AACS is an advocacy organisation representing a significant number of Christian schools across Australia. It has members in every state and territory in the nation.
The last fifty years has seen a rapid increase in both the number of Christian schools and the proportion of children attending them. While some 35% of children in Australia attend non-government schools, it is the Christian school movement which is amongst the fastest growing.
The new wave of schools operating under the name "Christian schools" has been established by Protestant Churches and groups of parents so that children from Australian families can access an education delivered from a Christian worldview at affordable rates. With the growth of such schools, it was important to establish an advocacy body that could interact between government and school in the interests of Christian education as practiced in this type of school. The Australian Association of Christian Schools (AACS) was formed in 1985 to meet this need. As a national association of schools, AACS began with two foundation group memberships, consisting of all Christian Community Schools (CCS) and all Christian Parent Controlled Schools (CPCS). Individual Christian schools and other national groups of Christian schools were invited to join the Association.
In 1989, the AACS Council appointed an Executive Officer and established a National Office in Canberra. Following development of the Association's Constitution in 1990, AACS became an incorporated body, registered in the ACT and governed by a duly appointed and elected Council.
From 2002, AACS included all schools in membership with Christian Schools Australia (formerly CCS), incorporating those previously within the CCS group, and Christian Parent Controlled Schools (CPCS) as well as some non-aligned independent Christian schools.
In 2004, Christian Schools Australia resolved to withdraw its membership from AACS and to offer a Government Relations Service to its member schools internally. From 2005, AACS continues to offer a Government Relations Service to independent and group members. In 2013, a large bloc of Christian schools from Queensland – the Associated Christian Schools (ACS) joined in with the other major groups including Christian Education National (CEN formerly CPCS), the St Phillips group and Swan Christian Education Association (SCEA).
Membership of AACS is approximately 125 schools from all Australian States and Territories. Student enrolments in these schools amount to approximately 56,000.