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Education law reform – Education and Children's Services Act

The Education and Children’s Services Act 2019 (the Act) and the Education and Children’s Services Regulations 2020 that support the Act, commenced 1 July 2020.

The Act and the Regulations set out the framework for the compulsory education of children in the South Australia. They guide the establishment, oversight and administration of government schools and early childhood services and provide for the employment of teachers and leaders in government schools and preschools.

Benefits of the Act

The Act modernises the way we deliver children's services and education in South Australia, strengthening our commitment to focus on the best interest of the child in everything we do.

It promotes parent, caregiver and community involvement in educating and developing children and students, while acknowledging the efforts of all teachers and educators.

It brings together employment arrangements for government school and preschool teachers and leaders, and more closely aligns these arrangements with the Public Sector Act 2009.

The Act and non-government schools

While the Act largely deals with government schools, preschools and children’s services, some parts apply to non-government schools.

For example:

  • the requirements for compulsory enrolment and attendance of children at school
  • protections for teachers and staff of schools, preschools and children’s services.

Recent changes to the Act and regulations

On 16 February 2021 Parliament passed various technical amendments to the Education and Children’s Services Act 2019 to address matters identified in the implementation of the Act. These changes came into operation on 1 April 2021.

Some further changes were also made to the Education and Children’s Services Regulations 2020 and commenced on 1 July 2020.

The changes addressed technical issues with the Act or the regulations or sought to clarify particular provisions. Key changes include: 

  • enabling guidelines to be published by the Minister about the information that may be included in a report exchanged between principals about a student when the student is to be enrolled in a new school and authorising the Minister to determine the form of a report and the timeframe in which it should be provided
  • making it easier for principals to meet obligations to report persistent non-attendance or non-participation of a child at a school or an approved learning program by clarifying that such information can be drawn periodically from the electronic systems schools use to record non-attendance
  • extending protections for staff, students and children at schools, preschools and children’s services centres to all premises occupied by the department 
  • clarifying that schools may charge a voluntary (non-recoverable) component of a materials and services charge in addition to a compulsory charge
  • clarifying that the responsibilities of principals and teachers includes monitoring, identifying and reporting the failure of students to attend at school
  • requiring that a person responsible for a student must provide the information required by a principal of a school to verify any change in the student’s enrolment information (for example, a change of the student’s home address or student’s name). 

Find out more about the Act

Visit overview of the Education and Children’s Services Act 2019 for a summary of the key parts of the Act.

The delivering better schools infographic (PDF 418KB) highlights of some of the benefits of the Act.

Policies associated with the Act

Various department policies support the operation of the legislation. These are available via the department’s policy portal.

Legislation Reform Unit

Phone: 8226 1386
Emailedlawreform [at] sa.gov.au