Policy and Frameworks

Sustainability guidelines and frameworks for different school sectors. 

NSW Public Schools 

The NSW Department of Education (DoE) Commitment to Sustainability was released in November 2022. It establishes a vision to deliver quality education outcomes while protecting the environment, contributing to economic prosperity and helping our communities to thrive. The policy establishes guiding sustainability principles, 5 sustainability priorities, 9 goals to 2030 and 27 actions to 2023.

The Environmental Education Policy for Schools supports effective environmental education programs in NSW public schools, provides guidelines on managing school resources in accordance with ecological sustainability and is a starting point for addressing global environmental issues. This policy was published in 2001, was supported by implementation guidelines that addressed school environment management plans, curriculum, management of school resources and school grounds. 

School Infrastructure NSW delivers a range of sustainability programs including LED Lighting Upgrade Program, Smart Energy Schools Pilot Program, Cooler Classrooms, Clean Air Schools Program, Sustainable Schools Grants Program. 


NSW Catholic Schools 

Catholic schools in NSW operate under the auspices of one of the 11 diocesan Catholic schools officers or one of the 20 religious institutes or ministerial public juridic persons. 

Catholic Earthcare Australia is a program of Caritas Australia and is the ecological agency established by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in 2002. They engage with the Catholic community, listening to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. The Catholic Earthcare Schools program is available to all Catholic schools in Australia. It is a certification program that involves a process of ecological dialogue (conversation), conversion and action. 

Laudato Si Action Platform invites schools and other Catholic organisations to begin the journey towards an Integral Ecology. Through the Platform, groups self-assess, reflect and plan how they will work towards the 7 Laudato Si goals. 

Wollongong Environment Network is an initiative of the Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong that supports school communities implement environmental stewardship and sustainability. 

Independent Schools 
The NSW Independent school sector is a diverse and growing group of non-government schools. There are over 500 independent schools and campuses in NSW, including 51 boarding services. 

There are a range of independent schools making positive change for the environment, adopting approaches that match their individual education philosophy. 

Support from professional organisations

The Independent Education Union is committed to supporting educators in delivering sustainability education. IEC have regular conferences and workshops, an active Environmental Committee and an online community.

NSW Teachers Federation has a Peace, Environment and International Issues Special Interest Group, a Federation Environment Policy and encourages associations to have an Environment Contact.