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Frequently Asked Questions

The following series of questions are those most commonly asked of officers of NESA and are provided with detailed answers.

These answers are provided to assist schools. Where there is a conflict between these answers and the provisions of the Education Act and the rules of NESA, the provisions of the Act prevail.

Proprietor and principal of the school

  • Who can own a non-government school?
  • What is the role of a principal?


  • What qualifications do teaching staff need?
  • What steps should a school take in accessing outside tutors to deliver courses of study to students at the school?
  • What obligations does a school have when outsourcing particular courses/subjects to external providers?
  • What do schools need to do when employing people who will have direct contact with children where the contact is unsupervised?


  • What does 'curriculum (as determined by NESA) for primary or secondary schools in accordance with the Education Act 1990' mean?
  • What are the curriculum requirements a school must comply with in providing primary education?
  • Can a school modify part of a NESA syllabus? If so, what are the requirements?
  • What documentation should a school maintain if NESA has approved the modification of an outcome(s) of a NESA syllabus?
  • I want to open a school for Years 11 and 12 only. How many subjects do I need to offer?

Premises and buildings

  • What are the requirements for a registered non-government school in relation to premises and buildings?
  • I want to open a school and I have three sites in mind. Can I apply before finalising one of the sites?
  • What requirements should a school comply with to ensure its premises and buildings are satisfactory?


  • What facilities should a registered non-government school provide?
  • What processes does a school need to have in place to ensure that the facilities are adequate?

Safe and supportive environment

  • What are the legislative requirements in relation to child protection?
  • What are a school's responsibilities in relation to the legislative requirements for child protection?
  • What does a safe environment mean?
  • What does a supportive environment mean?
  • What does student welfare mean?
  • What are the requirements for ensuring a school provides a safe and supportive environment to its students?


  • What is procedural fairness?


  • What kind of register will I need to keep in relation to student attendance?

Management and operation of the school

  • Who is a 'responsible person'?
  • When must a non-government school notify NESA?

Educational and financial reporting

  • What information should be included in a non-government school's annual report?
  • When preparing a school's annual report, what does the summary of financial information need to include?

Schools with boarding facilities

  • What requirements should schools comply with in providing boarding facilities?
  • What are the requirements for schools in ensuring that the risk of harm is minimised for boarders?
  • What are the requirements for schools in relation to the provision of health care for boarders?


  • How can a school ensure that it is meeting its obligations in relation to providing a quality educational program?
  • Can a school offering education of a kind be accredited? If so what are the requirements?

Distance education

  • What are the requirements for a school seeking to deliver all or a significant part of the courses of study to its students by means of distance education?

Funding and costs

  • What funding am I entitled to and how do I get it?
  • What are the costs involved in registering a school?

Application forms

  • How long does it take to register a non-government school?
  • When do I need to apply?

Inspection visits

  • What does an inspection visit involve?

New schools

  • What information must I provide to establish a non-government school?
  • What do I need to do if I want students to eligible for the Record of School Achievement?
  • How do I start an individual non-government school?
  • How much documentation does NESA require for registering a proposed new individual non-government school?

NESA processes

  • What happens after an individual non-government school or proposed individual non-government school lodges an application with the relevant documentation?
  • What could happen if NESA is not satisfied that the requirements for registration are being met by an individual non-government school?
  • What could happen if NESA is not satisfied that the requirements for accreditation are being met by an individual non-government school?

Risk-based regulation

  • How does NESA implement a risk-based approach to the regulation of non-government schools?

FAQs with reference to the relevant section(s) of the manuals

  • Registration
  • Accreditation
  • Proposed new individual non-government schools
  • Proposed new Years of schooling at an individual non-government school
  • Proprietor
  • Staff
  • Curriculum
  • Distance education
  • Premises and buildings
  • Facilities
  • Management and operation
  • Safe and supportive environment
  • Discipline
  • Annual reports
  • Boarding facilities
  • Board processes
  • Legislation other than the Education Act 1990
  • Other
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