As a regulator and funder
The Department influences 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 (154,154) were enrolled in 312 non-government schools in 2021. Refer to 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 (WA)
- registration standards set by the Minister for Education and Training
- the Minister’s system agreement with Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA)
- 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.
The Director General assessed compliance of Independent schools with the registration standards and other requirements. In 2020–21, the Director General approved:
- three new non-government schools
- 40 registration renewals
- 12 extensions of year levels for existing schools
- 20 other registration changes.
We provided secretariat support to the Minister’s Non‑Government Schools Planning Advisory Panel. The panel provided advice to the Minister on 10 planning proposals seeking advance determination to establish a non-government school or to make a significant registration change.
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 Australian Government grants, State Government grants, and tuition fees paid by parents.
In 2020–21, we provided almost $441 million in recurrent financial assistance for 150,851 students in non-government schools (more than $441 million for 148,057 students in 2019–20). This amount included $32.1 million to support students with special educational needs ($31.2 million in 2019–20).
We provided just over $4.75 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 just over $1.1 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 327 active loans for non‑government schools and The University of Notre Dame Australia with an outstanding balance of $380.3 million (Table 4). Of the $38.8 million advanced in 2020–21, $32.7 million was for new works and $6.1 million was for works in progress (Table 5). In 2020–21, we received recurrent appropriation of $0.6 million ($1.2 million in 2019–20) to meet the annual costs of the interest subsidy.
Table 4: Low interest loans summary 2018–19 to 2020–21
|Number of active low interest loans||372||348||327|
Source: Education Business Services
Table 5: Low interest loans nature of works summary 2018–19 to 2020–21
|Works in progress||$4.1m||$6.6m||$6.1m|
Source: Education Business Services
Further information about the provision of per capita grant funding to non‑government schools is on our website. This includes financial assistance provided to individual schools in 2020–21 and a list of schools that received loans.
We are responsible for registering home educators, and evaluating home education programs and children’s educational progress. In 2020–21, we provided $3.3 million for the employment of home education moderators and administrative support to meet this commitment. For the number of students registered to receive home education, refer to Table A11.
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 (WACE).
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 (WA), the Authority tables its own annual report in the Western Australian Parliament.
We provided support services to the Teacher Registration Board of Western Australia, 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 (WA), 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. The council met three times in 2020–21 on matters of mutual interest between the universities and the State Government.
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
- 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.