Policy last updated
7 May 2021
The purpose of this policy is to ensure schools are aware of the requirement to inform parents or carers of newly arrived students for whom English is an additional language of the intensive English language support available for their children, and how it can be accessed.
- The Department provides access to intensive EAL instruction for eligible students.
- Schools must inform parents or carers of newly arrived students for whom English is an additional language of the intensive English language programs available to them and how they can be accessed.
- Students who have been assessed as eligible typically attend an English language school or centre for between six and twelve months, depending on their educational background and/or refugee/humanitarian status.
- The Virtual New Arrivals Program (VNAP) is available for students in isolated or rural schools who cannot access an English language school or centre.
- For more information on where intensive English programs are available, and for more detailed advice on the VNAP see the Guidance tab.
Principals or their delegates must inform parents or carers of eligible English as an Additional Language (EAL) students who are newly arrived to Australia, that they may enrol in an English language school or centre, or to participate in the VNAP. This must be done before the principal or their delegate enrols the student in their school.
To be eligible to attend an English language school or centre or to participate in the VNAP students must:
- hold a visa that entitles them to enrol in a Victorian government school and that attracts funding
- speak a language other than English as their main language at home
- have a level of proficiency in English, determined at the local level by a school or English language school, that requires intensive assistance to enable them to participate fully in mainstream classroom programs
- begin at an English language school or centre or enrol in the VNAP
- within 18 months of arrival, if entering Foundation year
- within 6 months of arrival, if entering any other year of schooling
- at the time of enrolling in an English language school or centre or the VNAP, be undertaking or intending to undertake primary or secondary education at a Victorian government school as soon as practicable after completing the course.
A student who has previously been enrolled in an intensive English language program in an English language school or centre or VNAP is eligible to re-enrol in an intensive English language program only when the student:
- was enrolled in and attended a new arrivals program in the first instance for a minimum of one term and
- has been absent for a period of 2 years or more and
- during the period of absence was not resident in Australia, in education in another state or territory of Australia, or enrolled in education where English was the medium of instruction.
Fee paying overseas students requiring an intensive English language course before entering mainstream classes can enrol in an English language school or centre to undertake such a course.
Students must enrol in a school through the International Student Program before enrolling in an English language school or centre.
Support for schools
In addition to supporting schools to implement effective school-based EAL programs, EAL Regional Program Officers (RPOs) can support schools with newly arrived students and advise on intensive English language programs that might be available to students. For information on school-based EAL program, refer to: .
English language schools and centres can support schools in assessing student eligibility for a new arrivals program. The four metropolitan English language schools have an outreach officer available to assist schools assess student English language proficiency and recommend the most appropriate program. Rural and regional schools can contact their regional English language centre or their EAL RPO for support with EAL students.
To speak to an EAL RPO, contact:
- North Eastern Victoria Region
- North Western Victoria Region
- South Eastern Victoria Region
- South Western Victoria Region
Further information on the various intensive English language programs available across Victoria, as well as the support they can offer schools, is available on the Guidance tab.
EAL Provision for Newly Arrived Students — Guidance
Students who meet the eligibility criteria can attend an English language school, campus or centre for between two and four terms. The small class sizes and high number of contact hours enable qualified EAL teachers to deliver an intensive English language program (also known as a new arrivals program) tailored to the differing needs of students. This helps them to adapt as quickly as possible to the Australian education system and society.
EAL students learn English and new concepts as they participate in the different learning areas taught at the schools.
New arrivals programs are delivered to students through English language schools and centres in the Melbourne metropolitan area, as well as regional programs currently operating in Geelong, Mildura and Shepparton.
A program delivered through virtual conferencing is available to support isolated newly arrived students — refer to Virtual New Arrivals Program below.
English language schools and centres
There are 7 English language schools and centres in the Melbourne metropolitan area:
- 4 stand-alone English language schools (ELS) that cater for both primary and secondary students up to the equivalent of Year 10. Some English language schools also have campuses located away from the main school site
- 2 English language centres (ELC) that cater for secondary students and are attached to mainstream secondary schools
- one English language centre that caters for primary and secondary students and is attached to a mainstream secondary school.
