Non-government schools

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

Policy

Education Futures and Governance 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 Schools NSW.

The NSW Government provides more than $1.4 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 2020 to help them adjust to the new funding arrangements. The Commonwealth also has transition assistance funding.

For more information on 2020 funding, download the following fact sheets:

For information on 2019 funding, download the following fact sheets:

For general enquiries about state funding for non-government schools, email NGSFU@det.nsw.edu.au.

Capital Assistance

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:

The NSW Non-Government Schools Building Grants Assistance Scheme Guidelines (PDF 3392.96KB) are available to access.

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.

The Building Grants Assistance Scheme replaced the Interest Subsidy Scheme from 2012. The Interest Subsidy Scheme was closed to new applications in 2012 and existing approved loans are being honoured for the life of the subsidised portion of the loan.

Not-for-profit requirements

Education Futures and Governance 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 (PDF 499KB) 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.

Return to top of page Back to top