Information for Schools – Overview

This section of the ISA website provides information on issues that may be of assistance to the operation of Independent schools.

Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (the ESOS Act)

The Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 is the primary piece of legislation underpinning Australia’s regulatory framework in regard to overseas students on student visas. It also encompasses the National Code and the Tuition Protection Service.

Following the 2010 Baird Review of the Education for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act, ISA prepared a handbook to assist schools which enrol full-fee paying overseas students to implement the 2012 changes to the ESOS Act and associated legislative framework. This handbook is in addition to the National Code 2007: Transition support handbook for non-government schools which ISA prepared following the 2004-06 review of the ESOS Act.

This section also contains details of amendments to the ESOS Act which came into effect on 1 July 2014 and 14 December 2015. It also provides information regarding changes which will come into effect on 1 July 2016.

The Australian Government Schools International (AGSI) Homestay Standards are also provided to assist schools meet the requirements of Standard 5 of the National Code – Younger Students.

Accountability requirements for Independent schools

Under the Australian Education Act 2013 and associated regulatory frameworks, schools are required to meet a range of commitments relating to educational accountability. Further information regarding the accountability requirements for Independent schools is available from the draft Guide to the Australian Education Act 2013, now available on the Commonwealth Department of Education website. Further information is also available regarding the Australian Education Act 2013 and associated regulations.

Collection of Student Background Characteristics

Under the Schools Assistance Act 2008, schools are required to collect information from parents on family background. The information will be used to identify factors which influence how well children perform at school. The ACARA Data Standards Manual provides guidance for schools on the collection of student background characteristics.

National Standards for Student Attendance Data Reporting

Student attendance rates are specified as a performance indicator within the National Education Agreement and as a Key Performance Measure (KPM) in the Measurement Framework for Schooling in Australia. ACARA developed the National Standards for Student Attendance Data Reporting to establish a nationally consistent set of parameters for the collection and reporting of student attendance data. This will enable the consistent reporting by jurisdictions and sectors of the Key Performance Measure. The national standards have been developed in collaboration with jurisdiction and sector representatives and endorsed by all States and Territories.

The national standards are applicable to students in Years 1 to 10 for all government, Catholic and Independent schools in Australia.

Privacy Compliance Manual

In 2001 ISA (then ISCA) and the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) jointly produced a Privacy Compliance Manual to provide assistance for non-government schools in complying with the privacy legislation.

This Privacy Compliance Manual (updated to November 2019) supersedes the Privacy Compliance Manual published in 2001 and updated in 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2016.

It contains changes which address privacy issues for Independent schools and the concerns raised by schools pending the introduction of NAPLAN Online. Issues covered relate to the storing and movement of electronic student background and test data from schools to outside agencies, such as ACARA.

Particular changes that schools need to be aware of are:

  • changes to the template privacy collection notices (see Chapter 8)
  • changes to the template privacy policies (see Annexure 2)
  • changes to the cloud computing section (see Chapter 22), and
  • the addition of a new chapter on responding to privacy breaches (see Chapter 22 and Annexure 6) and a template privacy breach response protocol (see Annexure 7).

Review of Funding for Schooling

On 15 April 2010, the then Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, announced in a speech to the Sydney Institute that a review of school funding arrangements would commence in 2010 and conclude in 2011. The government commissioned a panel, led by David Gonski AC, to conduct the Review of Funding for Schooling. The review examined school funding arrangements in Australia, and its final report was released in December 2011. The Review of Funding for Schooling section details both the activities of the Review and the ISA response.

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