Guidelines: Schools

Public schools in NSW

Prior to any research being carried out in NSW Schools the New South Wales Department of Education and Communities (DEC) stipulates that researchers must gain approval in accordance with the National Statement of Human Ethics through the State Education Research Approvals Process (SERAP).

In order to have your research project approved by DEC you are required to:

1. Obtain an ethics approval from the University of Sydney Human Research Ethics Committee

2. Complete the online DEC application form

3. Once completed your application requires endorsement and indemnification by the University

  • When the SERAP online application is filled in and submitted the “Indemnification by Researcher” page requiring signatures is saved to your computer. Print, sign and scan this form.
  • Email a pdf copy of the signed form and the completed SERAP application to
  • Within the text of the email state:
    - the University of Sydney Ethics protocol number,
    - the status of the Ethics approval: either pending (include date submitted) or approved (include the approval date).

4. The signed indemnification document will be returned to the researcher via email. This document is then submitted by the researcher to SERAP as per the submission instructions provided within the SERAP Guidelines.

5. DEC will contact the researcher directly to provide successful applicants with an approval letter to conduct research in NSW Government Schools.

Private / independent schools

  • Approval from the school principal/s.

Catholic schools

  • Approval from the Catholic Education Office in the relevant Diocese.
  • Approval from the school principal/s

In all instances of research undertaken at schools, the final decision to participate in the study is up to the discretion of the school principal.

All copies of approval from governing bodies and school principals must be submitted to Research Integrity prior to the recruitment of participants.