A NSW Government website

Education and child care facilities

Chapter 3 of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Transport and Infrastructure) 2021 – also known as the Transport and Infrastructure SEPP – makes it easier to build and improve educational facilities across NSW.

We made some changes to Chapter 3 in December 2021. These changes help us deliver better child care, schools, TAFEs and universities across NSW.

The key changes:

  • allow more facilities to be built without a development application if they comply with strict rules
  • make it easier to understand that student housing is allowed on school and tertiary campuses
  • address concerns about amenity impacts of child care centres in low density residential zones (R2 zones).

The changes are part of a larger NSW Government program to speed up the delivery of infrastructure projects.

Visit Review of the Education SEPP 2017 for more information.

Planning for early childhood education and care facilities

The planning rules for early childhood education and care facilities:

Local environmental plans across NSW were changed in 2017 to allow child care centres to be built in low-density residential areas, so facilities can be built closer to homes. The recent review tightened rules to ensure facilities are built in the right places.

Our child care planning guideline helps child care providers, developers and councils deliver new, high-quality early childhood education and care facilities. It includes national and state planning controls, as well as best-practice design guidance.

Planning for schools

The planning rules make it much easier to improve and expand public and registered non-government schools. This includes upgrading sports fields, building libraries and offering before- and after-school care.

Development without consent for registered non-government schools

Registered non-government schools can do small developments without development consent. An environmental impact assessment is still required. Works that significantly increase student numbers still require consent.

See the Code of Practice for Part 5 activities (PDF, 240 KB) for assessing environmental impacts, and consulting with the community and government on proposed developments.

Design quality principles

Chapter 3’s design quality principles ensure new schools are well-designed, appropriately located and meet the needs of the community, such as energy efficiency. These principles are supported by the Government Architect’s Design Guide for Schools (PDF, 1.2 MB).

Planning for universities and TAFEs

The planning rules allow TAFEs and universities to change their facilities to meet the growing number of people seeking tertiary qualifications. It allows for upgrades and improvements with consent, without consent and as exempt and complying development.