Governance and Financial Viability Requirements

Proper governance requires independent schools to maintain policies and procedures for the management and operation of the school. The NESA Registered and Accredited Individual Non-government Schools (NSW) Manual sets out minimum requirements for school governance.

These requirements relate to directors being ‘fit and proper’ persons, conflict of interest, related party transactions, director professional learning, financial viability and the external audit of annual financial statements.

Responsible Persons

Section 47(b) of the Education Act requires each ‘responsible person’ for a non-government school to be ‘fit and proper’. This includes the proprietor ensuring that the school’s ‘responsible persons’ and governing bodies have experience and expertise in the governance and oversight of school management. The school must also implement policies and procedures to ensure that ‘responsible persons’ and the governing body of the school are, and continue to be ‘fit and proper’ whilst occupying the governance role. ‘Responsible persons’ for a school are defined as each director of the legal entity that owns and operates the school, each member of the school’s governing body and the principal of the school.

Financial Viability

At the time of making an application for initial registration of the school (and for each subsequent renewal of registration), NESA requires evidence of financial viability certification undertaken by a NESA approved body. AISNSW is approved by NESA to certify financial viability, and offers this service for a fee.

All schools are required to ensure (and declare) they are financially viable if they are in receipt of public money (Government funding). Certain schools who may be considered to have a higher level of risk, such as new schools, or schools under investigation, are required to obtain an external/independent Financial Viability Certificate and lodge it with NESA. NESA has approved AISNSW as a body that can provide that certification. In order to develop an informed opinion on a school’s viability, AISNSW will seek the following information:

  • Business Plan
  • Constitution
  • Financial and Enrolment projections for 3 years
  • Past financial Statements (if any).

The financial viability certification from AISNSW is in the form of a risk rating (low, medium, high) and is accompanied by a commentary as to how that risk rating was derived. Both the Certificate and the commentary are required to be lodged with NESA. AISNSW will discuss with the school the outcomes of the financial viability process at the conclusion of the assessment.