education.vic.gov.au

Policy last updated

16 January 2023

Scope

  • Schools

Date:
March 2020

Policy

For advice on temporary enrolment requests relating to a flood-related closure of another school, refer to: Temporary enrolments – emergency school closures.

Policy

This policy sets out requirements for entry into Victorian government schools, including admissions, enrolments, the placement of students and transfers between schools.

Details

This Enrolment Policy and the mandatory Enrolment in a Victorian Government School Guidelines, available on the Guidance tab, combines the admissions, enrolment, placement and transfers policies into one clear and concise location for Victorian government schools.

Under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic):

  • Schooling is compulsory for students aged between 6 and 17 years unless an exemption from attendance has been granted. This applies to all schools including mainstream, specialist, and government English language schools or centres.
  • Every Victorian student has a legislated right to enrol at their designated neighbourhood school (section 2.2.13) and may be enrolled at another school subject to sufficient accommodation (section 2.2.14).

Victorian government schools must refer to the Enrolment in a Victorian Government School Guidelines (refer to Guidance tab), for details on:

  • age eligibility, including exceptions and exemptions from the maximum and minimum school age requirements and processes
  • determining designated neighbourhood school areas and zones
  • Department policy requirements relating to placement of students (Placement Policy) and enrolment management
  • enrolment appeal processes and requirements
  • determining permanent residence of students and families
  • required documentation and information when enrolling students
  • transfers between schools
  • enrolment in specialist schools
  • concurrent enrolment for students entering youth justice or secure welfare.

For policy and guidance on transition process and support for students moving from Year 6 to 7, refer to: Transition — Year 6 to 7.

For policy and guidance on exemptions from attendance and enrolment, refer to: Exemptions to School Attendance and Enrolment.

Relevant legislation

Contacts

For support with specific enrolment queries, schools may contact the relevant area executive director in the applicable regional office. Refer to Office locationsExternal Link for specific contact details for a particular regional office.

For general queries or feedback about this Enrolment Policy please contact the School Provision and Establishment Division via the Victorian School Building Authority on:

Tel: 1800 896 950

Email: vsba@education.vic.gov.au


Guidance

Enrolment in a Victorian Government School – Guidelines

These Guidelines contain the following chapters:

  • Overview of enrolment in Victorian government schools
  • Eligibility to enrol in a Victorian government school
  • Fairness and equity
  • School age requirements and age exemptions
  • Designated neighbourhood schools and school zones
  • Placement policy
  • Appealing enrolment decisions
  • Determining permanent residence
  • Enrolment process: Documentation and other requirements
  • Foundation (Prep) enrolment
  • Year 6 to 7 placement
  • Student transfers between schools
  • Enrolment in specialist schools
  • Concurrent enrolment process (youth justice and secure welfare)
  • Temporary enrolments – emergency school closures

Overview of enrolment in Victorian government schools

Overview of enrolment in Victorian government schools

Under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic) (the Act), schooling is compulsory for students aged between 6 and 17 years unless an exemption from attendance has been granted. This applies to all schools including mainstream, specialist, and government English language schools or centres.

Every Victorian student has a legislated right to enrol at their designated neighbourhood school (section 2.2.13 of the Act), and may be enrolled at another school subject to sufficient accommodation (section 2.2.14 of the Act).

The following information provides the requirements for entry into a Victorian government school. This includes admission and enrolment pre-requisites, placement into a Victorian government school, transfers between schools, concurrent enrolments and enrolment in specialist schools.


Eligibility to enrol in a Victorian government school

Eligibility to enrol in a Victorian government school

To enrol in a Victorian government school, an applicant must:

  • be an Australian citizen, or a student with relevant specified visas or ImmicardExternal Link . Refer to: International Student Program (ISP)
  • meet the age eligibility requirements set out in these Guidelines (based on the requirements set out in the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017 (Vic)

For information on school age requirements, including exceptions and exemptions, see the chapter in these Guidelines on School age requirements.


Fairness and equity

Fairness and equity

School enrolment practices must be fair, equitable and comply with state and federal laws. Factors such as ability, history of behaviour or level of engagement with education are irrelevant factors for placement decisions. This ensures schools enrol students in a way that is fair, equitable and lawful.

Further information about fair, equitable and lawful enrolment practices is available at:


School age requirements and age exemptions

School age requirements and age exemptions

School age

Under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006, schooling is compulsory for students aged between 6 and 17 years unless an exemption from enrolment or attendance has been granted. For enrolment and attendance exemption categories and processes — refer to Exemptions from School Enrolment and Attendance.

Compulsory schooling for students aged between 6 and 17 applies to all schools including mainstream, specialist, and government English language schools or centres.

A person who is not of compulsory school age may not enrol in or attend a government school unless:

  • the person falls within an exception to the age eligibility requirements set out in the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017 (Regulations) — refer to the Exceptions information below; or
  • the person is granted an exemption from the age requirements in the Regulations — refer to the Exemptions information below

Educational programs not subject to the school age requirements

The school age requirements set out in the Education and Training Regulations 2017 (Vic) do not apply to individuals who will attend programs conducted at a government school:

  • outside school hours; or
  • by Registered Training Organisations or other bodies that are separate from the school

Differences between an exception and an exemption

A person who falls within an exception automatically meets the age eligibility requirements to enrol in or attend a government school. If the principal is satisfied that the person meets the criteria for the exception, the principal cannot refuse to enrol the person on the basis of their age and the person will not be required to obtain an exemption from the Minister or their delegate.

A person who does not fall within an exception may be eligible to apply for an exemption. Exemptions are granted at the discretion of the Minister, or Minister's delegate (which currently include Regional Directors). There is no automatic eligibility to enrol in or attend a government school.

Responsibility for assessing and approving school age eligibility requirements

Principals are responsible for assessing eligibility and approving the enrolment of:

  • individuals who are of compulsory school age (those aged between 6 and 17 years); and
  • individuals who fall within an exception under the Regulations

The Minister or delegate (such as a Regional Director) is responsible for assessing and granting exemptions to the minimum and maximum school age requirements.

Exceptions to the minimum age requirements

A child who is aged less than 5 years old at 30 April of the year of enrolment may enrol in or attend a government school for the purposes of attending:

  • short-term prep transition programs in primary schools that prepare pre-schoolers for primary school
  • Early Education Programs in special developmental schools (as approved by the Minister)

A child who is aged 5 years or over by 30 April of the year of enrolment may enrol in or attend a government school if they are enrolling in or attending a:

  • course of primary education
  • course approved by the Minister
  • preschool program conducted on government school premises

Exceptions to the maximum age requirements

Exceptions apply to individuals who:

  • are turning 18 during the year of enrolment, if they are enrolling solely in an accredited senior secondary course, for example Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) or International Baccalaureate (IB)
  • are turning 19 during the year of enrolment, if they are enrolling solely for the purpose of completing an accredited senior secondary course in that year (or that they are expected to successfully complete their course in the year of enrolment based on current assessment information and course plan)
  • are enrolling or attending an English language government school or centre, if the student is seeking to continue their enrolment in the year in which they turn 18 years of age and in the following year, solely for the purpose of completing the program
  • will turn 20 years of age during the year of enrolment, and satisfy each of the following criteria:
    • is enrolled at a government school situated outside the metropolitan area solely for the purpose of completing an accredited senior secondary course in that year: and
    • there is no TAFE institute or other registered education or training organisation (other than another government school) within 50 kilometres of the school in which the person is seeking to enrol that is offering an accredited senior secondary education course through a distance education program that the person is eligible to enrol in

Exemptions from the age requirements

The Minister or delegate (such as a Regional Director) may grant an individual an exemption from the minimum and maximum age requirements in the Regulations in limited circumstances.

An individual is eligible to apply for an exemption if they meet the criteria set out below. Eligibility does not guarantee that an exemption will be granted.

Exemptions from the minimum and maximum age requirements are rare, rather than being considered normal practice. This should be taken into account when considering enrolment decisions, such as beginning school, transitioning from primary to secondary school and planning for completing school or moving to other available settings.

Schools may not always be the most appropriate place for some children or young people. There are a range of age appropriate settings available for children and young people, whether they may be early childhood services and settings or adult education options.

It is important that when considering applications for exemption from the age requirements that a balance needs to be struck between the best interests of the child or young person and that of other students. This balance must be considered for individual cases and circumstances, while also ensuring that the exemption process is consistently and fairly applied.

