The NSW Department of Education and Communities welcomes research undertaken in its schools that is of high quality and of value to public education and the field of education generally. Research cannot be conducted in NSW government schools without the approval of the DEC. Applications for approval to conduct research are made under the State Education Research Applications Process (SERAP).

SERAP has been revised to support the quality of research activity in government schools, to enhance the benefits to the DEC of that research activity and to reflect the Department’s regional structure. As part of the revision of SERAP an online application process has been developed to support an efficient and focussed way of submitting quality applications.

The State Education Research Applications Process (SERAP) applies to research carried out by external agencies in NSW public schools including:
  • pre-schools
  • primary schools
  • secondary schools
  • central schools
  • community schools
  • environmental education centres

SERAP also applies to research carried out using extant data (existing data sets and summary statistics) held by the Department. Research cannot be conducted in NSW public schools or using extant data without departmental approval.

When assessing research applications, the Department gives consideration to:
  • benefit – the potential benefit of the research to the Department, the researchers and the wider community
  • feasibility and methodology – the likelihood that these benefits will be realised
  • the benefits vs the risks of releasing personal and/or sensitive information for research purposes, and the adequacy of privacy and security arrangements.
  • cost – the impact on, or time and effort required by the Department’s staff and students as participants and co-investigators
  • ethics – whether the participants are accorded the respect and protection that is due to them.

Likely benefits, feasibility and methodology are considered in relation to likely costs and ethical requirements.