Grants to non-government schools

In 2017-18, the NSW Government will provide $1.25 billion in grants to non-government schools. The NSW Department of Education is responsible for allocating, distributing and managing these grants. To be eligible for funding, schools must comply with a legislative requirement to operate as not-for-profit. In addition, a school must be registered with the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA). As part of registration, NESA ensure that schools comply with certain governance and public reporting requirements.

This audit will examine how effectively and efficiently grants to non-government schools are managed. In making this assessment, the audit will examine:

  • How the Department of Education determines eligibility for, calculates and distributes grants to non-government schools and system authorities
  • Whether grants are being used for their intended purpose.

Supply of maths and science teachers

Maintaining an adequate supply of secondary Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teachers is crucial to meet the goals of the ‘National STEM School Education Strategy 2016–2026’. The NSW Department of Education’s workforce projections identify shortages in qualified STEM teachers. To address these shortages, the Department offers scholarship programs to encourage graduate teachers to practice in a discipline or location of demand. This audit may examine the robustness of the Department’s workforce planning projections and effectiveness of initiatives to increase the supply of secondary teachers in areas of shortage.


Implementation of local school management and funding arrangements

Local Schools, Local Decisions is an education reform that gives NSW public schools more authority to make local decisions about how best to meet the needs of their students.

This means giving schools greater freedom to make decisions about how to use the money we spend on public education. Schools have more flexibility to respond to local student needs through the allocation of staff and resources. They will manage a single budget and be funded directly through a new resource allocation model (RAM).

This audit is likely to examine the RAM, its implementation and impact.

Connected Communities - effectiveness of cross-agency coordination

The Connected Communities strategy is a whole of government reform to drive improved education outcomes for Aboriginal children and young people in some of the state's most complex and disadvantaged communities.

The 15 schools, in rural and remote NSW, have been selected to work in partnership with their communities to create the generational change required for students to achieve better outcomes at school and access pathways from school into further learning and employment. The schools act as community hubs to co-ordinate a range of services from government and non-government agencies and tailor education to the needs of their students.

The audit may examine the effectiveness of this coordination, and the impact of the program on students.

School counselling

Schools play a critical role in helping children and young people make sense of the world around them. Schools are experiencing increases in the number of students with social, emotional and mental health issues. Students need support that is relevant to their specific needs.

The $167 million Supported Students, Successful Students initiative commenced in 2015. Some of the additional resources under the initiative included:

  • 236 new school counselling/psychology positions
  • $51 million for wellbeing services equivalent to an additional 200 Student Support Officers
  • 500 graduate scholarships to boost the recruitment of school counsellors, psychologists and wellbeing officers. 

Remote education / access to education for rural students

In rural New South Wales, levels of socio-economic disadvantage are higher while educational aspirations and outcomes are lower than in metropolitan areas. Approximately 126,000 students, representing 32 per cent of all students in NSW public schools from low socio-economic backgrounds, are enrolled in rural and remote schools. Fifty-five per cent of the Aboriginal students in NSW public schools also reside in a provincial, remote or very remote location.

The audit is likely to assess the effectiveness of the Department of Education strategies to improve learning outcomes of students in rural and remote areas.

Teacher quality

The Department has been pursuing initiatives to shorten and streamline processes for managing underperforming teachers. By 2015 teachers were to be subjected to an annual performance and development process based on the Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework.

This audit is likely to examine the design, implementation and effect of the performance and development process.