The following arrangements apply to enrolments that can be assessed and endorsed by principals but require relevant Regional Director approval.

Early age entry

Where a student is younger than 5 years of age on 30 April in the year of enrolment and does not meet one of the exceptions listed above, an exemption from the minimum age requirements is required. Early age entry or exemption from the minimum age requirements must be:

  • requested in writing to the school by their parent/carers
  • considered by the principal, who must make a written recommendation for consideration by the Regional Director
  • forwarded to the relevant Regional Director, with all supporting documentation attached, via email
  • assessed by the Regional Director, who must consider eligibility, the principal’s recommendation and all other relevant circumstances, and make a decision regarding the application
  • approved or not approved in writing by the relevant Regional Director. The regional office should notify both the parent or carer and school of the decision in a timely manner

To be eligible for an exemption from the minimum age requirements a child must meet both of the following criteria:

  • the child possesses suitable academic ability; and
  • it is in the child’s best interests to be enrolled at or attend a government school

Applications that do not address the requirements for both criteria will not be eligible for approval.

To understand how the Department applies the eligibility criteria for an exemption from minimum age requirements, the following guidance is provided:

Suitable academic ability

The Department's preferred evidence of suitable academic ability is:

  • a report from a psychologist confirming that the child has been assessed as ≥ 130 Full Scale IQ (2 standard deviations, or more above the mean), preferably using the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, Fourth Edition, Australian and New Zealand (WPPS-IV A&NZ), including the 10 sub-tests required to calculate the Full Scale score and Primary Index Scales, conducted after the child has attained the age of 4 years; or:
  • where a child is transferring from a school in another state or country after more than one term of enrolment and attendance, evidence from that school confirming that the child has suitable academic ability to attend school

Where a child does not fall into one of the above categories, the Department may also consider other evidence of suitable academic ability that:

  • is provided by an authoritative independent source(s) — for example, a child psychologist registered with the Psychology Board of Australia, with experience in educational and developmental psychology; and
  • clearly demonstrates that the child has suitable academic ability to attend school

It is the responsibility of the parent/carer to obtain all relevant cognitive assessment/s and/or other reports and evidence to support their child's application.

Applications based solely on parental observations will not be accepted.

Best interests

Schools must consider the entry assessment from kindergarten and informal observations to assess development, literacy, and numeracy, and academic, social and emotional needs in determining a student’s school readiness.

Early entry to school is generally not considered to be in the best interests of a child unless the child is:

  • at least 4 years 6 months of age on or before 30 April in the year of school commencement; and
  • considered at risk of long term educational disadvantage by a childcare, kindergarten, allied health or other relevant professional if they do not commence at school

To apply for a minimum age exemption for early entry to school, use the: Minimum Age Exemption — Early Entry to School Application FormExternal Link .

Maximum age exemption

A student aged over 18 years of age at any time during the year of enrolment who does not meet one of the exceptions listed above may only enrol in or attend a government school if they are granted an exemption from the age requirements.

Exemption from the maximum age requirements must be:

  • requested in writing to the school by the young person or their parent/carer
  • considered by the principal, who must make a written recommendation for consideration by the Regional Director
  • forwarded to the relevant Regional Director, with all supporting documentation attached, via email
  • assessed by the Regional Director, who must consider eligibility, the principal’s recommendation and all other relevant circumstances, and make a decision regarding the application
  • approved or not approved in writing by the relevant Regional Director. The regional office should notify both the parent or carer and school of the decision in a timely manner

A student is eligible for an exemption from the maximum age requirements if they meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • the person will be under 20 years of age on 31 December in the year the person completes year 10 and is unable to complete year 10 before they turn 18 and one or more of the following special circumstances exist for that person:
    • pregnancy
    • parental or primary carer responsibilities
    • serious illness or injury
    • a period of imprisonment
  • the person is aged between 18 and 21 and the Minister is satisfied of one or more of the following:
    • the exemption will enable the person to participate in a specific course or program approved by the Minister
    • the exemption will enable the person to transfer from an English language government school or centre into year 10 at a government school
    • it would be unreasonable in the circumstances not to grant the exemption
  • the person is seeking to enrol in an English language government school or centre, and the Minister considers it in the person's best interest to be enrolled at or to attend that educational setting.

To apply for a maximum age exemption use the Maximum Age Exemption Application FormExternal Link .

It is Department policy that an exemption from the maximum age requirements will generally not be granted unless the person:

  • has previously been enrolled in and attended the school in the last 12 months
  • is expected to complete school in the exemption period based on their current or proposed course information and assessment. This means that if the student successfully completes the requirements of their current enrolment/course plan/units in which they are enrolled, they will have successfully completed the requirements of the accredited senior secondary course in which they are enrolled, and they are expected to do so in the year of enrolment; or
  • has a clear transition plan that has been agreed to by the young person and/or their parent/carer; and poses no or minimal risks to other students through their attendance at the school
  • has no other age-appropriate setting or option available for an equivalent course of study (no other age appropriate setting within 50 kilometres of the student’s home and online study is inappropriate)

When considering an application for exemption from the age requirements and gathering the supporting documentation, principals and decision-makers should consider the following:

  • best interests — includes the child or young person’s academic, social and emotional needs, aspirations and abilities
  • age-appropriate settings or options — taking into consideration the student’s aspirations, abilities and needs, such as relevant adult education settings
  • online study — may be inappropriate if the student does not have reliable access to the required technologies to undertake the course, will not meet the prerequisite requirements for enrolment, and/or does not possess the required English language proficiency

Please note:

  • accredited senior secondary course — includes Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) or International Baccalaureate (IB)
  • complete school — means that if the student successfully completes the requirements of their current enrolment/course plan/units in which they are enrolled, they will have successfully completed the requirements of the accredited senior secondary course in which they are enrolled, and they are expected to do so in the year of enrolment.

Designated neighbourhood schools – school zones

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 websiteExternal Link .

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 findmyschool.vic.gov.auExternal Link 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:


Placement Policy

Placement Policy

Please note: The Placement Policy has changed since the beginning of the 2022 school year. All enrolment decisions made from the start of Term 2, 2022 should be made in accordance with the current Placement Policy as outlined on this page.

This section of the department’s enrolment guidelines outlines the obligations on Victorian government schools in relation to placement of students and is referred to as the Placement Policy.

The department’s Placement Policy embeds the legal entitlement for students to enrol at their designated neighbourhood school, and to enrol at another school if there is sufficient accommodation.

All Victorian government schools must manage enrolments in accordance with this Placement Policy, except those schools where the Minister or delegate has approved specific entry criteria, being:

  • select entry high schools
  • specialist schools
  • English Language Schools and Centres
  • camp and outdoor schools
  • hospital schools and teaching units
  • distance schools
  • flexible learning government schools and flexible learning campuses
  • any other school with entry criteria as approved by the Minister or delegate.

The Placement Policy applies to the placement of students at all year levels, from Foundation/Prep to Year 12. Single-sex government schools are required to follow the Placement Policy, noting that only students of the requisite gender are eligible to apply.

Specialist schools are subject to different placement requirements than those described in the Placement Policy. Refer to Enrolment in specialist schools for more information.

If families are seeking to better understand the Placement Policy, please refer them to: Starting schoolExternal Link .

Right to attend the designated neighbourhood school

Eligible children and young persons have the right to be admitted to their designated neighbourhood government school, regardless of capacity. Accordingly, all students that reside within the area of a designated neighbourhood school (referred to as a ‘school zone’) must be offered a place when seeking enrolment.

A student’s designated neighbourhood school is generally the school that is nearest the student’s permanent address as determined by the school zone. The Find My School websiteExternal Link provides guidance on which school zone a student’s permanent residence is located within.

For information on verifying a student’s permanent address, refer to: Determining permanent residence.

The department recognises that some schools may require additional capacity to accommodate students from within their school zone. In these circumstances, schools may be supported by the temporary allocation of relocatable buildings. For more information about how relocatable buildings are allocated, refer to: Relocatable Building Management.

International students

International students (such as those holding a dependant or temporary visa) have the legal entitlement to enrol at their designated neighbourhood school.

However, under the Education Services for Overseas Student Act 2000 (Cth), students who hold a subclass 500 student visa (a student visa in their own name) may only attend government schools accredited to accept international students. The department refers to students who hold a student visa in their own name as Standard and Study Abroad students.

Given Standard and Study Abroad students are required to attend an accredited school, they may not be able to attend their closest school.

