Policy last updated
15 December 2022
- School councils
This policy outlines the requirements relating to flagpoles and flag flying in schools and for celebrating Australia's cultural diversity and Australian citizenship.
- There are a range of requirements relating to the installation of flagpoles in schools, including requirements relating to size, procurement and location – refer to the Flagpoles chapter of the Guidance tab for more information.
- Schools must fly the Australian National Flag on days when patriotic ceremonies are conducted and on national flag days (if the school is open).
- Schools may also fly the Australian National Flag during school hours.
- Schools are encouraged to fly the Victorian State Flag, Aboriginal Flag and/or Torres Strait Islander Flag, alongside the Australian Flag if they have additional flag poles, noting order of precedence protocols – refer to the Flying flags chapter of the Guidance tab for more information.
- Schools must conduct any ceremony acknowledging and celebrating the role of students as citizens of Australia, in a manner that is consistent with the Victorian Public Sector Values and inclusive of all students.
- Schools must not compel students to recite a pledge or declaration or take part in a patriotic ceremony if the student or parents or carers object based on religious, cultural, philosophical or other beliefs.
Flagpoles and flag flying
All schools should have at least 3 flagpoles located at the entrance, where possible, or in other areas where the school community may assemble.
Except as stated elsewhere in this policy, or on other special occasions advised by the Department of Premier and Cabinet, flags are only to be flown during normal working hours.
It is recommended that each school register subscribes to receive state flag notifications from the Department of Premier and Cabinet. To subscribe, visit Flag notifications and .
Refer to the Flying flags chapter for more information about the protocols for flying the Australian National Flag and other flags.
Refer to the Flagpoles chapter for more information about installing and upgrading flagpoles.
Ceremonies in relation to being an Australian citizen (patriotic ceremonies)
When considering holding any ceremonies celebrating Australian citizenship, or cultural diversity, schools must:
- consider the diversity of cultures and beliefs in the school community
- ensure that all students can participate
- ensure that patriotic ceremonies are conducted in a manner that is consistent with the Code of conduct for directors of Victorian public , the Victorian Public Sector and the school’s own Inclusion and Diversity Policy.
Patriotic ceremonies may include:
- singing the Australian National Anthem, Advance Australia Fair
- acknowledging the symbolic importance of the Australian National Flag alongside other flags including the:
- Australian Aboriginal Flag
- Torres Strait Islander Flag
- student recital of a declaration, such as:
- an Australian citizenship
- an oath or pledge devised by the school, in consultation with the school council expressing the ideals of citizenship and celebrating cultural diversity.
Schools must not compel students to recite a pledge or declaration or take part in a patriotic ceremony if the student or parents or carers object based on religious, cultural, philosophical or other beliefs.
Any flags used in a patriotic ceremony held at a school must include the Australian National Flag.
Flag flying and patriotic ceremonies
For questions about flag flying and patriotic ceremonies, contact the School Operations and Governance Unit via email@example.com
For information regarding the provision of flagpoles for school buildings, visit the Building Quality Standards Handbook (BQSH) or contact the Victorian School Building Authority: email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1800 896 950.
This guidance contains the following chapters:
- Flying flags
New schools are built with 3 flagpoles in accordance with the Building Quality Standards Handbook , and established schools with fewer than 3 flagpoles are encouraged to procure additional poles. Having 3 flagpoles enables schools to fly the Victorian State Flag and the Aboriginal Flag, in addition to the Australian National Flag.
Six metres is the recommended height for most school situations. This is the equivalent of a 2-storey building. Occasionally, 7.5-metre poles may be warranted. If in doubt, contact the VSBA for assistance via email email@example.com or phone 1800 896 950.
Flagpoles that are affixed to buildings should not exceed a height of 3 metres above the highest point of attachment to that building.
Flagpoles under 8 metres do not require local council approval or a building permit.
Flagpoles can be installed differently to suit a variety of needs and situations:
- Free-standing fixed-base spigot – a concrete base is poured around the flagpole (or the tubular sleeve into which the pole is then inserted). A base plate can also be used for free-standing poles – in this instance, the plate is bolted down onto a concrete footing.
- Hinged base – the concrete base supports a metal hinge which allows the flagpole to be lowered for maintenance, and so on. Hinged options should only be considered in consultation with experienced manufacturers/installers.
- Building-attached – some schools (especially those on tight inner-urban sites) may find it more practicable to affix flagpoles to the exterior of their buildings, for example, the school entrance/administrative facilities.
