaching and learning have an administrative component, and many administrative tasks are vital in supporting student participation in the classroom.
The Minister for Education set a 20 per cent reduction in time spent on non-essential administrative tasks by the end of 2022. We have now met this target, however, we will continue to look for opportunities to simplify and improve administrative practices in schools.
The Quality Time mid-year update shares progress since the September 2021 Quality Time Action Plan, including action in response to the extensive feedback staff provided in 2021.
Download the Quality Time Program Mid year update
From duplicating effort to delivering accessible, high-quality resources
Curriculum resources and support
Skilled programming and lesson planning are a critical part of teaching. Searching for, verifying and adapting quality resources, however, can take teachers significant time.
The development and sharing of centralised, high quality resources for optional and on-demand use by teachers is in progress. By ensuring these are easily accessible, searchable and adaptable, teachers can be better supported through curriculum changes, making it easier to personalise and differentiate learning to the specific needs of students.
These resources are being developed by teachers for teachers and will be made available to schools following feedback provided by teachers and leaders in curriculum early adopter schools.
What's been completed
- Launch of the Universal Resources Hub
- Added reading and numeracy resources
- Added curriculum reform resources
- Continuing to update the Universal Resources Hub as part of the School Success Model program, including adding quality assured resources, units of work, and scope and sequences, in line with the syllabus rollout under the NSW curriculum reform, as well as improved ways to store, find and share teaching and learning content.
Developing a curriculum management system to easily find resources mapped to the curriculum.
Building on existing state-wide networks such as state-wide staffrooms to provide improved systems for further collaboration.
Utilising expert teachers and resources, such as Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers (HALTs), Best in Class teachers and What Works Best resources to highlight efficient practices.
From inefficiency and double-handling to efficient and effective assessment, feedback and reporting processes
Assessment and reporting to parents and carers
High-quality assessment helps teachers monitor student progress and inform next steps for learning.
Assessment provides feedback to teachers on the effectiveness of their teaching approaches. Effective feedback cycles provide students, parents and carers with explicit, constructive and actionable information on student performance against learning outcomes from the syllabus, and how they can improve. By using a range of marking techniques and different types of assessments, it is possible to reduce the time teachers spend on marking and providing students with feedback, without negatively affecting learning outcomes
Implemented the check-in assessments for reading and numeracy (select years in primary and secondary).
Developed and improved additional formative assessment resources and templates for on-demand, optional use by teachers.
Improve guidance around expectations for reporting to parents and carers.
Implement a single sign-on (SSO) for teachers and students to streamline the delivery of department-developed assessments.
Establish a joint working group with parents, carers and teachers to explore ways to streamline reporting processes.
From multiple processes to streamlined systems
Accreditation is a process by which teachers demonstrate quality teaching practice against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. Accreditation upholds the integrity and accountability of the teaching profession and ensures high-quality teaching in every classroom.
Quality feedback and professional learning are central to improved practice and an integral part of accreditation. Many teachers find that locating the right information and documenting accreditation can be time consuming and challenging. The principle that teachers only need to ‘tell us once’ will drive the improvement to accreditation procedures.
The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) sets the accreditation policy for NSW. To solve common problems, the department will work with NESA to streamline processes.
Updated the department’s policy in line with NESA’s Teacher Accreditation Act changes, with a broader review of accreditation policies.
Removed duplicative processes, steps and requirements between NESA and the department.
Provided clear and simpler guidance on end-to-end accreditation steps for all roles.
Developed system enhancements to simplify teachers’ ability to access and manage their accreditation information.
Improved reminders for required steps and suggestions of how to keep on track with accreditation.
Streamlined administration requirements for maintaining accreditation.
Improved integration of accreditation with performance and development plans.
Clarified guidance on recommended professional development linked to accreditation.
From uncoordinated changes to clear communication and change management
School administrative processes
Departmental processes, policies and systems could be better aligned with the way schools operate. A range of improvements are already underway, including streamlining of policies, improving administrative technologies and simplifying processes.
It is anticipated that further opportunities will be identified as feedback continues to be sought and as case studies of innovative school administrative practices are collected and shared.
Introduced single-sign-on capability to main department systems.
Enhanced MyPL (professional learning management system), with a teacher dashboard and improved search functionality.
Provided one-to-one support for the school budget.
Provided a digital school check-in solution for visitors, contractors and service providers
Consolidated and streamlined departmental operational policy documents into one place to improve user experience
Published online toolkits which assist principals to communicate the latest operational settings and updates to families, staff and the community
Digitise student administration forms that are used by schools, and provide quick reference guides (QRGs) to support schools with these processes
Ongoing streamlining and improvement of communication to schools
Established a ‘process improvement and optimisation’ team, piloting best practice solutions across a selection of schools in metro and regional locations – including case studies of schools using innovative administration methods
Develop a digital ‘single front door’ and service catalogue to simplify the process for staff to find and use department information and services
Further prioritise and limit changes impacting schools through the Master Schedule/Consolidated School Schedule.
Developing enhancements to the school check-in app
Review end-to-end processes and develop tools and resources to support schools in setting up efficient local processes
Deliver a consolidated set of modern digital tools to accelerate operational leadership for new school principals
Refresh the device strategy for schools to provide staff with updated and compliant devices and leverage contemporary learning tools
Automate data entry of payments into third party administrative systems
Implement a new website search to improve intranet navigation and make information easier to locate
Develop supporting material to provide guidance for filling temporary roles (via expression of interest).