Schools may contact the International Education Division for support with queries regarding international student enrolments: international@education.vic.gov.au

Attending a school that is not the student’s designated neighbourhood school

Students are able to apply for a place at a school that is not their designated neighbourhood school.

All students who seek enrolment in a school outside of their designated neighbourhood school should be enrolled in that school if:

  • there is sufficient accommodation at the school
  • this request for enrolment aligns with the school’s enrolment management plan (if they have one).

Where there is insufficient accommodation at a school for all students who seek entry, students must be enrolled according to the Placement Policy’s priority order of placement (see below).

The department takes into account a school’s enrolment practices when determining the allocation of relocatable buildings. Buildings are prioritised to schools which are addressing local demand, and which have a high percentage of enrolments from within their school zone.

Sufficient accommodation

Whether a school has sufficient accommodation to enrol additional students depends on a number of factors. These include if the school will continue to have appropriate physical and operational capacity and resources to provide high quality education and services to the school’s overall student population. Sufficient accommodation takes into consideration:

  • built capacity and/or target-built capacity
  • current enrolments and forecast enrolments
  • staffing levels
  • industrial agreements
  • subject/curriculum demands on the school
  • where practical, planning for an even distribution of students across all year levels while maintaining class size targets.

Schools must have sufficient accommodation to meet current and future in-zone demand before enrolling students from outside the school zone.

In some instances, schools may not have sufficient accommodation to offer placement to all students. This includes instances where schools are forecast to come under significant enrolment pressure from within the school zone. Where this is the case, the department will work with schools to develop an enrolment management plan to support long term enrolment planning.

Sufficient accommodation is determined by the principal in consultation with their regional office, and it should reflect current and future in-zone demand. In instances where further support may be needed, final determination on sufficient accommodation may be made by the regional director.

Priority order of placement

In circumstances when a school may not be able to accept all applications due to existing or future capacity concerns, schools must manage enrolment applications in accordance with the following priority order of placement:

  1. students for whom the school is the designated neighbourhood school
  2. students with a sibling at the same permanent address who are attending the school at the same time
  3. where the Regional Director has restricted the enrolment, students who reside nearest the school
  4. students seeking enrolment on specific curriculum grounds
  5. all other students in order of closeness of their home to the school.

In exceptional circumstances, a student may be enrolled in a school based on compassionate grounds. This is an overarching consideration and does not form part of the priority order of placement. Schools are permitted to assess and make a determination for exceptional circumstances applications on a case-by-case basis.

The regional director may determine that a student is to be admitted to a particular school outside the priority order of placement process, for example, intervening to select a school for a student in a complex expulsion matter.

Priority 1. Designated neighbourhood school

Eligible children and young persons have the right to be admitted to their designated neighbourhood government school, regardless of capacity.

The Find My School websiteExternal Link provides guidance on which school zone a student’s permanent residence is located within.

Priority 2. Siblings

The sibling criteria applies to placement decisions at all year levels, from Foundation/Prep to Year 12.

A sibling is defined broadly and can include step-siblings and students residing together as part of a multiple family cohabitation or out-of-home-care arrangements, including foster care, kinship care and permanent care. Students seeking enrolment on sibling grounds should be residing together at the same permanent address and must be attending the school at the same time.

Where siblings do not reside together on a full-time basis, families may still seek enrolment on sibling grounds. These applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If there are complex sibling arrangements such as this, schools should contact their regional office to seek advice. Regional office contact details and locations are on the department’s website, visit: Office locationsExternal Link .

For Year 7 applications, parents and carers can indicate on the Application for Year 7 Placement form if the student has a sibling who will be enrolled at the school at the same time and their living arrangements.

There is an expectation that schools will enrol all older and younger siblings, unless otherwise approved by the regional director. A school should only seek to restrict or limit enrolments of out of zone siblings if they consider there to be significant future or current capacity restraints (for example, there is a concern that students within zone could not be accommodated in present or future years) and where they have approval from the regional director.

To seek approval from the relevant regional director to restrict enrolments for out of zone siblings, schools must submit the Exemption Form to Criterion 2 of the Placement Policy application form. Schools can obtain a copy of the application form by contacting their regional office.

Any agreement between schools and the relevant regional director on enrolment restrictions for out of zone siblings must be reviewed annually.

Priority 3. Restricting enrolments

Under section 2.2.16 of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic), the Minister for Education may specify and approve entry criteria for a particular school. This power has also been delegated to the department's 4 regional directors (Instrument of Delegation No. 2020/DO6).

This allows the Minister for Education, and regional directors as delegates, to restrict new enrolments at a school by setting unique entry criteria. This could include, for example, limiting entry year enrolments to students who reside in zone and to out-of-zone siblings.

In determining the need for such a restriction, the following factors are considered:

  • demand for places from within and outside the school’s zone
  • the school’s site and built capacity
  • sufficient accommodation
  • the effect on, and capacity at, surrounding schools
  • if the school offers a distinct or unique program, such as bilingual or bi-national schools.

The regional director notifies schools in writing if a restriction is being applied or modified. All restrictions will be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure they are still required.

Priority 4. Curriculum grounds

In years Foundation/Prep to 10 all Victorian government schools offer the Victorian Curriculum as set by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority – therefore regardless of which government school they choose, parents can be confident that their child will learn the common set of knowledge and skills required by students for life-long learning, social development and active and informed citizenship.

Within this broader curriculum, schools have the flexibility to focus on particular learning areas depending on the needs and interests of their community. For example, within the languages learning area government schools have the flexibility to select which language(s) they offer in consultation with their local communities.

Students seeking enrolment on curriculum grounds are considered only after the school has first ensured that all students eligible under the first three criteria of the placement policy have been accommodated.

Importantly, student tests or interviews must not occur prior to placement offers, including offers based on curriculum grounds. For further information on student testing, refer to: Student tests and interviews.

Priority 5. Order of closeness of their home to the school

In metropolitan areas, and in Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong, closeness to school is the distance measured in a straight line from the child’s permanent residential address to the school. In any other area of Victoria, closeness to school is the distance measured by the shortest practical route by road.

Distances from an address to the 5 nearest schools (as measured in a straight line) are available on the Find my School websiteExternal Link . This website can be used when considering order of closeness to school, particularly for metropolitan areas, and in Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong. In other areas, schools should consider travel distance between the applicants address and the school when considering order of closeness.

Closeness to school is either assessed upon receipt of an enrolment application or as part of the Year 7 annual placement process for government schools.

Timelines will be strictly observed for Year 7 placement applications. If an application misses the deadline, it should be considered after applications received on time (if the student does not live in the school zone and does not have a sibling attending the school at the same time).

Exceptional circumstances – compassionate grounds

In exceptional circumstances, a student may be enrolled at a school on compassionate grounds. This is an overarching consideration and does not form part of the priority order of placement.

Families must be able to clearly demonstrate the exceptional circumstances which they believe make an enrolment at their designated neighbourhood school unsuitable for their child or children, citing, for example, family violence or specific wellbeing, safety, physical health and/or mental health concerns. Importantly, this is not a comprehensive list of exceptional circumstances whereby a family may seek an enrolment on compassionate grounds; each application will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Under the Disability Standards for Education 2005, education providers are legally required to make reasonable adjustments for students with disability. On that basis, grounds for exceptional circumstances do not include concerns related to a student’s disability where those concerns can be addressed by making reasonable adjustments.

For examples of reasonable adjustments and further guidance, refer to: Making reasonable adjustmentsExternal Link .

The student will generally be offered a place at the school in next closest proximity to the student’s permanent address or current address or location where relevant.

When considering an application or appeal on compassionate grounds, schools and regional staff can request that families provide further evidence. Supporting evidence may include, but is not limited to:

  • legal documentation
  • reports from allied health and/or medical professionals, Department of Families, Fairness and Housing Practitioners, Victoria Police, family violence services or court orders.

Matters of compassionate grounds are of a sensitive nature and may pose risks to health and life (for example, matters related to family violence). Family and student privacy must be maintained when considering applications on compassionate grounds.

For more information, refer to: Privacy and Information Sharing.

Schools can contact their regional office to seek advice and support when considering applications on compassionate grounds. Regional office contact details and locations are on the department’s website, visit: Office locationsExternal Link .

Student tests and interviews

A placement offer must not be dependent on a satisfactory report, test or interview.

