The department oversees policy, funding and compliance issues relating to non-government schools.
The NSW Department of Education advises the Minister on policy, funding, and compliance issues relating to non-government schools. The Department works closely with non-government school sector organisations, including the Association of Independent Schools NSW and the Catholic Schools NSW.
The NSW Government provides $1.5 billion annually to support non-government schools. Funding is provided in accordance with the NSW Education Act 1990 to non-government schools that are registered by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) and that do not operate for profit.
The NSW Government supports needs-based, sector-blind funding for all schools. From 2019, the NSW Government started the transition to fund non-government schools at 20% of their Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) by 2029. The Commonwealth Government began transitioning its funding to 80% of SRS in 2018.
This is in line with the Commonwealth Government's new funding model and is consistent with NSW's commitments under the National School Reform Agreement and New South Wales Bilateral Agreement. This is a simpler common funding system for all schools that focuses on student needs and educational outcomes.
Some schools may be eligible for State transition assistance in 2022 to help them adjust to the new funding arrangements. The Commonwealth also has transition assistance funding.
For more information on 2022 funding, download the following fact sheets:
- 2022 NSW funding for non-government schools
- Funding for non-government schools 2019-2029 (PDF 91.08KB)
- Criteria for expenditure of NSW funds for non-government schools
For more information on prior-year funding, download the following fact sheets:
- 2021 NSW funding for non-government schools
- 2020 NSW funding for non-government schools (PDF 96.3KB)
- 2019 NSW non-government school funding 2019 (PDF 99.5KB)
- 2019 Transition assistance for non-government schools (PDF 86.41KB)
- 2019 NSW SRS entitlement 2019 (PDF 398.44KB).
For general enquiries about state funding for non-government schools, email NGSFU@det.nsw.edu.au.
The NSW Government is investing $500 million into non-government schools to help them build more classrooms and cater for growing enrolments.
This additional capital funding will be used by non-government schools in NSW to build, extend or upgrade their school facilities and accommodate more students in growing communities.
The increased investment will be delivered through grants under the Building Grants Assistance Scheme, which directs funding towards areas of greatest need. The scheme takes into account fees, demographics and socio-economic characteristics of the school.
Schools should contact their Block Grant Authorities for any questions in regards to the Building Grants Assistance Scheme or the NSW Government investment into non-government schools:
- NSW Catholic Block Grant Authority
- The Association of Independent Schools of NSW Block Grant Authority
The NSW Non-Government Schools Building Grants Assistance Scheme Guidelines (PDF 3392.96KB) are available to access. In 2019/20, the selection criteria in the guidelines was strengthened. The selection criteria and objectives of the scheme ensure that funding is directed towards areas of greatest need and prioritised towards new schools and developments to provide educational facilities for increased student enrolments.
For queries in relation to the Guidelines, schools should contact their Block Grant Authorities in the first instance followed by email to NGSFU@det.nsw.edu.au.
Projects approved under the Building Grants Assistance Scheme are available here:
- Building Grants Assistance Scheme 2021/22 approved projects
- Building Grants Assistance Scheme 2020/21 approved projects
- Building Grants Assistance Scheme 2019/20 approved projects
- Building Grants Assistance Scheme 2018/19 approved projects
- Building Grants Assistance Scheme 2017/18 approved projects
Section 83C of the NSW Education Act 1990 states that to be eligible for funding, non-government schools must not operate for profit. The not-for-profit definition specifies that:
- School income and assets are not to be used for a purpose other than the operation of the school.
- All payments, including to related parties, are to be at reasonable market value and required for the running of the school.
- Payments must be reasonable given that financial assistance is being provided to the school.
- Payments to members of school governing bodies are prohibited.
Information that helps schools to meet the requirements:
- Not-For-Profit Guidelines (PDF 499KB) helps schools understand their obligations under the not-for-profit requirements.
- Not-For-Profit Self Check Tool (NFP Tool) assists schools to assess their governance arrangements in relation to not-for-profit requirements. Schools could get the full use of the tool by downloading the document.
- Newsletters provide information on specific topics with case studies.
- Non-Government Schools Not-For-Profit Good Governance Principles. The series of Good Governance Principles (PDF 5,871KB) assists schools and their boards to develop and maintain good governance practices, which are critical for meeting not-for-profit obligations under section 83C of the NSW Education Act 1990. Individual principles are listed and can be viewed below:
- Principle 1: Act ethically, responsibly and in the best interest of the school (PDF 104KB)
- Principle 2: Compliance with the law and governing documents (PDF 106KB)
- Principle 3: Board structure and suitability of board members (PDF 108KB)
- Principle 4: Timely and full disclosures of conflicts of interest and related entity transactions (PDF 124KB)
- Principle 5: Clear processes for management and oversight (PDF 107KB)
- Principle 6: Integrity in reporting (PDF 110KB)
- Principle 7: Assessment of board performance (PDF 110 KB)
- Principle 8: Manage risk (PDF 107KB)
- Principle 9: Responsible management of finances (PDF 115KB)
- Principle 10: Accountability to stakeholders (PDF 109KB)
- Templates assist schools in implementing the Good Governance Principles (PDF 5,871KB) and meeting not-for-profit requirements.
Information sheets that describe the compliance process are below:
- Not-For-Profit Compliance Process
- Non-Compliance Declarations and Conditions on Financial Assistance
- For-Profit Declarations (PDF 778KB)
Non-government schools Not-For-Profit Advisory Committee
The Non-government schools Not-For-Profit Advisory Committee was established in October 2014 under the NSW Education Act 1990. The Committee provides advice to the Minister for Education on the compliance of schools and their proprietors with the not-for-profit requirements.
Registration and accreditation of non-government schools
The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) is responsible for monitoring the compliance of non-government schools with the registration and accreditation requirements of the Education Act 1990. Registration is a non-government school's licence to operate under the Act. Accreditation authorises a non-government school to present candidates for the award of the Record of School Achievement and/or Higher School Certificate.
For more information on this, please go to the NSW Education Standards Authority website.
MoU to Strengthen Accountability for Non-Government Schools
The NSW Government entered into Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) to Strengthen Accountability for Non-Government Schools in December 2019 with Catholic Schools NSW (CSNSW) and Association of Independent Schools NSW (AISNSW), effective from 1 January 2020. These agreements deliver a commitment to implement significantly strengthened accountability for non-government schools:
- Memoranda of Understanding to Strengthen Accountability for Non-Government Schools - Association of Independent Schools of NSW
- Addendum to the Memorandum of Understanding to Strengthen Accountability for Non-Government Schools - Association of Independent Schools of NSW
- Memoranda of Understanding to Strengthen Accountability for Non-Government Schools - Catholic Schools NSW
- Addendum to the Memorandum of Understanding to Strengthen Accountability for Non-Government Schools - Catholic Schools NSW
Implementation Plan to Strengthen Accountability for Non-Government Schools
The Implementation Plan delivers the commitments agreed to in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to Strengthen Accountability for Non-Government Schools: Implementation Plan to Strengthen Accountability for Non-Government Schools