From inaccessible services to clear, flexible and high-quality support
Student and staff support services
While teachers, school based non-teaching staff and principals all have different responsibilities regarding student learning, wellbeing and safety, there is substantial overlap in the frustrations school staff can experience while engaging with various administration systems and processes.
Whether it be in student reporting, excursion planning, or the management of student welfare and disability support, feedback from schools has highlighted the importance of considering a variety of staff roles and support needs when designing improvements.
- Improved the access request process for students applying for additional support provisions including the following changes:
- Integration funding support for students in Year 6 is automatically rolled over to Year 7 at their secondary school without the need for a new access request which saves time for schools.
- A Centralised Integration Funding Support team has been established to support the funding application process to reduce the time taken to respond to requests, and changes to the system have reduced the need for applications to be returned to school for editing.
- Removal of access request applications for students requiring only an Itinerant support teacher hearing and vision which saves time for schools.
- New placement panel Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and system changes allow the disability confirmation to be updated by Delivery Support teams after application submission by schools resulting in reduced numbers of access requests returned to school for editing.
- Standardised panel procedures for access requests to be managed on average within 28 school days from submission, for requests for immediate and next term support provisions, to a panel decision being recorded.
The Team Around a School model aims to provide schools with easy access to support using a ‘one call model’. School executive or learning and support team staff can contact their local Assistant Principal Learning and Support or Learning and Wellbeing Officer to request support. There is no form or application required.
Established a panel of pre-screened specialised allied health professionals which can be readily engaged to support students with disability.
Funded students to participate in sports carnivals and other activities, which reduced administrative tasks for school staff to administer collection and payment of sporting fees.
Develop a process to quality-assure student wellbeing service programs to provide schools with improved support and clearer guidance.
Improving rural and remote teachers access to student files from any location, giving increased flexibility and access, especially in situations like floods, bushfires or pandemics.
Teacher time spent on mandatory training is reduced through simplified eLearning modules without compromising on quality.
Develop an integrated application management system as part of the future access request experience. The system will link student needs, associated adjustments to National Consistent Collection of Data and applications for Integration Funding Support and support classes.
From lengthy processes to meaningful risk management and better guidance
Extracurricular activities, such as excursions and sports carnivals, form a valued part of a well-rounded education. For many teachers, they also provide the opportunity to further explore their interests and apply a variety of learning methods outside of the classroom. The administration involved in organising these activities can be extensive.
There are significant opportunities to learn from efficient processes that currently exist within schools. Improved guidance and clarity can be provided in order to manage workload connected to extracurricular activities.
Delivered a new excursions policy and procedures including new approval process and resources for overseas excursions.
Developed a centralised digital location for users to access streamlined information and advice on the organisation and management of variations of routine.
Offered training for different staff profiles, for example in relation to overseas excursions process and requirements.
Streamlined approval processes, resources and advice for principals on how to manage extracurricular activities.
Clarified mandatory requirements – and what is optional.
Provided clearer advice on WHS requirements.
Digitised manual forms and payment processes.
Develop a bank of venue, accommodation and transport providers for excursion options across the state.
Explore options to consolidate the variation of routine coordination process in schools.
Develop example excursions linked to the curriculum with accompanying templates to be reviewed.
Provide schools with simplified access to a pre-approved list of system providers, with modules for streamlined variation of routine processes such as planning, risk assessment, permission notes and payments.
From disjointed and inefficient methods of collection to automation and single-source data
Data collection and analysis
The collection and analysis of data is important as it gives schools valuable evidence to support school management and the effective delivery of educational programs. However, schools report that department data collection, monitoring and analysis processes can be time-consuming.
- Provided clearer guidance on the use and phasing out of data fields on the student record cards
- Digitised student enrolment for the majority of students
- Automated data transfer from assessments developed by the department to SCOUT and PLAN2 (check-in assessments, phonics and Best Start Kindergarten and Year 7, as well as on-demand diagnostic assessments for reading and numeracy)
- Removed the requirement for absences to be imported to EBS (a department data system)
- Automated the process to transfer attendance data from schools to the department’s data warehouse
- Streamlined paperwork and processes for HSC monitoring
Implement an enhanced ‘Parent Online Payment’ system including a language translator service and an improved mobile experience for parents and carers
Streamlined paperwork and processes VET processes
Automate data sharing between third-party software used by schools to department systems to eliminate the need for double-entry of information
Develop pre-filled data requirements across different levels of government or government agencies
Provide pre-approved system providers which enable streamlined data collection and management.
Develop a data governance framework to lessen the amount and complexity of data collections required, streamline processes, limit to appropriate users, and achieve effective use of data gathered
Create an online “education passport” that allows students to store and share academic and co-curricular achievements in a single digital location
Consolidate and uplift internal and external systems
Automate data transfer from formative assessments developed by the department to PLAN2.
The department has met the 2022 time savings target, and will continue to look ahead to activities and initiatives in 2023 and beyond.
Beyond time savings
The Quality Time program will continue beyond the 20 percent time saving target, and shift to a more comprehensive approach to measuring impact and effectiveness. This will move away from minutes saved and will focus on delivering outcomes in the areas where staff have told us there is need for real change.
The Quality Time work to streamline and simplify processes to reduce time spent on administrative load is ongoing and will continue to provide benefits for our schools.
There is still work to be done and there is no single solution that addresses the challenges our teachers, leaders and school support staff face. The work to simplify and improve administrative practices in schools will be ongoing regularly review.
We will continue to inform staff of our progress via these pages and other communications channels, such as staff noticeboard.