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Responsibilities of NESA

The Educational Standards Authority Act 2013 ('the NESA Act') establishes NESA as a corporation and confers numerous powers on NESA. The functions of NESA include providing advice and making recommendations to the Minister about the registration of non-government schools and making decisions about the accreditation of non-government schools under Parts 7 and 8 of the Education Act respectively.

The NESA Act allows NESA to create committees to assist in exercising its functions. The NESA Act allows NESA to delegate its powers under the Education Act to a person or a body, such as a committee. The NESA Registration and Accreditation Committee ('the Registration Committee') is one such committee. NESA has delegated to this committee its functions concerning the registration and accreditation of non-government schools.
The Registration Committee exercises its delegation from NESA within NESA policies.

Note: All references in this Manual to the Registration Committee making recommendations to the Minister concerning registration or decisions concerning accreditation are based on the Registration Committee exercising its delegation from NESA on registration and accreditation matters within prevailing NESA policies. The process of review by the NSW Education Standards Authority Board ('the Board') of decisions or recommendations made by the Registration Committee is described at section 9 of the Manual.

The NESA Act makes provision for NESA to arrange for a registered non-government school to be inspected by an Inspector at random or if NESA has reason to believe that the school is not complying with the requirements for registration.

Section 69 of the Education Act makes provision for the proprietor or principal of a non-government school to provide returns to NESA concerning the requirements for registration in a form and at the times determined by NESA.

The NESA Act confers on NESA the power to make rules that include guidelines with respect to the requirements for and the conditions of registration and accreditation as set out in Parts 7 and 8 of this Act respectively.

The NESA Act requires NESA to publish its rules, and publication of NESA rules is via NESA Official Notices and the Manual, which are published on the NESA website educationstandards.nsw.edu.au.

The requirements for registered non-government schools

The registration requirements focus not only on the curriculum and its delivery but also on policies and procedures that foster the provision of a safe and supportive environment in which students can develop their educational potential. In addition, these requirements assist schools by stating a range of policies and procedures that need to be in place to demonstrate compliance with the Education Act.

Proprietors of non-government schools are responsible for meeting and maintaining the regulatory and accountability requirements of the Education Act. The requirements for registered non-government schools relate to:

Corporate governance

Schools must be constituted as or conducted by legal entities that are accountable for their contractual obligations. Proprietors, members of governing bodies and principals are required to demonstrate accountability in terms similar to those applying to members of other public or corporate bodies.

Teaching standards

Schools should have the capacity to deliver the courses of study for which they are registered and accredited with a high standard of quality teaching. The Teacher Accreditation Act 2004 has set professional teaching standards. Teacher accreditation processes are administered by the Authority.

Student welfare

Schools are required to demonstrate that they have in place policies and procedures to provide for the mental, physical and emotional well-being of students.

Educational programs

Schools are required to base their courses of study on the outcomes of NESA syllabuses, address the developmental needs of students and assist students to achieve their educational potential.

Boarding facilities

Schools that operate boarding facilities are required to demonstrate that they have in place policies and procedures for the safety and welfare of boarders.

Public reporting

Schools are required to participate in annual reporting to their communities against core' educational and financial measures.

Processes to assure compliance with the Education Act are the responsibility of the school.

As the regulatory body, NESA needs to be assured that a non-government school meets the requirements of the Education Act. To assist in making recommendations to the Minister as to whether a school meets the requirements of the Education Act, NESA has developed explanatory text and an outline of the evidence of compliance in relation to each requirement.

In considering the evidence of compliance provided by a school NESA recognises that non-government schools vary in their philosophy, ethos and practice. While the requirements of the Education Act need to be met, it is anticipated that the range of policies and procedures that a school has in place, and evidence of implementation, will vary and the content will reflect the context and philosophy of the school.

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