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Raising concerns

Under the Education Act 1990 (‘the Act’), the NSW Education Standards Authority (‘NESA’) is responsible for monitoring the compliance of non-government schools with the requirements of the Act for registration.

The requirements are detailed in the Registered and Accredited Individual Non-government Schools (NSW) Manual and the Registration Systems and Member Non-government Schools (NSW) Manual.

First raise the matter with the school

All registered non-government schools are required to have in place a complaints procedure. 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 about a non-government school 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.

The role of NESA

The regulatory role of NESA does not involve ownership, governance or management of non-government schools.

The proprietor of a non-government school is the school’s owner. The proprietor is responsible for all actions and decisions taken by the school. This includes responsibility for governance, management, policies and procedures and all decisions relating to the day-to-day operation of the school. These matters are at the discretion of the proprietor of the school.

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).

Process for raising concerns with NESA

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 as detailed in the NESA registration 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;
  • any evidentiary material to substantiate your complaint, including copies of correspondence and any other relevant documents;
  • 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

For complaints regarding government schools contact the Department of Education

How will NESA manage my concerns?

When complaints about a non-government school are raised with NESA in writing, they are assessed by an Inspector to determine whether there is a line of inquiry for NESA to pursue in relation to the school’s compliance with the requirements of the Act for registration.

Complainants will be advised in writing regarding the outcome of the Inspector’s assessment.

If the concerns relate to the registration requirements, and there is sufficient evidence to form a specific line of inquiry in relation to the school’s current compliance, NESA may investigate whether the school is complying with the registration requirements relevant to the concerns.

An investigation focuses on the school's compliance in terms of whether:

  • the policies and procedures of the school comply with the requirements for registration;
  • the school has followed its policy and procedure in the context of the concerns raised;
  • any non-compliance is part of a systemic pattern or an isolated instance.

As a line of inquiry with regard to a non-government school’s compliance is based on specific details that can be put to the school for response, typically an investigation requires identifying the person making the complaint to the school. If requested, NESA will not provide the identity of a complainant to a school. However, by not identifying the complainant, possible lines of inquiry may be limited or closed.

If an investigation finds that a school does not have or did not implement the required curriculum, policies and/or procedures, the school is required to address the compliance concerns. Where relevant, NESA monitors a school that is required to address compliance concerns to ensure that the concerns are addressed.

Complainants will be advised in writing regarding the outcome of the NESA investigation.



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