Student tests or interviews may only occur after a placement offer has been accepted. This covers all forms of testing, including examinations for school specific scholarships, academic programs, leadership programs, sporting trials, music or performing arts auditions, and other try-outs or performance assessments. Schools must also not hold formal or informal interviews for prospective students and their families.

Schools must not reserve places or prioritise placement for students on the basis of anticipated test results.

For secondary schools, this means that tests or interviews cannot occur prior to the state-wide release of Year 7 placement offers in July/August each year (refer to the statewide timeline in the Placement Information Pack).

This does not apply to selective entry and other specialism schools that are not required to manage enrolments in accordance with the Placement Policy. For further information, visit: Selective Entry and Other Specialism Schools and Programs.

Enrolment management

Schools, in consultation with their regional office, manage enrolments to ensure that all students can attend their local school now and into the future. Strategies that support enrolment management include:

  • maintaining accurate and complete enrolment records and data, to facilitate enrolment planning
  • planning for an even distribution of students across all year levels while maintaining class size targets
  • considering your enrolment projections and ensuring that the starting cohort of enrolment numbers does not increase to the extent that the overall capacity of the school is exceeded for the life of the cohort
  • monitoring enrolment trends and subject/curriculum demands in the school
  • advising current and prospective parents about any limits on enrolment early.

Schools under enrolment pressure may be supported with an enrolment management plan. Enrolment management plans provide current and projected data and, where required, support schools to implement enrolment restrictions approved by regional directors. Regional offices can recommend and work in partnership with schools to develop enrolment management plans. Schools may also request an enrolment management plan.

Schools seeking more advice or support in developing or implementing an enrolment management plan should contact their regional office.


Determining permanent residence

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'

A student’s permanent residence is the address at which they permanently reside at the time of seeking enrolment.

If a student resides at multiple addresses, their ‘permanent residence’ is the address at which they spend the majority of their weekdays.

If a child spends an equal amount of time at 2 addresses, both addresses will be considered their permanent address and the student will be entitled to enrol in the designated neighbourhood school for either address. The final choice of which school the student 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

When assessing enrolment applications, schools may request that parents/carers provide supporting documentation to assist them in verifying a student’s permanent residence.

Schools may request original or certified copies of rental agreements, unconditional contracts of sale or other official documentation that demonstrates permanent residence. To support this request, schools may ask parents/carers to complete a 100-point residential address check. Refer to: Residential address check (PDF)External Link .

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

Additionally, schools may ask parents/carers to complete a statutory declaration confirming they are living at the address and that the arrangement is genuine and intended to be permanent. It is a criminal offence to make a false statutory declaration and, if made on purpose, the person making the statutory declaration is liable to penalties of perjury (refer to Statutory declarationsExternal Link ). In the event a school receives a statutory declaration and is unsure about its validity, school staff should consult with the regional office.

Requests for additional supporting documentation may occur after the parent has submitted an enrolment application, if deemed necessary by the school. Information to parents/carers should clearly explain that the documentation is required to confirm the student’s eligibility to enrol at the school. The school should also clearly communicate to parents/carers that the enrolment application may not be accepted if the requested documentation is not provided.

If it comes to light that the address provided on the application form was not the student’s genuine permanent residence, a school may withdraw a placement offer under certain conditions (refer to Changes to the student’s address after an enrolment offer has been made). The regional office should be informed before a placement offer is withdrawn.

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 complete the Residential address check (PDF)External Link for the enrolment of students in Victorian government schools.

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. A statutory declaration should confirm the student is living in the address provided in the enrolment application and that the arrangement is intended to be permanent. The declaration must contain written acknowledgment by the declarant that it is true and correct.

Note: Enrolment applications may not be successful if the requested documentation is not provided or found not to be genuine.

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 reasonable consideration has been given 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 submitting the enrolment application if this accurately reflects a family’s residential circumstances.

If a rental agreement does not cover the first day of attendance, a school may seek further information closer to enrolment.

If the student’s permanent residence changes after a placement offer is made, the offer may be withdrawn prior to the first day of attendance under certain conditions (refer to Changes to the student’s address after an enrolment offer has been made).

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
  • 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.

Schools should remember that multiple families may live together in one residence. School staff should be understanding of these arrangements when verifying permanent residence.

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.

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 reject 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 (refer to Appealing enrolment decisions).

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

If, after a placement offer is made, 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 of the student, a school may 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
  • the new address is not within the school zone
  • 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, school staff must consult with the regional office. School staff should also consider any safety or wellbeing issues related to the student.

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 rejecting an enrolment application on the basis that the student is unable to provide proof of permanent residence.


Appealing enrolment decisions

Appealing enrolment decisions

Parents and carers are able to appeal against a school’s decision not to provide a placement. This can occur in relation to placements at Year 7, or placements at other year levels.

Appealing a Year 7 placement

In the case of appeals regarding Year 7 placements, there is a set date by which time the school must respond to parents/carers lodging an appeal, usually two to three weeks after the appeals period closes.

Appeals are considered by the school’s placement committee and/or principal, and the school’s decision will be communicated to the parent or carer in writing. In assessing the appeal, the school will check to ensure compliance with the priority order of placement, and the processes for verifying permanent address, as appropriate. Schools will assess and make a determination for appeals on compassionate grounds on a case-by-case basis. If the appeal at the school level is unsuccessful and parents/carers are not satisfied that their appeal has been adequately considered, they are able to escalate the appeal to the relevant regional director, by lodging an appeal in writing. Appeals to the regional director must be lodged by the set closing date (as advised in the statewide placement timeline and procedures document).

Appeals to the regional director are considered by a panel of senior regional staff which then provides advice and a recommendation to the regional director who makes the final decision. This concludes the appeal process.

Appealing a placement at other year levels

In the first instance, parents or carers should lodge a written appeal with the school at which the student has been unsuccessful in gaining a placement.

If this appeal is unsuccessful and parents or carers are not satisfied that their appeal has been adequately considered, they are able to escalate the appeal to the relevant regional director.

For mainstream schools, appeals to the regional director are considered using the criteria in the Placement Policy. For specialist schools, refer to Enrolment in specialist schools for more information.

Regional office contact details and locations are on the Department’s website, visit: Office LocationsExternal Link


Enrolment process – documentation and other requirements

Enrolment process – documentation and other requirements

Schools must:

  • enrol eligible students, who are new to the Victorian government education system under the name contained in the documents supporting their admission; primarily their birth certificate
  • keep copies of sighted documents (note: for primary students this includes an Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register)
  • verify changes to student enrolment names
  • maintain and update student details obtained on enrolment
  • provide new families with a privacy collection notice upon enrolment and keep all information confidential and managed in accordance with the Department’s privacy policy and Victorian privacy laws. Refer to Privacy and Information Sharing for the template Privacy Collection Statement.

Specialist school enrolments are subject to additional evidence requirements. Refer to Enrolment in specialist schools for more information.

Rule: At initial enrolment, a Victorian Student Number (VSN) is allocated to a student in the name certified in enrolment documents. When students transfer between schools, the name will remain as the name attached to the VSN, unless new legal documentation with an amended name is provided. Visit VSNExternal Link .

Changing enrolment name

Schools can change the name under which a student is enrolled if:

  • new legal documentation with an amended named is provided, such as:
    • officially amended birth certificate
    • proof of adoption
    • court order authorising another name
  • supporting documentation, which was not originally available, differs from the name provided during conditional enrolment.

Note: The majority of student enrolled prior to 2009, with names different from those appearing on their birth certificate due to previous Department policy, can continue to be enrolled in these names.

CASES21 Student Information Database

CASES21 is the student information database, and includes enrolment forms, transfer information, the student register (in primary schools) and class lists. The section below describes how schools maintain student information in CASES21:

  1. Enrolment data is entered for students who are new to the Victorian government school system
  2. Data is:
    • confirmed/updated and signed by the parent/carer when students transfer
    • updated when changes occur, such as guardianship
    • reviewed half yearly, specifically parent/carer contact information. Refer to CASES21 Administration User GuideExternal Link for guidance including processes for generating the Student Enrolment Information Form and Student Information Full Details Report)
    • revised annual for State and Commonwealth reporting
    • updated when informed by parents of changes to family circumstances
  3. Records are disposed of in accordance with the General Disposal Schedule. Refer to Records Management.

Schools enrolling international students should update CASES21 to confirm the student's commencement of study within 5 working days of commencement. Any changes to the student's enrolment should also be recorded in a timely manner. This will ensure an accurate disbursement of funds to the relevant school. Refer to International Student Program (ISP).

