Right to Access – Agency Information Guide

Right to Access is responsible for the department's obligations under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.

Members of the public can access records, reports and other types of information that are of public interest through the Right to Access unit. You may only apply for records in existence at the time of your application, and the department is not required to answer questions. Access to records is only restricted where there is an overriding public interest against disclosure under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act).

Our agency guide describes the type of information that is either freely available or available on informal request. It describes other instances where formal application may be made for access and where access is excluded. It also provides links to information about how members of the public can participate in the department's functions and in the formulation of policy.

We are committed to improving openness, transparency and ease of public access to our information under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act), including policies, statistics and reports.

Education cluster

The education cluster of NSW government consists of the Department of Education, including the Teaching Service and the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), and Smart and Skilled, Training Services NSW and Vocational Education & Training.

You can view the NSW Education Standards Authority's agency information guide for more information about NESA. You may also apply to NESA for HSC certificates as these are not held by the department.

You can find out more about the functions of the department and the type of information we hold through the 'about us' section of the department's website.

Staff resources

Information for staff on how to process applications can be found on the staff guidelines page.

People often ask

How to access information

Under the Government Information (Public) Access Act 2009 (GIPA Act) there are four ways that the department can make information available to the public:

  • open access information via the internet
  • proactive push of information into the public domain via other channels (ie print)
  • release as a result of an informal request for information not already available
  • a formal application process for information not publicly available.

For information about how to access each type of information, please see the headings below:

The department's Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation provides open access data about education in NSW within the education Datahub. CESE analyses and evaluates educational programs and strategies and gauges New South Wales' education performance over time through its ongoing core data collections and delivery of analysis and reports.

A copy of the department's open data policy is also available.

If we haven't published the records you seek, we may be able to release it to you without the need for a formal access application. We generally provide the following types of information in response to an informal request:

  • copies of correspondence, sent to us by the requester
  • documents that contain only personal information about the requester
  • documents that have already been made public in some other way
  • other reasonable requests for release of records that would not raise any potential public interest concerns.

Where information is released to you in response to your informal request conditions may apply.

To make an informal access request please contact either the relevant school, or the Right to Access unit.

If the records you are looking for are not published by us or available by informal request, you may wish to make a formal access application in writing under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009. Access applications are subject to application fees and processing charges. We will not however release records if there is an overriding public interest against their disclosure.

To make a formal access request please use the access application form (PDF 112KB) or contact the Right to Access unit.

Please note that NSW government school student records are retained until a student reaches the age of 25 years or for seven years after the student leaves the school, whichever was the longer period. They are stored either onsite at the school or at the Government Records Repository, and then destroyed in accordance with State Records Act disposal guidelines. The department has limited resources and so schools are not usually requested to undertake searches for records which are subject to a destruction order.

Counselling records are retained for longer, and searches will be conducted for these if you request them.

Our business hours are 9:00am - 5:00pm Monday to Friday.

Please send all GIPA applications with a credit card payment form to the email address GIPA@det.nsw.edu.au. Payments can be made by cheque, however, please post these with the application form. We will not begin processing the application until the cheque is received.


Records from or relating to childcare centres must be requested under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) instead of the GIPA Act.

To make a formal access request please use the FOI application form or contact the Right to Access unit.

Please send all FOI applications to the email address GIPA@det.nsw.edu.au.

Please send all forms with a credit card payment form (if applicable) to the email address GIPA@det.nsw.edu.au. Payments can be made by cheque, however, please post these with the application form. We will not begin processing the application until the cheque is received.

An access application cannot be made for information specifically excluded under Schedule 2 of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009. This includes the storage, reporting and analysis of department information relating to the ranking of students who have completed the Higher School Certificate for entrance into tertiary institutions. For more details about information that may not be disclosed, please contact the Right to Access unit.

For some categories of information, while an access application may be made there is a presumption against release. The list of categories is set out at Schedule 1 of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009. For more details about information that may not be disclosed, please contact the Right to Access unit.

The department has a number of ways you can provide feedback or make a complaint.

Applications under the GIPA Act

Right to Access
NSW Department of Education
Level 5, 105 Phillip St
PARRAMATTA NSW 2150
T 02 7814 3525
E GIPA@det.nsw.edu.au

Our business hours are 9:00am - 5:00pm Monday to Friday.

To submit a subpoena: send directly to the school or to legal@det.nsw.edu.au for email service, addressed to the Proper Officer. Then send hard copy by post, with a $50 cheque for conduct money to Legal Services, 105 Phillip Street, Parramatta, NSW 2150

For all other general enquiries, policy information & referral, public school enquiries, employment referee checks, IT assistance, and authentication of school reports please call the department switchboard.

1300 679 332
GPO Box 33, Sydney NSW 2001

Or contact the relevant area at:

https://education.nsw.gov.au/about-us/department-contacts

Media enquiries

NSW Department of Education's media unit:
T 02 7814 1559
E mediaunit@det.nsw.edu.au

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