Funding & Policy
Information regarding the Preschool Disability Support Program can be found here on the NSW Education website.
Non-Government Schools and the National Education Reform Agreement
On 23 April 2013, New South Wales and the Commonwealth signed the National Education Reform Agreement (NERA) and a Heads of Agreement. On 5 August 2013, these commitments were formalised through the signing of a Bilateral Agreement between New South Wales and the Commonwealth.
The Bilateral Agreement confirms the NSW and Commonwealth levels of investment in NSW schools over the NERA implementation period of 2014 to 2019.
The introduction of the NERA provides additional funding for schools distributed on the basis of need, consistent with the Schooling Resource Standard model.
The combination of per capita funding and additional funding under NERA means that NSW state funding to non-government schools will, over time, move closer to the Schooling Resource Standard.
The Bilateral Agreement provides detail on how State funding to non-government schools will work via the existing mechanism with a gradual transition to a new needs-based funding model over time. On 13 November 2013, the New South Wales Parliament passed the Education Amendment (Non-Government School Funding) Bill 2013, to enable non-government schools to be funded consistent with the State’s NERA Agreement.
The responsibility for the funding of public schools lies with the Department’s School Operations and Performance division.
The NSW Government provides over $1 billion annually to support non-government schools. The Department’s External Affairs and Regulation (EXAR) division is responsible for the distribution of this funding and for providing policy advice in consultation with the non-government schools sector.
Funding is provided in accordance with the Education Act 1990. The criteria for funding are that a school is registered by the NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) and that it does not operate for profit.
Per capita funding is the largest component and is based on a needs-based category system. The category reflects the school or system’s resources and ability to privately contribute to its own resourcing levels. All students enrolled in a registered non-government school attract a per capita grant determined by the category of the school.
The Department also provides funding to students with disabilities in non-government schools under the Supervisor Subsidy Scheme, which supports the employment of teachers and supervisors in non-government special schools catering for students with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities (including autism), and under the Assisted Student Transport Scheme.
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 NSW Government funding, non-government schools must not operate for profit.
As at 29 January 2015 amendments which tighten the not-for-profit requirements under the Education Act 1990 came into effect.
The definition of not-for-profit now specifies that:
- All income and assets must be used for the operation of the school
- Members of school governing bodies cannot be paid sitting fees
- All payments, including payments to related parties, must be at market value
- Schools must have met the new requirements by 29 January 2015.
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, or risk being declared non-compliant.
Guidelines have been developed to assist schools and school proprietors to comply with the requirements.
For further information, please also see
- Guidelines – Not-For-Profit guidelines for non-government schools
- Fact Sheet – Advice for Principals
- Fact Sheet – Non-Government Schools Not for Profit requirements
External Affairs and Regulation develops and coordinates NSW Government policy on national issues in education and training.
We negotiate and guide the key agreements and national funding agreements with the Commonwealth that deliver funds for school systems (both government and non-government) and for early childhood in NSW. In funding negotiations, our aim is to achieve the best alignment with NSW Government priorities and optimum outcomes for the State’s education system as a whole.
We are responsible for national initiatives, policy development and projects of significance to NSW, and through our leadership of the Schools Policy Group (a part of the COAG education architecture) we lead the development of high-level national strategic policy advice in schooling.
- Negotiate and manage Commonwealth funding, national funding agreements and other national projects across the whole NSW education sector. National funding and project agreements in early childhood and schooling are worth over $19 billion to the state between 2013/14 and 2016/17
- Manage accountabilities to the Commonwealth for funding initiatives and negotiate funding agreements with the NSW non-government sector
- Advise the government on commitments made under the National Education Reform Agreement (NERA)
- Act as a hub for all matters relating to national funding initiatives and projects
- Manage and advise on NSW participation in official national education forums, including ministerial councils.