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education.vic.gov.au

School operations

Enrolment

Determining permanent residence

Where demand for places exceeds supply at a Victorian government school due to the number of students who seek entry, Department policy on placement of students requires schools to enrol students in accordance with a priority order of placement, subject to any enrolment criteria specified by the Minister or delegate. Please refer to the Placement policy section of these guidelines for further information on the priority order of placement.

When implementing the priority order of placement, staff may be required to implement measures to verify information provided about the students’ permanent residence prior to accepting enrolment applications.

Meaning of 'permanent residence'

For the purpose of student enrolment in Victorian government schools, the Department considers permanent place of residence is the address at which a child permanently resides at the time of enrolment. If a child resides at multiple addresses, the child’s ‘permanent residence’ is the address at which the child spends the majority of his/her weekdays.

If the child spends an equal amount of time at two addresses, both addresses will be considered the child’s permanent address and the child will be entitled to enrol in the designated neighbourhood school for either address (or any other Victorian government school subject to entry criteria and capacity). The final choice of which school the child ultimately attends rests with the parents/carers or student if they are an adult or mature minor for the purpose of making enrolment decisions.

Evidence for demonstrating permanent residence

To assist schools in verifying a student’s permanent residence when assessing enrolment applications, schools may request parents/carers to provide supporting documentation such as original or certified copies of rental agreements or unconditional contracts of sale, electoral roll confirmation, council rates notices or other official documentation that demonstrates permanent residence at that address such as a driver’s license of health care card. Documents should show the same address and parent’s/carer’s name as recorded on the school enrolment application form.

This request may occur after the parent has submitted an Enrolment Application Form, if deemed necessary by the school. Information to parents/carers should clearly explain that the documentation is required to confirm that the student is eligible to enrol at the school on the basis that their permanent residence is within the school’s zone. The school should also clearly communicate to parents/carers applying to enrol, that the enrolment application may not be accepted if the requested information/documentation is not provided.

Alternatively, the school may ask parents to complete a statutory declaration confirming they are living at the address and that the arrangement is genuine and intended to be permanent. Schools may also remind parents/carers that a person who makes a false declaration is liable to the penalties of perjury.

Schools may wish to consider adapting the following content for inclusion in enrolment policies and/or enrolment information provided to parents/carers:

Sample content for local school enrolment documentation

To assist (INSERT SCHOOL NAME) in assessing your child’s eligibility for enrolment, please include in your enrolment application original or certified copies of:

  1. Rental agreements or unconditional contracts of sale plus
  2. A copy of two of the following:
  • electoral enrolment confirmation
  • council rates notices
  • other official documentation that demonstrates permanent residency at that address such as a driver’s license or health care card

Documents should show the same address and parent’s/carer’s name as recorded on the school enrolment application form.

Optional: On request, you may also be required to complete a statutory declaration confirming the student is living in the address provided in the enrolment application and that the arrangement is genuine and intended to be permanent.

Note: Enrolment applications may not be successful if the requested documentation is not provided.

Duration of rental agreements

If a school has concerns about the duration of a rental agreement being provided as proof of permanent address, the school should consult with the family to ensure that the school has provided reasonable consideration to the family’s living circumstances. For example, it is not acceptable to disregard a rental agreement that is shorter than 12 months from the time of enrolment if this accurately reflects a family’s residential circumstances. 

Verification of permanent residence

Schools can make reasonable enquiries to verify permanent address information provided by parents/carers, such as:

  • Checking the electoral roll at an Australian Electoral Commission office or the Victorian Electoral Commission head office
  • Checking with a real estate agent
  • Checking whether the contact landline phone number provided is registered to the residence provided on the enrolment form
  • For a rental property which is a studio apartment or a one bedroom unit, checking whether there are any regulations/codes limiting the occupancy of these apartments to one person per apartment

To satisfy privacy law requirements, schools should ensure parents/carers applying for enrolment are aware of the enquiries the school may make to verify the information provided about a student’s permanent residence.

Note: The Department does not consider home inspections or surveillance to be reasonable forms of enquiry and does not support these practices.

Schools may wish to consider adapting the following content for inclusion in their enrolment policy, enrolment information provided to parents/carers and/or for use on their enrolment application forms:

Sample content for local school enrolment documentation

When assessing enrolment applications, (INSERT SCHOOL NAME) may make the following enquiries to verify the information provided about a student’s permanent residence:

  • Checking the electoral roll at an Australian Electoral Commission office or the Victorian Electoral Commission head office
  • Checking with a real estate agent
  • Checking whether the contact landline phone number provided is registered to the residence provided on the enrolment form
  • For a rental property which is a studio apartment or a one bedroom unit, checking whether there are any regulations/codes limiting the occupancy of these apartments to one person per apartment

Note: If, after reasonable enquiries, the principal does not accept that the address provided on the enrolment application form is the genuine permanent residence of the student, the enrolment application may not be successful.

Non-acceptance of address provided on enrolment application form

If the Principal does not accept that the address provided on the enrolment application form (and any subsequent supporting documentation) is the genuine permanent residence of the student, the school may refuse the enrolment if the school is in a position where it is applying the priority order of placement due to demand for places exceeding supply.

The school should ensure reasons are provided to the parent/carer for not accepting the address and ensure the parent/carer is aware that they may appeal this decision (see Enrolment Appeals section of these guidelines).

Changes to the student’s address after an enrolment offer has been made

If, after a placement offer is made to the student, the student’s permanent residence changes or it comes to light that the address provided on the application form was not the genuine permanent residence for the student, a school may only withdraw a placement offer in the following circumstances:

  • where, after the priority order of placement is applied to the correct address, a place is not available for the student; and
  • the new address is not within the designated neighbourhood area for the school; and
  • the placement offer and any subsequent material provided to the student and their parent/carer expressly states that the offer may be withdrawn prior to the first day of attendance if the student’s permanent place of residence changes or the school becomes aware that the address provided on the application form was not the genuine permanent residence for the student.

Prior to withdrawing an offer of enrolment in the above circumstances, school staff should consider any safety or wellbeing issues relating to the student and should consult with the regional office or the Department’s Legal Division.

Inability to provide evidence of permanent residence

Schools should ensure enrolment practices do not unfairly disadvantage students who are unable to provide proof of permanent address because of their individual circumstances. This is particularly relevant to students experiencing homelessness, family violence or recently arrived immigrants or refugees. In these cases, school staff should seek advice from their regional office before refusing an enrolment application on the basis that the student is unable to provide proof of permanent residence.

Chapter in the Enrolment in a Victorian Government School Guidelines outlining the process for parent appeals in relation to enrolment decisions

Reviewed 26 November 2020

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