Non-government schools

The department oversees policy, funding and compliance issues relating to non-government schools.


External Affairs and Regulation advises the Minister on policy, funding, and compliance issues relating to non-government schools. The division works closely with non-government school sector organisations, including the Association of Independent Schools NSW and the Catholic Education Commission NSW.


The NSW Government provides over $1.2 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.

In June 2017 the Commonwealth Government changed the way it funds schools. The NSW Government is assessing how these changes will impact State funding for non-government schools. To give schools certainty and to allow them to plan their budgets for next year, the NSW Government is making limited changes to non-government school funding for 2018. This factsheet (83KB) explains how non-government schools will be funded in 2018.

General enquiries relating to state funding for non-government schools can be sent to

Not-for-profit requirements

External Affairs and Regulation oversees the functions outlined in Section 83C-L of the NSW Education Act 1990 which 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.

The Minister for Education has the authority to audit schools at any time. Schools must cooperate with investigations and provide information to the Department of Education as required.

Guidelines have been developed to help schools understand their obligations under the not-for-profit requirements.

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.

For information on the committee's activities please see the latest newsletters.

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.

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