Where students are moving from one government school to another government school, student data must be transferred using CASES21 and:

  • parents are not required to complete a new enrolment form if data is transferred using CASES21
  • schools must not create a new student record in CASES21 — this will create a duplicate record
  • schools are required to send a copy of the Student Enrolment Information Form to the parent or carer for checking, updating and signing to ensure student data is current and accurate.

For students who are new to the government system, schools must obtain a completed enrolment form before admitting a student.

Refer to the Transfers section of these Guidelines for more information.

Enrolment forms

Enrolment forms are available on CASES21 and must be completed for students enrolling in a Victorian government school for the first time.

Enrolment forms must include:

  • date of birth (note: evidence of date of birth can be official, such as a birth certificate or where this is not able to be produced, unofficial, such as a doctor's note attesting to a child's age).
  • names and addresses of the student and enrolling parent or carer
  • details of medical and other conditions that may require special consideration
  • emergency telephone numbers, including a nominated doctor
  • an Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register
  • the name of the previous school and the student's current year level, where students transfer from another school
  • the Privacy Collection Statement.

Electronic enrolment forms

School enrolment involves the collection of personal information about the student and their family. This process currently involves a paper form which is completed by the parents/carers and physically returned to the school. Enrolment data is also periodically updated by enrolled families. All data is uploaded onto CASES21 as the Department’s official system of record for student information.

As a consequence of COVID-19, some schools are considering using a digital process to collect enrolment information rather than have parents physically visit the school to return the paper form and provide supporting documentation (for example copies of birth certificates, proof of address).

Given the detailed personal information that must be collected, schools wishing to digitise enrolments and/or digitally store supporting documentation are advised to choose the most secure method to do so. The following are options for schools:

  1. Existing student administration system (for example, Compass, Sentral).
  2. Encrypted PDF via email.
  3. New software platform with enrolment functionality (for example Digistorm) (note a privacy impact assessment will be required — for further information refer to Privacy Impact Assessments.

The Department recommends the above in preference to digitising and managing the enrolment form using a platform such as Google or O365, as those platforms have been provided primarily for collaboration and not documentation storage.

Identity documents, custody orders and other sensitive documents should not be stored on third party platforms, and the normal practices of sighting them in person or storing physical or digital copies in secure school locations should be continued.

If using an existing student management system, schools may need to review and update the relevant privacy impact assessment to include the enrolment process.

If schools are considering using electronic enrolment forms in place of the CASES21 paper form, they should contact the privacy team for advice and support to ensure they meet privacy law requirements email: privacy@education.vic.gov.au or phone: 03 8688 7967.

Other information and documentation required for admission

The section below outlines further information and documentation required for admission.

Consent

The signature of:

  • the student, if they are over 15 and living independently
  • the parent as defined in the Family Law Act 1975 (Note: In the absence of a current court order, each parent of a child who is not 18 has equal parental responsibility)
  • both parents for parents who are separated, or a copy of the court order with any impact on the relationship between the family and the school
  • an informal carer, with a statutory declaration. Carers: may be a relative or other carer, have day-to-day care of the student with the student regularly living with them, or may provide any other consent required, for example, excursions).

Note for informal carer: statutory declarations apply for 12 months and the wishes of a parent prevail in the event of a dispute between a parent legally responsible for a student and an informal carer. Secondary students may complete parts of the form and co-sign.

When parent consent is disputed, principals and staff should:

  • avoid becoming involved
  • avoid favouring one parent
  • act in accordance at all times with the best interest of the student and school community
  • act sensitively and
  • realise that a resolution, satisfactory to both parents, may not be possible.

Evidence of student's name and date of birth

Schools should ask for the student’s birth certificate as evidence of the student’s name and date of birth.

Where a birth certificate cannot be produced, other acceptable evidence of a student’s full name and date of birth includes a passport, citizenship documents or Australia visa documents or ImmicardExternal Link .

Where no official documentation can be produced, the school must ask for other identifying documentation such as a doctor's note attesting to a child's age and/or a Medicare card.

Privacy Collection Statement

Schools must provide new families with a Privacy Collection Statement on admission. Refer to Privacy and Information Sharing for further information and a template statement.

Overseas Students

Refer to International Student Program (ISP).

Immunisation history statements — Primary students

Primary schools are required to:

  • request that parents provide them with an Immunisation History Statement for their child from the Australian Immunisation Register
  • take a copy of all Immunisation History Statements and record information on the immunisation status of each enrolled child.

Parents or carers must provide an Immunisation History Statement for their child from the Australian Immunisation Register to the school regardless of whether the child is or is not immunised.

Note: Homeopathic immunisation is not recognised form of immunisation, and therefore cannot be listed on an immunisation status certificate.

Prospective students will not be prevented from enrolling in primary school if they have not been immunised.

Collecting Immunisation History Statements will assist health authorities in protecting students in the event of a vaccine-preventable disease occurrence at the school. An unvaccinated student may be excluded from school for a period of time.

Parents or carers of secondary student applicants are not required to provide an immunisation status certificate.

For more information on:

Maintaining and using immunisation records — primary students

Immunisation History Statements from the Australian Immunisation Register indicate whether primary students have been immunised against some or all of the following infectious diseases:

  • hepatitis
  • poliomyelitis
  • rotavirus
  • mumps
  • diphtheria
  • Haemophilus influenza type B
  • measles
  • rubella
  • pertussis (whooping cough)
  • pneumococcal
  • varicella (chickenpox)
  • meningococcal
  • tetanus.

This section describes how schools should maintain and use immunisation records for primary students:

  1. Obtain copies of official Immunisation History Statements from parents/carers prior to enrolment. Record the immunisation status of the student on CASES21 (whether an Immunisation History Statement has been received or not).
  2. Maintain a file containing Immunisation History Statements (note: if a primary student transfers to another primary school, a copy should be sent to the receiving school and recorded in CASES21).
  3. During disease outbreaks refer to student Immunisation History Statements. Instruct parents /carers of students not immunised to keep their children at home for the recommended period, as outlined in the Department of Health and Human Service’s School exclusion table (refer to Immunisation).

In accordance with amendments to ‘No Jab No Play’ legislation, as of 28 February 2018 only the Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register is acceptable for the purposes of enrolling in a primary school in Victoria. Sighting of the stamped immunisation booklet or documents produced by GPs or other immunisation providers are not sufficient evidence to meet this requirement. The immunisation status of the student must be recorded on CASES21 (whether an Immunisation History Statement has been received or not) and updated when necessary.

Maintaining Student Family Occupation and Education (SFOE) information

Funding for equity (Social Disadvantage) provides an individual loading for students from disadvantaged backgrounds that will increase with the density of disadvantage at the school. Increased funding for schools has proven to raise educational outcomes, particularly for these students. Schools use Social Disadvantage funding to deliver tailored educational programs that meet the needs of this cohort of students.

The Social Disadvantage loading allocates funding based on parental occupation, parental education and the level of concentration of disadvantage in a school. Students with the highest level of need are targeted with the most funding to ensure schools have the resources to support them.

SFOE information that parents provide directly affects the level of Social Disadvantage funding that a school will receive. Therefore, it is essential that schools:

  • ensure that their staff understand why SFOE data is needed and the benefits of ensuring there are no errors in data logged on CASES21
  • clearly explain to parents the importance of correctly completing the parent information form
  • have a process to ensure SFOE information is accurate and up-to-date
  • contact parents when occupation and/or education data is missing, incomplete or unclear
  • keep records to explain any changes or updates to data submitted by parents.

Incomplete or missing student information or documentation

This section outlines the principal’s options when student information is incomplete.

Option 1

The Principal may defer admission of a student for up to five days, provided that the principal:

  • requests that the parent or carer provide the missing information
  • advises the parent or carer they are legally responsible for ensuring a child of school age attends school.

Option 2

Conditionally enrol the student:

  • if the information is not provided after 5 days and
  • further delay in enrolling the student is likely to affect the student’s education and wellbeing.

provided that the principal:

  • records the conditions; and
  • advises the parents or carers in writing that the enrolment is conditional upon providing the missing information and will only be formally completed when these conditions are met.

Foundation (Prep) enrolment

Foundation (Prep) enrolment

Please note: a new Foundation enrolment timeline was released to schools in Term 4, 2022. All Victorian government primary schools, including P–9 and P–12 schools, are required to implement the timeline in 2023 to support Foundation enrolments for the 2024 school year. The enrolment process for children commencing Foundation in 2023 remains unchanged.

