ACARA news, November 2021

ACARA welcomes new Chair

26 November 2021

ACARA welcomes Derek Scott as Chair of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority.   

"I congratulate Derek on his appointment as Chair. Derek has been a member of the ACARA Board since January 2021 and we look forward to continuing to work with him, particularly at such a key time in ACARA's work as we progress the full transition to NAPLAN Online and finalise the review of the Australian Curriculum," ACARA CEO, David de Carvalho, said. 

"His extensive experience as a leader in the education sector will support us in our vision to improve the learning of all young Australians. As a current member of the Board, Derek understands well the opportunities and challenges ahead." 

Derek has 20 years’ educational experience and is currently the Principal and CEO of Haileybury, one of the largest schools in Australia with campuses in Melbourne and the Northern Territory. In 2019, Derek was named Principal of the Year. 

He has served on the board of ACARA since 21 January 2021, and was a member of the Expert Panel of the Australian Government’s Quality Initial Teacher Education Review earlier this year. 

Derek’s appointment was agreed to at the Education Ministers Meeting on 12 November. 

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Ms Belinda Robinson for her considerable contribution to ACARA and Australian education during her time as Chair of the ACARA Board from 2018 to 2021. Her unique insight was always welcome and valuable," Mr de Carvalho said.

NAPLAN is for everyone: Help for students with disability sitting NAPLAN

22 November 2021

In a new series of videos, students with disability and their parents, carers and teachers share their experiences of using NAPLAN’s disability adjustments.

All students should have the opportunity to participate in NAPLAN, as they do other school events throughout the year, and there are a range of adjustments available to support students with diverse learning needs and functional abilities to do the tests. The adjustments allow an equivalent experience for students during testing and include, for example, magnification, alternative questions, keyboard accessibility, extra time, rest breaks and tailored testing.

In the videos, students, parents, carers and teachers talk about the sense of belonging and achievement the students get from participating in NAPLAN with their peers.

Student Halle said, “NAPLAN online was actually really helpful because I was in the same classroom as all my other … peers. In some ways, it felt better to be part of the class than to be going up somewhere else.”

Ken Gordon from the ACT Education Directorate, where the videos were shot, says all school experiences should be available to all students. “Students in our schools are entitled to do the same assessments and have a go at everything that every other student has a go at. And through the adjustments that we’ve now got available, we’re making it more accessible for more of the students.”

In addition to the videos, students, parents and carers can get hands-on experience with the format of the tests and the adjustments on the NAPLAN public demonstration site. The Guide for schools to assist students with disability to access NAPLAN provides an overview of the process that teachers, in consultation with parents and carers, follow to assist students with disability.

This information can help schools, students, parents, carers and teachers to together identify reasonable adjustments required for individual students with disability to access NAPLAN.

NAPLAN results can assist teachers by providing additional information to support their professional judgement and to monitor their students’ progress over time against the national measure.

Student Shaun encouraged all students to give NAPLAN a go. “If it’s your first time doing it, just don’t worry about it ... I felt proud of myself for not giving up and just going through it.”

We gratefully thank and acknowledge the students, parents, teachers and schools who shared their experiences, and gave their time and support to the development of the video series.

Visit to watch the videos, or for information on tailored testing, accessibility and disability adjustments, or to view the NAPLAN public demonstration 


Digital Technologies in focus

04 November 2021

Thousands of Australian teachers who participated in a program to support delivery of Digital Technologies lessons in the classroom gained skills and confidence that proved vital for the switch to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ACARA’s Digital Technologies in focus (DTiF) project was a 4-year program, funded by the Australian Government, designed to upskill teachers and enable them to teach the new subject Digital Technologies.

The unique project has now been independently recognised to improve engagement and achievement for students in some of the country’s most disadvantaged schools, but it also has proven to be vital in providing timely tech skills to teachers.

Media release