English Language Schools
English Language Centres
Geelong English Language Centre
- caters for primary and secondary students in programs hosted at Northern Bay P-12 College and North Geelong Secondary College
- contact the Coordinator by telephone on
Mildura English Language Centre
- provides programs for primary and secondary students, hosted at Mildura Senior College
- contact the Coordinator by telephone on
Shepparton English Language Centre
- provides programs for primary and secondary students, hosted at St Georges Road Primary School, Hayes Street Campus
- contact the Coordinator by telephone on
Virtual New Arrivals Program
In rural and regional Victoria students who cannot access an English language school or centre program may be supported through the Virtual New Arrivals Program (VNAP). The program provides a quality English language learning program for newly arrived EAL learners who are enrolled in isolated and rural schools outside of regional cities.
Specialist EAL teachers deliver both curriculum-related and individualised content to students using virtual conferencing and digital tools and systems.
The program is offered at no cost to participating schools.
To participate in the program students need to meet the new arrivals eligibility criteria and be in an isolated or rural school where they cannot access other support for intensive English language instruction.
When a student enrols in a school the principal can check the student's eligibility and then contact the VNAP Program Coordinator to arrange an assessment. The Coordinator will assess a student's English language proficiency, via a virtual conferencing session, and in consultation with the local school, determine if the program is appropriate for the student and advise whether a place is immediately available.
If a place is available, the Coordinator will arrange to enrol the student in the program. The Coordinator will work with the classroom teacher or a supervisor appointed by the school to arrange virtual conferencing sessions and other requirements for the program.
If the program is determined not to be appropriate for the student, or the student is not eligible for new arrivals support, the EAL Regional Program Officers (RPOs) are available to support and advise the school.
To participate in the program the school will need to provide:
- a discrete learning space with a virtual conferencing facility
- technology support when required
- a dedicated supervisor to oversee the student's program and assist the student, where possible, with the following:
- organisation of the student's timetable
- availability and access to equipment
- initial assessment process to determine the student's English levels
- the necessary organisational and learning skills required to succeed in the program.
Students are enrolled in the program for between 6 and 12 months depending on need. All eligible students:
- receive one virtual conferencing session each week
- can be enrolled for up-to-four consecutive school terms, depending on need and the development of their English language proficiency.
For students in Prep to Year 2, lessons will be 30 minutes long, plus an additional 10 to 15 minutes for teacher-supervisor liaison about student progress.
For Years 3 to 10 sessions will be 45 to 60 minutes long. Conferencing systems may also be used to record lessons and stages of student work.
Additional funding support — small rural schools
Small rural schools may be eligible for funding to employ an education support staff member to assist the student during the video-conferencing sessions.
Assessment and reporting
The VNAP teacher will provide a report on student achievement and progress for the student's school and parents at the end of each semester in line with standard Department of Education and Training (DET) guidelines. In addition, schools will be provided with an exit report at the conclusion of the student's enrolment in the program.
Students are assessed against the Victorian Curriculum F-10 English as an Additional Language (EAL) by the VNAP teacher on enrolment in a virtual conferencing session, at three-week intervals and on exit from the program.
Priority for enrolment
Priority will be given to students in schools that do not receive EAL Index funding, or support through an EAL Cluster.
Where the program is at full capacity, a student may be put on a waiting list and their school supported by the EAL RPO.
Newly arrived students sometimes enrol in schools which have not previously had newly arrived EAL students and may not be aware of how to support them. An outreach officer in each of the four metropolitan ELS provides services to such schools within their regions.
Outreach officers, in cooperation with schools:
- assist teachers to assess the English language learning needs of newly arrived students
- recommend the most suitable support program available, such as attendance at an ELS/ELC or outpost
- provide information to schools and parents about available new arrivals programs
- ensure schools are aware of the full range of resources available to them to support newly arrived students, including materials and professional development.
Principals can obtain the assistance of an outreach officer from the English language school in their region.
Based on centrally collected data, schools may be contacted by the outreach officers about students who have recently enrolled.
New arrivals kit
The Languages and Multicultural Education Resources Centre (LMERC) can provide a kit of tailored English as an Additional Language (EAL) and bilingual resources to support teachers and students at primary and secondary level. The kits are available for loan for 1-2 terms. If a school has multiple new arrivals at one time or over the year multiple kits can be requested.
The following resources provide valuable information and reassurance for teachers who have not previously had newly arrived students in their classes.
- provides information and strategies for primary classroom teachers to support newly arrived EAL students during their first few weeks in Australia.
- provides answers to some of the questions primary classroom teachers may have about the English language development of newly arrived EAL learners, and about providing appropriate programs for them.
The following resources have been developed to support EAL teachers and schools to plan and implement the Victorian Curriculum F-10 English as an Additional Language:
Reviewed 01 March 2020