Statewide timeline to manage Foundation (Prep) enrolments for the 2024 school year

The new statewide enrolment timeline provides Victorian government primary schools with clear timeframes for enrolling students who will commence Foundation in the 2024 school year.

This will be the first time that schools will use a statewide timeline for enrolments into the Foundation year. The timeline seeks to support schools and families by making the Foundation enrolment process simpler, clearer and fairer.

The timeline includes key dates, activity descriptions and an overview of responsibilities to help schools to plan for their Foundation enrolments. Key dates and activities for schools in the 2023–24 timeline include the following:

  • Schools can receive enrolment applications from parents and carers from the start of Term 2, 2023. This follows the release of 2024 zones on the department’s Find my School websiteExternal Link and the publication of Foundation enrolment information packs.
  • Enrolment applications from parents and carers are to be submitted by Friday, 28 July 2023.
  • Schools notify parents and carers of the outcome of enrolment applications by Friday, 11 August 2023.
  • Written non-placement appeals from parents and carers are to be lodged with schools by Friday, 25 August 2023.
  • Schools notify parents and carers in writing of the outcome of non-placement appeals by Friday, 15 September 2023.

All primary schools are required to implement the timeline in 2023 to support Foundation enrolments for the 2024 school year.

Enrolment applications submitted after the application due date of 28 July 2023 will be processed by the school as they are received. Schools must manage enrolment applications in accordance with the department’s Placement Policy.

What schools need to do

To ensure that your school manages Foundation enrolments for 2024 in accordance with the new statewide timeline, schools must:

  • download and read the timeline and procedures for 2023-24 and share it with relevant teaching and administration staff: Statewide Foundation enrolment timeline and procedures for 2023-24 (DOCX)External Link (staff login required)
  • update your school’s website using the template website content provided below, and remove any outdated information regarding enrolment dates and activities for enrolment into Foundation for the 2024 school year: Template website content (DOCX)External Link (staff login required)
  • direct parents and carers of children commencing Foundation in 2024 to the Victorian Government’s Enrolling in Foundation (Prep)External Link page for information and resources on when and how to apply to enrol their child in primary school
  • download and share the enrolment information packs for schools and parents/carers when they become available in late Term 1, 2023.

The department’s Placement Policy must continue to be applied in the placement of students into Foundation. The statewide timeline will not apply to primary schools exempt from the Placement Policy, such as specialist schools or those with special entry criteria.

Enrolment packs

Enrolment information packs for schools, the early childhood sector and parents/carers will be available in late Term 1, 2023.

The pack for parents/carers and the early childhood sector will be publicly available via the Enrolling in Foundation (Prep) pageExternal Link .

The Foundation enrolment information pack for schools will be available to download from the Resources tab. The pack will include standard templates to support schools during the enrolment process, such as template letters for schools to notify families of the outcome of their enrolment application, as well as responses to FAQs. The pack also includes resources to support schools to communicate about the enrolment timeline, such as a template newsletter article.


Year 6 to 7 placement

Year 6 to 7 placement

Year 7 application process – annual placement information packs

Each year, the department releases Year 6 to Year 7 placement information for schools and for parents/carers, with information packs available from the beginning of Term 2 for students commencing Year 7 the following year.

Year 6 to 7 placement information packs: Guidance for government schools

To ensure all Year 6 students are placed in a secondary school for Year 7, primary and secondary schools must:

  • download the Year 6 to Year 7 placement information pack 2023 to 2024: Guidance for all government schools (available Term 2, 2023)
  • follow the procedures and meet the deadlines as outlined in the Year 6 to 7 placement information packs
  • complete the Student Data Transfer Year 6 to 7 process through CASES21.

The department’s Placement Policy must be applied in the placement of students in Year 7.

Year 6 to 7 placement information packs: Guidance for parents and carers

To assist parents and carers of students transitioning to a government school in Year 7 in 2024, the department will develop information packs with guidance to support effective placement.

Two different parent/carer packs will be available to download from Moving from primary to secondary school: information for parentsExternal Link :

  • Year 6 to Year 7 placement information pack 2023 to 2024: Guidance for parents and carers with Year 6 children at government schools in 2023 (available Term 2, 2023)
  • Year 6 to Year 7 placement information pack 2023 to 2024: Guidance for parents and carers with Year 6 children at non-government schools (Catholic, independent and home schooling) (available Term 2, 2023).

From the first week of Term 2, 2023, primary schools should distribute the placement pack for government school parents/carers to all Year 6 families. The parents/carers pack includes the current application for Year 7 placement form.

Further information for families on the transition from Year 6 to 7, including a factsheet translated into Arabic, Vietnamese and Chinese (Simplified), is available at: Moving from primary to secondary school: information for parentsExternal Link .

Placement timeline for 2023 to 2024

The Statewide placement timeline and procedures for 2023 to 2024 (DOCX)External Link (staff login required) for Victorian government schools has been developed to assist all government primary and secondary schools with planning for the placement of students in Year 7.

This timeline includes activity descriptions and an overview of responsibilities to assist school staff with key dates.

A copy of the timeline for school staff will also be available in the Year 6 to Year 7 placement information pack 2023 to 2024: Guidance for all government schools.


Student transfers between schools

Student transfers between schools

Parents/carers are entitled to request a transfer between schools. During this process, schools must avoid practices that:

  • compel students to transfer or withdraw from school (for example, for behavioural issues) through any other means than the formal expulsion process (refer to Expulsions)
  • restrict entry to eligible students.

Schools must:

  • provide student information for all students transferring out
  • receive student transfer information for all students transferring in
  • seek parent or carer consent for a transfer if the transfer follows a behaviour or disciplinary incident that may have otherwise resulted in commencement in expulsion procedures – use the Student Exit FormExternal Link to obtain this consent
  • update CASES21 and contact regional staff as appropriate for additional advice and support.

Approval process

School principals approve transfers, including when:

  • the student is transferring to their designated neighbourhood school
  • the student residence changes and is now closer to a different government school (where requested)
  • transfer is sought from an Australian school outside the state system
  • the transfer is sought at the commencement of the school year or term 3 and in secondary schools the student can be accommodated mid-year without the reorganisation of the existing school program
  • transfer is requested (other than in those instances cited above) by a parent/carer and the principal of each school involved supports the request
  • a student is expelled from a school via the formal expulsion policy. For students of compulsory school age, the principal of the school from which the student has been expelled is responsible for ensuring enrolment in another school or registered training organisation in consultation with the local area team and regional office.

For all other transfers where the parent or carer appeals against the principal’s decision to not enrol, the:

  • transferring principal makes recommendations to the regional director
  • regional director determines approval.

Additionally, schools should note that they cannot enrol international students wishing to transfer from another school (prior to the student completing 6 months of the principal course of study) without a release letter issued by the Department's International Education Division, refer to International Student Program (ISP).

For parents or carers seeking to transfer a student to a specialist school, the transferring school must first determine the student’s enrolment eligibility status with the receiving specialist school before approving the transfer. Refer to Enrolment in specialist schools for more information about verifying specialist school enrolment eligibility.

Transfer of information

Transfer of information between Victorian government schools

When a Victorian government school student has been accepted at another Victorian government school, the transferring school will provide the student’s information to that next school.

All Victorian government schools must transfer student information through CASES21.

Important: Throughout this policy, ‘student information’ means personal and health information about the student, including achievement information, foreseeable risk and wellbeing information. For an overview of what student information should be transferred — refer to the CASES21 Administration User Guide – Chapter 24 – Student Data TransferExternal Link (login required).

Parent or carer consent is not required to transfer student information or records (including SSS/DCS files) to the student’s next Victorian government school.

Transferring student information to the student’s next Victorian government school is in the best interests of our students, because it assists that next school to provide optimal education and support to the student. This also enables the Department to fulfil important legal obligations.

The Department, which includes all Victorian government schools, central and regional offices, is a single legal entity. This means that all student records and files, including DCS/SSS files, are owned by the Department (on behalf of the State of Victoria), not individual schools, networks or school staff. This also means that transferring student information to the student’s next Victorian government school is a ‘use’ of that information for the same primary purposes for which it was collected, consistent with Victorian privacy law.

Where a student is in youth justice or secure welfare custody, all Victorian government schools must transfer information through CASES21, Student Data Transfer, to Parkville College. The student will remain enrolled at their base school while concurrently enrolled at Parkville College for the purposes of receiving education while in custody.

