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Raising concerns

Under the Education Act, the NSW Education Standards Authority ('NESA') is responsible for making recommendations to the Minister for Education about the registration of non-government schools and for making decisions about the accreditation of non-government schools to present candidates for the Record of School Achievement and Higher School Certificate.

The regulatory and accountability requirements for registration and accreditation are detailed in the Registered and Accredited Individual Non-government Schools (NSW) Manual and the Registration Systems and Member Non-government Schools (NSW) Manual. These manuals are available on the NESA website <http://educationstandards.nsw.edu.au/wps/portal/nesa/regulation/school-registration/rego>.

NESA monitors compliance of non-government schools and registration systems with these requirements.

While NESA may investigate complaints in relation to the requirements for registration, it does not investigate allegations of criminal behaviour (such as alleged fraud or child abuse) or matters relating to the statutory functions of other government agencies (such as alleged breaches of funding conditions) or where common law remedies may be available to the complainant (such as alleged breaches of contractual obligations). NESA will report any allegations of criminial conduct or matters of relevance to other government agencies to the appropriate authorities if that has not already occurred. In the event NESA is provided with any evidence arising from any investigations by those authorities that have substantiated the allegations and that are relevant to the requirements for registration, NESA will consider whether an investigation by NESA is warranted.

All registered non-government schools are required to have a complaints procedure in place. If a complaint concerns a non-government school, the school is required, where possible and appropriate, to provide an opportunity to resolve the issue.

Complaints can be made to NESA at any time provided there is clear evidence that options for pursuing the complaint at the school have been pursued without resolution or that there is a compelling reason that this would not be appropriate. An individual or organisation may contact NESA for advice on how to raise an issue or proceed with a complaint.

An investigation of complaints focuses on:

  • if the policies and procedures of the school are compliant;
  • if the school has followed its policy or procedure in dealing with the issue that is the subject of the complaint;
  • if any non-compliance is systematic or an isolated instance.

Complaints in relation to concerns about a school's compliance with the requirements for registration that are partially or fully substantiated may have implications for the registration status of the school depending on whether or not they are indicative of systematic non-compliance. 

Complaints must be made in writing and include details of:

  • the name, address and contact details of the individual(s) or organisation making the complaint;
  • the individual(s) or organisation against whom the complaint is being made;
  • the issue or matter to which the complaint relates;
  • how the complaint relates to the requirements for registration and/or accreditation of non-government schools and/or the requirements for registration systems as detailed in the NESA registration and accreditation manuals;
  • evidence that options for pursuing the complaint at the school have been pursued without resolution, or an outline of the compelling reason(s) why this would not be appropriate;
  • an account of any other action already taken in relation to the complaint.

Complaints may be directed to the Director, School Registration and Accreditation, at:

GPO Box 5300
NSW 2001
Phone: (02)9367 8111
Fax: (02) 9367 8475

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