Our Frequently Asked Questions section below will help to answer any queries you have about the Spelling Bee. If your question is not included below, please use the form at the bottom of the page to contact us directly.
Is the Spelling Bee free to enter?
Yes, it is free to enter. There is no charge for schools or students to take part.
Can my class hold a physical Spelling Bee instead?
We encourage all activity which promotes spelling based activities. However, this competition is digital-only.
Do all students have to sit the Spelling Bee at the same time in the School Round?
No. Teachers can conduct the Spelling Bee in groups within the competition period for the Schools Competition Round and within the designated time window for State/Territory and National finals.
It is important for teachers to remember to check the Consent Form box. Student access codes are not available unless the Consent Form box is ticked.
Why do teachers have to use an education email to sign up?
The Spelling Bee is a schools-based competition so we want to communicate with teachers via their school email addresses and contact details. If you do not have an education email, please email email@example.com and we will set up an account for you.
I am a teacher, but do not have an education email address, can I still sign up?
Please contact the Kids News administration team, which runs the Spelling Bee, on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will set up an account for you.
I am a homeschool teacher. Can my students take part?
Yes, homeschool students are eligible to enter if the teacher can provide the approved Australian registration certificate for the homeschool. Please contact the Kids News administration team, which runs the Spelling Bee, on email@example.com for more details.
Can students compete without submitting a Consent Form?
No. A signed Consent Form is compulsory. The Spelling Bee administrators may require teachers to provide proof of the signed Consent Form at any stage of the competition.
Can students use spelling tools to assist them?
No. Individual entrants are not permitted to use additional aids or resources including physical or online dictionaries, Google or other search engine tools, spelling or grammar plug-ins, word lists, mobile phones, tablets, or any other device or object that could be construed as having potential to give spelling advice.
Entrants must not have any inked or printed writing on the palms of their hands or visible part of their body that could be construed as having the potential to provide spelling advice when they participate.
Entrants must not have help from other students or teachers during any part of the Competition.
Failure to comply may result in teachers and judges taking action to disqualify the entrant.
Can students in Years 9-12 or adult students learning English enter?
No. The competition is restricted to students in Years 3 to 8.
Can my student enter more than once?
No. Each entrant can enter and complete a Competition Round only once.
Can Special Needs students enter?
Yes, provided they comply with the following competition rules:
a) They attend a school or registered homeschool that is officially enrolled to participate in the Competition. Proof of Australian homeschool registration will be required and must be sent prior to participation in the Competition to firstname.lastname@example.org;
b) They are able to compete as an individual entrant without the assistance of another person;
c) They are able to listen to the delivery of the Spelling Bee words via audio on their own;
d) They are able to type and submit responses on their own into the Competition website; and
e) They have not reached the age of 15 on or before February 1, 2023.
What if the competition page is blocked when my students try to take the Bee?
This is probably a firewall issue. If your school is using its own network, check your firewall settings. If your school is using your state education department network, you will need to contact the department and log this problem with them as soon as possible.
I registered for the Spelling Bee last year, can I still use that account?
No, the site has been upgraded since 2022 and you must register again for 2023.
How does a teacher complete the Integrity Check?
The Integrity Check process has changed since 2022. There is no longer an Integrity Check box that teachers need to click after a student has completed a round of the competition.
Instead, by registering an account and adding students to their class, teachers agree that students will be supervised and will complete each round of the Competition in accordance with the Competition rules (See Rules and Regulations section).
Do students have to wear headphones?
No. However, it is highly recommended that students wear headphones to reduce outside noise when they are listening to the audio within the competition.
My browser isn’t allowing the Spelling Bee to show. What can I do?
The suggested browsers for ideal performance in the Spelling Bee are listed under the HOW IT WORKS section of this site.
Where do teachers find the students’ Access Codes?
Individualised Access Codes will be provided to teachers for each entrant within the Teacher Dashboard. The Access Code will only be activated when:
a) The signed Consent Form has been received and acknowledged by the teacher by checking the consent form box;
b) The competition round officially opens.
Where can teachers find the Consent Form?
The Consent Form is located in the Resource Hub and also on the left panel of the Teacher Dashboard.
How long does each student have to spell each word?
Each entrant is required to answer 30 randomly served spelling words within a 25 second time allowance per word after the audio to each key word finishes. A countdown timer will appear on the screen for each word. Each entrant will need to click the “Listen Now” button and this will start the audio for the word to be spelled (Key Word). The Key Word is given to the student by audio, with the word spoken first, the word then used in a spoken sentence and the word repeated. Each entrant will need to type the Key Word into the text box which appears on the screen but will be unable to type anything in the text box until the audio has completed – once the audio is complete the text box will become active and the 25-second countdown will begin and cannot be stopped.
Does viewing the hint penalise the entrant?
The 25-second countdown does not pause when students click on the Hint button.
Can students compete in a higher level than their current Year?
Yes. Entrants are eligible to be entered into the category which matches their actual Year level or the category one ABOVE their actual Year level (ie a Year 4 student can enter the Orange category for Years 5-6) but entrants cannot be entered into categories BELOW their actual Year level.
How will teachers know if entrants have progressed to finals?
Teachers will be notified of the entrant’s invitation to compete in the finals by email. The entrant’s details will also automatically update and be placed into the State or Territory final level in the Competition Dashboard.
My student is unable to sit a Final on the day or at the time that is specified. Can they sit the final another day?
No. The finals must be completed within the time window on the set days.
What if the National Final is a tie?
If there is a tie for the final winner of the National Final Competition Round, a tiebreak round will be conducted the following day. If required, the tiebreak will open at 11.30am AEST on September 8, 2023, and close at 1.30pm AEST on September 8, 2023. Teachers will be contacted by email and phone to alert them to the entrant’s tiebreak status. If any of these participants are unable to compete in the tiebreak they forfeit their ability to win the national prize but are still considered a competitor in the National Final Competition Round.
What happens if circumstances beyond the student or teacher’s control occur (such as a power outage) and interrupts the Bee?
If a participating student is unable to complete any Competition Round due to circumstances beyond their control, such as telecommunications outages or interruptions, power outages or the ringing of a fire alarm, then teachers may contact the Promoter via email at email@example.com to generate a new access code for that student. This request must be made within 60 minutes after the interruption occurred (unless there are extenuating circumstances which justify the delay, as determined by the Promoter acting reasonably). This new access code will allow the student to continue the Competition Round from after the last word they had seen (ie that word will not be repeated even if they did not enter an answer for the last word they had seen). The Promoter may ask for evidence of the relevant circumstances. If the Promoter, at any time, reasonably believes that the student ought not to have been able to recommence the Competition Round, the student may be eliminated from the Competition.
What if the competition page is blocked when my students try to take the Bee?
This is probably a firewall issue. If your school is using its own network, check your firewall settings.
If your school is using your state education department network, you will need to contact the department and log this problem with them as soon as possible.