In addition, student information can be provided to the student’s next Victorian government school in any and all of the following ways: verbally (principal to principal, or nominees), electronically (via email) and in hardcopy (by providing copies of the student’s records, including health reports).

If the student has received Student Support Services (SSS) support in the last two years, the SSS area based team must arrange for the SSS/Department Confidential Student file (DCS) to be sent to the SSS area based team for the receiving school.

Sharing information between schools for student wellbeing or safety

New Information Sharing Schemes have expanded permissions for authorised organisations, including government and non-government schools, to share information with each other for the purpose of promoting the wellbeing or safety of children or assessing or managing family violence risk.

For student transfers between Victorian government schools, schools should transfer any information that may assist the new school to promote the wellbeing or safety of children or to assess or manage family violence risk and for any other purpose as outlined in the Schools’ Privacy Policy — refer to Privacy and Information Sharing.

For student transfers between government and non-government schools, schools can use the Information Sharing Schemes to transfer any information that may assist the new school to promote the wellbeing or safety of children or to assess or manage family violence risk.

More information and support about using the new Information Sharing Schemes is available at Child and Family Violence Information Sharing Schemes.

Enquiries by a family about a potential transfer between Victorian government schools

Victorian government schools may not share student information with another Victorian government school before that student has been accepted at that next school, unless consent is given. This means that when a parent or carer (or student on their own behalf) is enquiring about a possible placement at another Victorian government school, the student’s current school cannot share student information with that potential new school, except for the following circumstances:

  • the parent (or student) has consented to the sharing of information
  • the receiving school needs to consult with the student's current school to ensure that the person presenting to the school to enrol the student has decision-making responsibility for that student and there are no Family Law Act orders or other court orders or documents that are relevant to determining who has decision-making responsibility for that student
  • the schools are using the Information Sharing Schemes to transfer information for the purpose of promoting the wellbeing or safety of children or assessing or managing family violence risk.

A principal or regional officer supporting a student to find a suitable educational setting following an expulsion may also share relevant information about the student with another Victorian government school, in order to determine how that school could best support the student's education.

Transfer process

Transfer information required

Transfer information to be sent from transferring school for different school types.

Victorian government school

Student and family information, including information to promote child wellbeing or safety, any foreseeable risks (if applicable) and achievement data.

Note: All Victorian government schools must use CASES21 to transfer this information.

Student information can also be provided to the student’s next Victorian government school in any and all of the following ways: verbally (principal to principal, or nominees), electronically (via email) and in hardcopy (by providing copies of the student’s records, including health reports).

Non-government school including catholic school

Transfer note (downloadable from CASES21), and if applicable, provide information on any foreseeable risks.

Additionally, new Information Sharing Schemes enable Victorian government and non-government schools to share information with each other to promote the wellbeing or safety of children or to assess or manage family violence risk. Refer to Child and Family Violence Information Sharing Schemes for information about these schemes.

Interstate school

Interstate Student Data Transfer Note, including information on any foreseeable risk (if applicable).

For the interstate student data transfer note, downloadable forms, protocols and fact sheets refer to: Interstate Student Data Transfer Note and Protocol for Government SchoolsExternal Link .

Transferring students process

Student transfer steps are as follows:

  1. Update student details in CASES21, including:
    • the transfer date as the last date the student attended / will attend classes
    • transfer note (if used) that has been reviewed by the transferring principal
    • immunisation status for primary students.
      Note: CASES21 automatically updates the Victorian Student Register (VSR). The Student Enrolment Information Form can also be generated from CASES21 if required.
  2. Complete the student exit process in CASES21.
  3. When the student has been accepted by the receiving school, send the receiving school all required student information, including any foreseeable risks, and the immunisation certificate for primary students.
    Parents/carers are required to provide the receiving school with:
    • Court orders or written consent of both parents/carers agreeing to admission
    • passport of travel documentation for non-Australian born students
    • evidence of the student’s name and date of birth.

Receiving students process

Where students are transferring between Victorian government schools student information must be transferred using CASES21. In this instance the receiving school receives notification through CASES21 that data has been transmitted from the transferring school. The Victorian Student Register is automatically updated when the student data is imported by the receiving school.

When students transfer or transition between government schools, student names must not be changed unless new legal documentation with an amended name is provided.

When student information is transferred using CASES21:

    • Parents/carers are not required to complete a new enrolment form.
    • Schools are not required to create a new student record in CASES21 because that would create a duplicate record.
    • Receiving schools must send a copy of the Student Enrolment Information Form to the parent or carer for checking, updating and signing to ensure the student data is current and accurate.
    • Before a student is offered a place, receiving schools may consult with the transferring school to ensure that the person presenting to the school to enrol the student has decision-making responsibility for that student and that there are not Family Law Act orders or other orders or documents that are relevant to determining who has decision-making responsibility for that student.

    The section below describes how the receiving government school deals with missing or conflicting transfer information which may include considering a conditional enrolment.

    How the receiving government school deals with missing or conflicting transfer information

    Student information is not received

    The receiving school principal seeks further information from the transferring school and chooses between:

    • deferring admission for 1 day, or
    • admitting the student conditionally and maintaining a record of attendance until the information is provided.

    Principal is unable, after reasonable enquiries, to obtain information

    The receiving school principal:

    • reports all circumstances to the regional director
    • keeps the student in attendance as a conditional enrolment until the matter is resolved.

    Transferring school provides conflicting information about family circumstances

    The receiving school principal seeks further information from the parents/carers before the School Enrolment Information Form is issued and the transfer proceeds.

    Parents/carers do not provide documentation to clarify conflicting information

    The receiving school principal:

    • may defer the admission of the student for up to 5 days
    • advises the parents/carers that:
      • they are required under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 to enrol compulsory school age children at school and ensure the student attends
      • enrolment is conditional upon provision of the required information in a specified timeframe
      • the student should continue attending their current school where their record of attendance is being maintained

    Refer to: Decision Making Responsibilities for Students

    Note: The principal can seek advice from:

    • the regional office and/or
    • the Department’s Legal Division.

    When the matter is not resolved and there are no pressing circumstances

    The receiving school principal does not proceed with the transfer and the student returns to the transferring school. The transferring school reactivates the student in CASES21.

    When the matter is not resolved both principals agree that the child’s education is likely to be adversely affected by not proceeding with the transfer

    The receiving school principal:

    • proceeds with the transfer
    • advises the parents/carers in writing that the enrolment is conditional and will only be completed when these conditions are met
    • records the conditions.

    Examples: written consent from both parents/carers to the enrolment or production of a court order.


    Enrolment in specialist schools

    Enrolment in specialist schools

    In Victoria, all students with disability can enrol in their local government school or any other government mainstream school if there is sufficient accommodation. Refer to the Placement Policy for more information.

    In addition to mainstream schools, there are a range of government specialist schools that provide specialised education for students with specific disability and high needs.

    Each specialist school has specific enrolment eligibility criteria that are approved by the Minister for Education or their delegates (typically the department’s regional directors). Specialist schools must have a local enrolment policy that lists these enrolment eligibility criteria, and specialist schools must publish their local enrolment policy in a visible and accessible location on their school website.

    Students must meet a specialist school’s enrolment eligibility criteria in order to enrol at that school.

    Enrolment verification for specialist schools

    The department provides assessment services and a Specialist School Enrolment Verification ServiceExternal Link (staff login required) to support specialist schools in determining whether a student meets their enrolment eligibility criteria. Department regional office staff also support specialist schools with enrolment processes, and can assist schools to determine whether a student meets their enrolment eligibility criteria.

    For specialist schools that enrol students who are eligible under the Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD), enrolment verification is undertaken as part of the broader assessment process for the PSD. For single-mode intellectual disability schools, IQ requirements are verified locally by the school in conjunction with regional disability coordinators.

    Enrolment verification for specialist schools in Disability Inclusion areas

    The Disability Inclusion funding and support model will replace the PSD over a phased area-based roll out between 2021 and 2025. For more information, refer to Disability Inclusion Funding and Support.

    The Disability Inclusion funding and support model does not change specialist school enrolment eligibility criteria, including criteria that align with the PSD categories.

    The department has established a Specialist School Enrolment Verification Service to support specialist schools in Disability Inclusion areas to determine whether a student meets their enrolment eligibility criteria.

    Specialist schools that have transitioned to Disability Inclusion must submit a disability category verification request form for all new enrolments where disability category eligibility is required to establish if a student meets the school enrolment criteria. The request form and submission contact details are available at Specialist School Enrolment Verification ServiceExternal Link (staff login required).

