Queensland Non-state School Framework Review Update

15 March 2023

The Queensland Education Minister has today announced that Cheryl Vardon will lead the review of Queensland’s non-state schools accreditation framework.

Our earlier Briefing covered the announcement of the Review in October last year, and some of the comments made by the Education Minister at that time.

The Terms of Reference for the Review are wide ranging -

  • This review will examine the framework governing accreditation of non-state schools in Queensland, including the Education (Accreditation of Non-State Schools) Act 2017 and Education (Accreditation of Non-State Schools) Regulation 2017.
  • The review will consider how the current framework operates and where appropriate inform development of amended or new legislation to ensure the non-state schools accreditation framework continues to reflect a contemporary regulatory environment.

The review will include:

Research

  • comparative analysis of non-state school accreditation, monitoring and regulation functions of relevant regulatory bodies in other jurisdictions, including associated criteria and/or standards;
  • consideration of other relevant accreditation, regulatory or standards frameworks as appropriate, including:
    • the legislative framework for state schools in Queensland, to the extent this may act as a point of reference for accreditation of non-state schools;
    • intersections with other relevant legislative provisions in Queensland such as matters related to staffing or unaccredited settings in the Education (Queensland College of Teachers) Act 2005 or Education (General Provisions) Act 2006;
  • comparative analysis of models of governance, decision-making and administrative support associated with regulation of non-state schools in other jurisdictions;
  • consideration of findings and/or recommendations from other state or national reviews, reforms or initiatives, including the Child Safe Standards recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, that may inform enhancements to the accreditation framework for non-state schools in Queensland;
  • consideration of non-state schooling stakeholder perspectives about how the accreditation framework can support a quality, contemporary non-state schooling sector in Queensland;
  • consideration of other legislation and/or government policies, for example, in relation to privacy and human rights that may inform elements of an accreditation framework.

Powers, functions and standards

  • identification of the powers and functions needed to support high standards of education and maintain public confidence in the operation of non-state schools in Queensland, including consideration of whether these enable:
  • a flexible approach to adapt to community standards as required from time to time;
  • proactive and responsive approaches to monitoring and regulation;
  • a risk-based approach to regulation, providing for strong regulatory action when required;
  • consideration of accreditation and eligibility criteria that reflect and meet government, community and stakeholder expectations of standards for non-state schools;

Regulatory burden

  • consideration of how to minimise regulatory and administrative process for the sector and regulator, while maintaining standards;

Governance and funding

  • identification of any enhanced model/s of governance, decision-making and administrative support associated with accreditation of non-state schools that are most appropriate to support the objectives, powers, functions and standards that make up an effective accreditation framework – noting that where relevant, the Queensland Government Public Interest Map should be considered when identifying any enhanced models for governance;
  • consideration of potential resourcing impacts and efficiencies in relation to the sustainable delivery of functions and powers where appropriate.
  • Noting the independence of the Non-State Schools Accreditation Board (NSSAB) and associated confidentiality requirements, the review will not examine the way in which NSSAB exercises it functions and powers, or decisions taken in doing so.
  • It is also not intended for the review to consider, investigate, or make findings or recommendations about: state schooling; home education; government funding of non-state schools; or regulatory or standards frameworks in other fields

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