Schools are a vital part of any healthy and thriving community. They provide an important civic place for meeting and exchange and often operate as social as well as educational hubs, not just for parents and students, but for the wider community through the sharing of sports grounds and other facilities.

High quality, well designed schools create a sense of pride, identity and ownership for the communities they serve. They also help deliver better educational results.

The Design Guide for Schools is intended to assist school developers in planning projects, as well as consent authorities and qualified designers in assessing school development applications. It is also intended to help in preparing school proposals for complying development certificates.

GANSW has developed the Design Guide for Schools in collaboration with the Department of Education to support the design quality principles in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Educational Establishments and Child Care Facilities) 2017 – the Education SEPP. The Design Guide will act as a best practice manual to support the delivery of good school design across NSW.

Quality design is a key focus of the planning improvements to ensure that new educational infrastructure enhances communities, delivers greater energy efficiency and contributes to healthy lifestyles for children. The Education SEPP introduces guidelines and design requirements for schools to ensure that facilities are well-designed, appropriately located, and fit for purpose.

The design quality principles in the SEPP aim to ensure that the design of school infrastructure responds appropriately to the character of the area, landscape setting and surrounding built form to ensure that schools and school building are an integral part of the community.

You can download the Design Guide for Schools here as well as a separate design verification template. Visit the NSW Department of Planning and Environment website for more information about the Education SEPP and other supporting documents.