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Ethnic schools

Ethnic schools offer after-school-hours language and culture programs. These schools aim to sustain and develop the languages and cultures of Australian communities. They are open to all students, regardless of their linguistic background. They are non-government and non-profit organisations.

The Department for Education and Child Development (DECD) and the Ethnic Schools Association of South Australia support ethnic schools with accreditation and funding.

Statement of Collaboration

DECD and the Government of South Australia are fully committed to supporting the teaching of languages in South Australia, and have liaised extensively with the Ethnic Schools Association to create a Statement of Collaboration (PDF 1.1MB).

The contribution of ethnic schools is recognised through this statement, which also affirms DECD’s commitment to the ethnic schooling sector as co-providers of language and cultural programs. In the spirit of this statement, all government schools are strongly encouraged to welcome ethnic schools onto their sites.


The State Government provides per capita and needs-based funding for students aged 4 to 18 years enrolled in a mainstream school. International students are not eligible for this funding.

All ethnic school authorities must enter into a funding agreement with the South Australian Minister for Education and Child Development.

Starting an ethnic school

Information sessions for communities or organisations wanting to start an ethnic school are held at regular intervals. For further information contact the Ethnic Schools Association of SA Inc.

Requirements for registration

For an ethnic school authority to be registered with the South Australian government, the following criteria must be met:

  • The ethnic school must be
    •  incorporated in its own right or operate under an incorporated body
    • a member of with the Ethnic Schools Association of South Australia Inc.
  • All teachers and volunteers must have a current child-related employment screening.
  • Anyone volunteering for or employed by the ethnic school authority must register with the Ethnic Schools Association.
  • Teachers/instructors should either:
    • be registered with the Teachers Registration Board of South Australia
    • do the accreditation course run by the Ethnic Schools Association within the first year of teaching in an ethnic school.
  • Instruction in community language and culture is provided for a minimum of 2 hours per week based on a documented and sound educational program.
  • Student attendance is regular, and accurate enrolment and attendance records are kept.
  • A separate bank account is operated for the ethnic school authority, with accurate accounts kept and audited annually and made available on request.
  • The ethnic school’s management committee (which guides the running of the ethnic school authority including its curriculum and finances) must include representation from parents/guardians of the students attending the ethnic school and from teachers currently teaching in an ethnic school.
  • South Australian government grants for ethnic schools are used only for recurrent educational expenses or for the specific purpose for which they are given.
  • The school has policies about the health, safety and wellbeing of students.
  • The school has an evacuation procedure that includes a site diagram.
  • There is current public liability insurance for at least $20,000,000 and other insurance related to employing staff.
  • The school is open to all students regardless of their ethnic background.

Specific questions

The Ethnic Schools Association of SA Inc can help if you have questions about:

  • data collection
  • school or student matters
  • teacher accreditation
  • starting a new ethnic school
  • child safe environments compliance statements
  • child-related employment screenings.

The Non Government Schools and Services unit can help if you have questions about:

  • funding agreements
  • grants and acquittals
  • registration.


Non-Government Schools and Services unit

Phone: 8226 0042
Email: DECD.NGSSU [at] sa.gov.au