As a regulator and funder
The Department has a role in influencing the education of all students in Western Australia. We enact this indirectly for non-government school education through regulation and funding of Catholic and Independent schools.
Approximately one-third of Western Australian students (149,949) were enrolled in 311 non-government schools in 2020. See Appendix 1 for further enrolment information.
We ensured the School Curriculum and Standards Authority and Teacher Registration Board of Western Australia were provided with secretariat services to support their functions.
- Non-government school regulation and funding, and home education
- Providing secretariat services and support
Non-government school regulation
We regulated Independent schools, and audited and reviewed the regulation of Catholic schools against the School Education Act 1999, registration standards set by the Minister for Education and Training, the Minister’s system agreement with Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) and policies adopted by the Director General. We maintained procedural safeguards to ensure our regulatory functions are transparent, and that regulatory and delivery functions are appropriately separated.
New registration standards came into effect on 1 January 2020. These new standards require compliance with the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, reflecting the standards recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The registration standards also introduced new reporting requirements for critical incidents.
The Director General assessed compliance of Independent schools with the registration standards and other requirements. During the year, the Director General approved four new non-government schools, 36 registration renewals, seven additional campuses, nine extensions of year levels for existing schools, and 162 other registration changes. These other registration changes included 148 changes to Catholic schools’ registrations to reflect the establishment of CEWA as the governing body of these schools (replacing the Catholic Education Commission of Western Australia in this role).
We provided secretariat support to the Minister’s Non‑Government Schools Planning Advisory Panel. The Panel provided advice to the Minister on 18 planning proposals seeking advance determination to establish a non-government school or to make a significant registration change.
On behalf of the Minister, we conducted a review of the Minister’s Advance Determination Policy Direction 2015. This resulted in amendments to the School Education Regulations 2000 and the publication of a new Advance Determination Policy Direction 2019.
Non-government school funding
We provided funding to Catholic and Independent schools based on a formula approved by the Minister for Education and Training.
Funding was provided on a per student basis in accordance with the requirements of the National School Reform Agreement. The annual Non-Government Schools Funding Order and Guidelines were issued by the Minister and set out funding amounts, and accountability and eligibility requirements.
The main sources of funding for non-government schools were State Government grants, Australian Government grants, and tuition fees paid by parents.
During the year, we provided more than $441 million in recurrent financial assistance for 148,057 students in non-government schools (more than $439 million for 146,796 students in 2018–19), including $31.2 million ($29.7 million in 2018–19) to support students with special educational needs.
We provided $4.6 million to CEWA and the Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia (AISWA) to administer the State Government’s Non‑Government School Psychology Service.
We also provided $1.27 million to CEWA and AISWA to support the re‑engagement of students at educational risk, and $181,000 to the Australian Music Examinations Board (WA).
Through the Low Interest Loan Scheme, there were 348 active loans for non‑government schools and The University of Notre Dame Australia with an outstanding balance of $363.1 million (Table 3). Of the $51.4 million advanced in 2019–20, $44.8 million was for new works and $6.6 million was for works in progress (Table 4). In 2019–20, we received recurrent appropriation of $1.2 million ($1.3 million in 2018–19) to meet the annual costs of the interest subsidy.
Table 3: Low interest loans summary 2017–18 to 2019–20
|Number of active low interest loans||397||372||348|
Source: Education Business Services
Table 4: Low interest loans nature of works summary 2017–18 to 2019–20
|Works in progress||$5.0m||$4.1m||$6.6m|
Source: Education Business Services
Further information about non-government school funding in 2019–20, including financial assistance to individual schools and a list of schools that received loans, is on our website.
We are responsible for registering home educators, and evaluating home education programs and children’s educational progress. In 2019–20, the Department provided $2.92 million for the employment of home education moderators and administrative support to meet this commitment. See Table A11 for the number of students registered to receive home education.
School curriculum and standards
We provided services and support to the School Curriculum and Standards Authority through a service level agreement to ensure it delivered its functions of:
- developing and maintaining the Kindergarten to Year 12 curriculum and syllabuses
- assessments, examinations, reporting and certification
- monitoring and reporting on standards of student achievement
- internationalisation of the Western Australian Curriculum and Assessment Outline and the Western Australian Certificate of Education.
We maintained internal systems and processes that ensured the Authority received independent advice and support from our staff, and that the data it collected and managed were protected.
As an independent statutory body with its functions prescribed in the School Curriculum and Standards Authority Act 1997, the Authority tables its own annual report in Parliament.
We provided services and support to the Teacher Registration Board of Western Australia for it to deliver its functions, including to register teachers and accredit initial teacher education programs. We maintained internal processes and systems that ensured the Board received independent advice and support from our staff; the data it collected and managed were protected; and investigations remained confidential, with the best interests of children the paramount consideration.
The scheme of teacher registration administered by the Board is designed to ensure that only fit and proper persons are registered as teachers.
As an independent statutory body with its functions prescribed in the Teacher Registration Act 2012, the Teacher Registration Board of Western Australia produces its own annual report, which is included in this report.
Key performance indicators and budget matters related to the Board are included in the Department's report.
We provided secretariat services to the Western Australian Higher Education Council, chaired by the Minister for Education and Training and comprising the vice‑chancellors of Western Australia’s five universities. It met twice in 2019–20 and provided collaboration between the universities and the State Government on matters of mutual interest.
Priority projects included promoting international education, supporting the participation of regional WA students in higher education, encouraging inter‑university collaboration in medical education and research, increasing the number of secondary school teacher graduates, and responding to the impact of COVID-19 on WA’s universities.
Rural and remote education
We provided secretariat services to the Rural and Remote Education Advisory Council chaired by Matthew Hughes MLA and including community, consumer, and funding provider group representatives. The Council promoted cooperation between funding providers to enhance education service delivery in rural and remote regions.