School operations


Designated neighbourhood schools – school zones

All government primary and secondary schools have a school zone. A school zone defines an area’s designated neighbourhood government school. Every Victorian student has a legislated right to enrol at their designated neighbourhood government school (local school).

For students residing in metropolitan Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo or Geelong, their local school is usually the nearest government school in a straight line from the student’s permanent address. In all other areas of Victoria, it is the nearest school by the shortest practical route, recognising the additional travel distances often experienced in regional settings.

Some school zones need to align with geographical and structural barriers such as rivers and freeways, however, a main road is not usually considered to be a barrier to accessing a school.

Schools that face particularly high enrolment demand may require a restricted zone to be put in place by the Minister for Education (or delegate), to help the school continue to meet the needs of its local community. This sometimes reduces the area for which it is a local school.

If a restricted zone is in place, then the zones from surrounding schools are adjusted to ensure that all children are designated a local school. For more information about enrolment management, refer to the Placement Policy.

The department reviews school zones on an annual basis. Zones may be adjusted to reflect new schools, changing provision at existing schools or to address changing student demand.

School zones are published on the Find my School website.

Sample wording for school websites

Schools must include links to Find my School and the Placement Policy on their school website. Sample wording for use on school websites is:

Our school zone is available on which hosts the most up-to-date information on school zones in Victoria.

Students residing within our school zone are guaranteed a place at our school, which is determined on the basis of your permanent residential address.

Our school manages enrolments using the Placement Policy to ensure that students have access to their designated neighbourhood school and may enrol at another school, if there are available places.

For more information, you can:

Chapter in the Enrolment in a Victorian Government School Guidelines explaining how the Department determines designated neighbourhood schools and zones

Reviewed 04 April 2022

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