Guidelines for writing school comments

Method of collection

The Principals’ Portal allows authorised school users to submit new or updated school comments. These submissions are the only method of collection of this content by ACARA for publication on the My School website.

Quality assurance (QA) of school comments should be completed by the school prior to uploading to the Principals’ Portal. The school will confirm QA completion on the site by marking a check box on the comments editor page. It is the responsibility of school principals to ensure that comments uploaded to the Principal’s Portal have been approved by the relevant authority.

ACARA undertakes QA checks on school comments, reserving the right to reject the supplied text where it exceeds the character limit or has grammatical, style or content issues.

Site functionality

The text editor allows basic formatting of comments text, including font style, clear paragraphs with hard returns and the use of bullet points lists. The text editor page displays both the currently published school comment on My School and a free-text box for entering a new or updated comment.

Please note: for security reasons, the website will time out after 15 minutes of inactivity. Please prepare your school comment in a Word document and then paste the text to the school comments text box to submit for publication.

If you experience ongoing issues submitting edited comments for publication, email the comments to [email protected] with a contact name, telephone number and school name. ACARA's portal support team will submit these comments on your behalf.

Character limit and format

School comments may be up to 5,000 characters in length, including spaces. The text editor is a basic word processing tool and comments need to be input as ’plain text'. Plain text format recognises a limited set of symbols and formatting marks, which includes elements such as hard returns and bullet point lists. Please note hyperlinks will not work in your school profile comment.

Content and style

A school profile is intended for a general audience and should be written in plain English, avoiding bureaucratic or technical terms.

Typically, a school profile presents key aspects of a school, including its mission, values and focus.

The text may also include:

  • information about curriculum strengths and specialist programs
  • extra-curricular activities and achievements in academic, sporting, performing arts or community activities
  • contextual information about the school’s religious affiliations or educational philosophy.

Introductory phrases for formulating text may include:

  • ‘The core values of the school are ...’
  • ‘The school achieves its mission by ...’
  • ‘Some unique features of the school or school population are ...’
  • ‘The school plays an important role in the community by ...’

Principals may also wish to describe school improvement strategies. Some of these may be linked to students’ NAPLAN results. Comments may begin with phrases such as:

  • ‘Strategies to improve numeracy results include ...’
  • ‘A focus on spelling in Years 3 and 4 has resulted in ...’
  • ‘A successful reading program for middle school students has been introduced...’

Privacy and identification of individuals

When drafting their comments for the My School website, make sure you consider the privacy of their students and teachers. Identification of particular students or teachers may be a breach of the Privacy Act and in some situations could be considered defamatory.

Privacy guidelines to follow when drafting comments include:

  • Do not name students or teachers either by their given name or family name.
  • Do not identify small groups of students by ethnicity, religious beliefs, socio-economic background or learning needs; for example, ‘students with intellectual disabilities’.
  • Do not identify students by any other characteristic that could enable them to be identified by members of the school or local community.
  • Be conscious of making comments that may be perceived as discriminating against or vilifying a particular group or groups in the community.

Contact Principals' Portal support

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 1300 895 563