Non-government schools that are registered charities must report annually to the ACNC.
They do this by submitting an Annual Information Statement and, for medium and large-sized charities, a financial report.
Since 2016 we have published the financial reports of non-government schools on the Charity Register.
To make reporting to the ACNC easier for these schools, we currently have an arrangement with the federal Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) that streamlines the process.
Under this arrangement, we can use certain financial information that a non-government school provides the DESE in its Financial Questionnaire and financial report to complete the financial section of its Annual Information Statement.
This means that when the non-government school does its Annual Information Statement, it does not need to complete the financial section or submit a financial report – we will have the information to complete this for them.
The aim of this arrangement is to establish a single point of collection for financial information that satisfies the requirements of both the ACNC and the DESE.
Charities that can participate
A non-government school registered with the ACNC as a charity can participate in this arrangement.
A registered charity that represents only non-government schools can also participate. To be eligible, this representative charity must:
- represent only non-government schools
- submit the Financial Questionnaire to the DESE on behalf of its schools.
Charities that cannot participate
There are two common types of charities associated with non-government schools that cannot participate in this reporting arrangement.
- A charity that is associated with a non-government school but is registered with the ACNC independently (with its own ABN) and does not submit a separate Financial Questionnaire to the DESE.
Typical examples of these charities include:
- school building funds
- scholarship funds
- early learning centres
- Parents and Friends Associations.
- A charity that acts as a representative entity for charities other than primary or secondary education.
Typical examples include charities that act as representative entities of:
- community centres
- welfare services.
These charities must complete the financial section of their own Annual Information Statement.
How to participate in the reporting arrangement
To participate in this reporting arrangement, a non-government school that is eligible simply needs to log in to the ACNC Charity Portal and complete its Annual Information Statement.
When it gets to the financial section of the Annual Information Statement, it will see this question: Would you like to provide financial information?’
The school should answer ‘No’ to this question to participate in the reporting arrangement.
By answering ‘No’, the school lets us know to use the information submitted in the DESE’s Financial Questionnaire to complete the financial section of its Annual Information Statement.
When completing the rest of the Annual Information Statement, it is optional for a school to provide its full-time equivalent (FTE) staff number. If a school does not provide the FTE staff number in its Annual Information Statement, we will get it from information submitted to the DESE.
Generally, the financial information and annual financial reports for schools that participate in the reporting arrangement are not published immediately on the ACNC Charity Register. They are generally published on the Charity Register at a later date.
Mapping financial information from the DESE
The DESE’s Financial Questionnaire contains a preview of how the financial information will map to the financial section of the ACNC's Annual Information Statement.
The information as displayed in this preview, as well as the school’s annual financial report, will be published on the ACNC Charity Register.
For a registered charity that represents multiple schools (and the schools are not individually registered with the ACNC), we will display aggregated information from the DESE Financial Questionnaire in its Annual Information Statement. If these schools submitted multiple financial reports to the DESE, the financial reports will be combined into a single document and published on their representative charity's record.
It is important to note that the information in a school’s Annual Information Statement does not provide a complete picture of a school and should not be used to compare school performance.
Information about a school’s activities is available on My School, a website run by the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. My School contains a range of information on a school’s activities, including its student profile, NAPLAN performance, and finances.