    The disability category verification request form should be submitted by the student’s existing school. In instances where the student is not currently attending a Victorian government school the request should be submitted by the student’s intended school – the specialist school.

    Other enrolment considerations such as the student’s age, residential address, or alignment with any other criteria than those that align with PSD disability categories (for example, IQ requirements for enrolment in single-mode intellectual disability schools) are outside the scope of the Specialist School Enrolment Verification Service. These enrolment considerations will continue to be verified locally by the school and regional disability coordinators.

    Appealing enrolment decisions in specialist schools

    Parents/carers can appeal against the decision not to approve an enrolment. This can occur in relation to enrolments at any age or year level. Parents or carers seeking to appeal an enrolment decision should lodge a written appeal with the school. The department will then contact parents/carers with further information after an appeal is lodged.

    Appeals are considered with reference to a specialist school's local enrolment criteria and other local factors, such as sufficient accommodation.

    Reviewing enrolment for current students in specialist schools

    Specialist schools are required to undertake periodic reviews of an enrolled student’s enrolment eligibility to determine whether they continue to be best placed in their current setting, including meeting the school’s enrolment criteria.

    Specialist schools are encouraged to undertake at least one enrolment review for each enrolled student prior to their transition to secondary school, or age equivalent.

    For specialist schools that enrol students who are eligible under the PSD, enrolment reviews will align with existing year 6/7 review and short-term review application timelines (where applicable). Students that continue to receive PSD funding at levels 5 or 6 are exempt from specialist school enrolment reviews.

    For specialist schools in Disability Inclusion areas, the timing of enrolment reviews should align with the following principles:

    • an enrolment review must be undertaken when the student is in year 6 or age equivalent, except where an enrolment review has been verified within the previous 2 years
    • if a review has occurred more than 2 years prior, and the school is unsure if a review should proceed, they should discuss the circumstances with the regional disability coordinator
    • the timing of the review should consider recommendations from relevant professionals or the department’s Specialist School Enrolment Verification Service
    • enrolment reviews should occur prior to completion of a Disability Inclusion Profile to ensure the profile is undertaken in the correct setting.

    The department provides an assessment service and Specialist School Enrolment Verification Service (as outlined above – Enrolment verification for specialist schools in Disability Inclusion areas) to support specialist schools to determine whether a student continues to meet their enrolment criteria. Department regional offices also play a role in supporting specialist schools with enrolment review processes.

    Students who do not meet a specialist school’s enrolment criteria

    In circumstances where the student does not meet the specialist school enrolment criteria, a non-standard enrolment may be considered on a case-by-case basis. A non-standard enrolment will be considered based on evidence and supporting documentation outlining the student’s education and support needs, including input from the specialist school principal, family and regional disability coordinator.

    All non-standard enrolments require regional director or delegate approval. Non-standard enrolments require periodic review to ensure that the enrolment remains in the student’s best interests. Where it is deemed that the enrolment is no longer in the student’s best interests, the school and regional staff will work with the family to identify suitable alternative education settings.


    Concurrent enrolment process (youth justice and secure welfare)

    Concurrent enrolment process (youth justice and secure welfare)

    The section below describes the administrative process when Victorian government schools transfer student information to a Parkville College campus, after the student enters youth justice custody or secure welfare and is concurrently enrolled.

    1. Update student details in CASES21, including the transfer date as the day after the last date the student attended classes prior to custody at their base school. All student information must be up-to-date prior to transfer.

    Note: CASES21 automatically updates the Victorian Student Register (VSR). The two reports are available to select, view and print — Student Enrolment Information Form and Student Information Full Details Report. The student exit process in CASES21 is not part of this process.

    1. When the student’s data has been imported by Parkville College the base school must forward all Student Support Services and Department of Community Services documentation. This would include any uploaded documentation that relates to the students welfare, medical and well-being.

    Note: Parents are required to provide the receiving school with:

    • evidence of the student's name and date of birth
    • passport or travel documentation for non-Australian born students
    • court Orders or written consent of both parents agreeing to admission; for separated parents
    1. Once the student has returned to the community, the student will be exited by Parkville College and maintain a single enrolment at their base school. Parkville College will advise the base school of the transition prior to the date. Where a student does not return to their base school, normal Department policy and procedures apply.

    Temporary enrolments – emergency school closures

    Temporary enrolments – emergency school closures

    Where a student is unable to attend their school because of a flood-related closure, another government school (host school) that has capacity to accept the student’s enrolment on a temporary basis may do so. In these circumstances, the following arrangements apply:

    1. The principal of the host school must advise the principal of the student’s substantive school (base school).
    2. The base school must follow the CASES21 instructions: Transferring students from flood impacted schools (DOCX)External Link (staff login required) to enable the full transfer of student information (for example, emergency contacts, health and other risk information) to the host school for the duration of the temporary enrolment. Where possible, details for a key contact staff member at the student’s base school should be provided so that the host school can discuss any risk, duty of care or continuity of learning issues as needed.
      • If there are no staff members of the base school who are able to access CASES21 for the purposes of processing the transfer due to flood damage, please advise your senior education improvement leader (SEIL) who will work with the department’s CASES21 team to support the transfer.
    3. The host school should inform the regional office through the SEIL of any temporary enrolments and provide basic information about the students including the number of such enrolments and the names of their base schools.

    Attendance records must be kept in CASES21 for the student at the host school and any unexplained absences during the temporary placement should be followed up for that student by the host school as would be the case for any other student. The data will transfer back to the base school through CASES21 once the student can return (when their school is reopened).


    Resources

    Resources

    Forms and documents relating to enrolment in Victorian government schools

    School zones

    FindmyschoolExternal Link – a website for schools and families to determine designated neighbourhood schools and their zones across Victoria

    Statewide Foundation enrolment timeline and procedures for 2023 to 2024

    The Statewide Foundation enrolment timeline and procedures for 2023–24 (DOCX)External Link (staff login required) for Victorian government primary schools has been developed to assist all primary schools with planning for the enrolment of children into Foundation for the 2024 school year.

    Schools should use the Foundation enrolment template website content (DOCX)External Link (staff login required) to update their school website to include links to publicly available resources about the new timeline.

    Initial information and resources for families, including a factsheet, are available at: Enrolling in Foundation (Prep)External Link . Schools may direct families to the website and distribute the factsheet in Term 1, 2023, during school tours or in response to enrolment enquiries.

    International Students

    Interstate transfers

    CASES21

    CASES21 administration user guideExternal Link (staff login required) – the CASES21 Portal is the home of all information relating to the CASES21 Application.

    Student Family Occupation and Education Portal

    Student Family Occupation Education (SFOE) PortalExternal Link (staff login required) – this portal provides further information and a search tool to help you find the SFO for a given occupation.

    Supported Inclusion Schools Operational Manual

    Supported Inclusion Schools Operational ManualExternal Link – A Supported Inclusion School is a mainstream school with additional professional capabilities and facilities designed to cater to a higher proportion of students with significant disability. Students with disability are provided enhanced support to receive high quality, evidence-based educational provision alongside mainstream students in a safe, accessible and supportive environment. The manual supports school principals and the department’s regional and central staff to implement the Supported Inclusion Schools model.

    Designated bilingual program schools

    • Abbotsford Primary School – Chinese
    • Aurora School – Auslan
    • Bayswater South Primary School – German
    • Brunswick South Primary School – Italian
    • Camberwell Primary School – French
    • Caulfield Primary School – Japanese
    • Footscray Primary School – Italian
    • Furlong Park School for Deaf Children – Auslan
    • Gruyere Primary School – Japanese
    • Huntingdale Primary School – Japanese
    • Lalor North Primary School – Greek and Macedonian
    • Newlands Primary School – Spanish
    • Richmond West Primary School – Chinese and Vietnamese

    Indigenous languages

    Indigenous languages are offered at the following schools:

    • Boronia West Primary School
    • Bruthen Primary School
    • Buxton Primary School
    • Shepparton (Gowrie Street) Primary School
    • Healesville Primary School
    • Lakes Entrance Primary School
    • Mildura Primary School
    • Moe (Albert Street) Primary School
    • Paynesville Primary School
    • Sebastopol Primary School
    • Thornbury Primary School
    • Wooragee Primary School
    • Bright P–12 College
    • Heywood District Secondary College

    Reviewed 06 March 2020