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The Principal’s Report:  A Short Update on School Governance for Non-Government Schools

Is your school financially viable?

It is a requirement under section 47(1)(a1) of the Education Act 1990 (NSW) (the Act) that non-government schools be “financially viable”. The question is: how does a school determine that it is financially viable?

Earlier this year the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), which oversees registration of schools under the Act, updated the manuals for non-government schools to assist schools in ensuring that they are compliant with their registration requirements under the Act, in particular, that they are financially viable. The amendments are effective as at 29 March 2017 and apply to section 3.9.4 of the Manual for individual non-government schools and section 5.9.4 of the Manual for systemic non-government schools.

There are templates which have been provided through the Registration and Accreditation of Non-government Schools website to assist a school assess its financial viability. These templates, once completed, will determine whether or not the school needs to obtain certification of financial viability or warrant its financial liability, or possibly both. The certification of financial viability must be signed by the school Principal and an approved body. The warrant of financial viability, which is a separate declaration, only needs to be signed by an approved body. The type of declaration required for a school will depend upon whether the school is applying for registration or is renewing its registration.

NESA confirms that the following bodies or persons are considered to be an approved body for the purposes of certifying or warranting financial viability for a non-government school:

  • The Catholic Education Commission NSW
  • Christian Schools Australia
  • The Association of Independent Schools of NSW
  • The approved authority for a system of non-government schools of which the school or proposed schools is a member.

It is recommended that schools review their internal policies to ensure they are compliant and financially viable as part of their annual review process to reduce any risk and ensure compliance with the Act.

Josephine Heesh, Partner
Jessica Lobow, Associate

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