NSW Regulatory Requirements
The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) regulates independent schools in this state. Registration through NESA provides a school’s licence to operate, and provides assurance that the requirements of the (NSW) Education Act 1990 are being, or will be met.
Where a school intends to nominate candidates for the Record of School Achievement (RoSA) or the Higher School Certificate (HSC) there is an additional requirement for the school to be accredited, which provides assurance that the requirements for these credentials are being, or will be met.
The minimum requirements for registering and for accrediting a non-government school are set out in the NESA Registered and Accredited Individual Non-Government Schools Manual (the Manual), which covers governance and operational matters including requirements for the proprietor and principal of the school, management and operation of the school, staff, curriculum, premises, buildings and facilities, a safe and supportive environment, discipline and attendance, and educational and financial reporting. A school applying for initial registration must demonstrate its capacity to comply with the registration requirements which includes having in place policies and procedures that detail how the school will operate once established. A school would also need to have in place planning for the curriculum to be delivered by the school.
Boarding schools have additional requirements, as do schools outsourcing courses to external providers, and these are also set out in the NESA Manual.
An application for initial registration (and accreditation where relevant) must be submitted to NESA by March 31 in the year before the school is due to open. NESA Inspectors will assess documentation and visit the site. The Education Act requires that the Minister for Education make a decision on the application within 6 months.