Set up your organisation

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Your community language school must be run by an organisation which is an independent, not-for-profit legal entity – such as an incorporated association. 

You must set up your organisation before you can apply for a grant from the NSW Community Languages Schools Program.

Follow these steps

Step 1: Form a management committee
The first step is to bring together a group of at least three people to form a management committee to help you run your community language school.

This committee should be made up of people who share your community language background and culture. It is advisable that they are interested in running a school and they must understand the responsibilities of running a school. 

If possible you should include people with some experience in areas such as:

  • teaching
  • administration and record keeping
  • finance and bookkeeping
  • legal and insurance issues
  • sponsorship and fundraising
  • running a committee and meetings.

A management committee has strict legal requirements and responsibilities. Visit the NSW Department of Fair Trading website to understand your legal obligations.

Step 2: Become an incorporated association
Your organisation must be an incorporated association in order to apply for a grant through the Community Languages Schools program.

An incorporated association is a legal body. It gives your organisation its own legal identity and protects your committee members in legal transactions. It also lets you enter into and enforce contracts, to sue or be sued, and to continue running your school if one of your committee members decides to leave.

There are both benefits and obligations when you set up an incorporated association. You must pay an application fee and keep proper financial and membership records and registers. Committee members and a public officer (who is your official main point of contact and who is one of your committee members who can sign legal documents) must make sure your organisation meets its statutory and reporting obligations.

You must also have a constitution. You can write your own constitution or go to the NSW Department of Fair Trading website where there is a standard document you can use.

These should say one of your main aims is the teaching of your community language.

We strongly recommend you visit the Fair Trading website. This website has all the information you will need. The NSW Department of Fair Trading also runs seminars to help you fully understand your obligations.

Step 3: Register for an Australian Business Number (ABN)
An ABN is a unique number issued by the Australian Government to identify your organisation. It helps your organisation deal with government departments and businesses, claim goods and services tax (GST) credits, and to do many financial tasks such as invoicing your students.

You must have an ABN to receive a grant through the NSW Community Languages Schools Program.

Learn how to apply for an ABN through the Australian Business Register.

Step 4: Get the right insurance
Having insurance is important for many reasons. Insurance protects your organisation, your students, your staff and your management committee. There are special policies available for community organisations.

Learn more about community insurance and risk management at

The department takes no responsibility for the content of external sites and the inclusion of these links does not imply any endorsement of services or products offered by this organisation.

Required insurance

  • public liability insurance to protect the school
  • professional indemnity insurance to protect students, teachers, volunteers and parents.

Recommended insurance

  • directors and officers liability insurance to protect the management committee
  • workers compensation insurance to protect employed or paid staff in the event of an injury
  • voluntary workers insurance to protect volunteers in the event of an injury.

Step 5: Set up a bank account
You will need a bank account in the name of your organisation.

You can open a bank account after you have set up an incorporated association.

Use you association's bank account to manage incoming and outgoing money, like fees, wages, sponsorship money and - if you are successful - grant payments from the department.

Some banks offer special low-fee accounts for community groups, so ask your local banks.


This site uses Google Translate, a free language translation service, as an aid. Please note translation accuracy will vary across languages.