Most flagpoles are manufactured in aluminium. This can be provided with an anodised or powder-coated finish, depending on preference, colour and local conditions.
Heritage schools or facilities may require a timber flagpole.
Flagpoles can have a standard diameter their entire length (typically 80 mm) or be tapered, with a top diameter narrower than the base. Tapered poles can be more expensive.
For tapered flagpoles, the base diameter should be approximately 90 mm for a 6-metre pole and approximately 100 mm for a 7.5-metre pole.
Procuring a new or replacement flagpole
Schools seeking to procure a new or replacement flagpole must engage a building professional with experience in the manufacture and installation of flagpoles in accordance with the Procuring Low-Value Construction Works or Services Policy.
Where possible, schools are encouraged to use Victorian Building Authroity registered builders to complete these works and to ensure that they are certified structurally sound by a structural engineer. Schools should obtain at least one supplier quote for contracts valued at $50,000 (including GST) or less. However, schools are encouraged to seek multiple quotes wherever possible.
If a contract is estimated to exceed $50,000 (which is unlikely to apply to flagpole projects unless multiple poles are being installed across several campuses of the one school entity), schools must not obtain tenders or quotations, or commence any works or enter into contracts, until they have sought VSBA approval to proceed.
Schools should provide the building professional with the Flagpoles at Victorian government schools – building professionals factsheet and the Flagpoles at Victorian government schools – school council minor works contract template so that the specifications and contractual requirements for the proposed works are understood.
Suitable flagpole installers
To ensure equal access to business opportunities and avoid conflicts of interest, the VSBA is unable to recommend specific companies or building professionals to undertake these works. However, these are readily searchable on the internet.
The building professional must have a current Australian Business Number (ABN) and a minimum of $10 million public liability insurance.
Schools are encouraged to speak to building professionals in their local area who have experience in installing flagpoles.
Costs can vary depending on flagpole size, base construction, finish, and installation. Additional costs may accrue if the supplier is not local to the project and has to travel, for example, from outside the region and incur fuel and accommodation expenses.
Subject to price volatility in the current construction industry market, the average cost of a flagpole (including installation) is expected to be somewhere between $2,500 to $5,000. Proposed project costs may also vary depending on soil and ground conditions, especially where contamination may have occurred, or services are present.
Flags are not typically included in the cost of flagpole installation. Unless an arrangement has been reached with your particular flagpole supplier and installer, you will need to purchase flags separately.
Funding for flagpoles
Schools will need to use their existing funds, whether locally raised or drawn from the minor works component of their Student Resource Package (SRP), to install flagpoles.
Flagpoles should be located at the entrance to the school campus, where possible.
Other locations might include areas where the school community assembles, such as quadrangles or outdoor courtyard spaces.
Consider whether there are any known issues, for example, whether contaminated soil (including asbestos) has been found at the proposed location, or whether there are existing underground services that may be impacted. Footings can disturb underground water or electricity assets, and consent may need to be obtained if a flagpole is to be constructed near or over an easement.
Under Electricity Safety (General) Regulations 2019, there are minimum distances to aerial lines which need to be complied with. It is recommended that your relevant electricity supplier be consulted if a flagpole is to be built near overhead power lines.
Schools should provide as much information as is known so that the building professional can proceed with due diligence, including preliminary ground investigations. Under the Minor Works Contract, the building professional will assume responsibility for the remediation of any damage to services.
Other specifications and policy requirements
The building professional or installer you engage is responsible for ensuring that the flagpole meets all technical specifications and safety requirements.
One particular requirement is that the flag-raising halyard be internal to the pole (6-metre poles have a typical diameter of 80 mm), and that a lockable hatch be provided to reduce both vandalism and ensure safety.
The requirements are outlined in the:
- Flagpoles at Victorian government schools – building professionals factsheet
- Flagpoles at Victorian government schools – school council minor works contract
Victoria’s Building Act 1993, the Building Regulations 2018, and the Building Code of Australia (also referred to as the National Construction Code and incorporated by reference into the Regulations) govern the delivery of building works in this state.
In accordance with the Code, a Class 10 structure (that is, flagpole) should:
- perform adequately under all reasonably expected design actions
- withstand extreme or frequently repeated design actions
- be designed to sustain local damage and
- avoid causing damage to other properties.
While flagpole installation works are procured and led by schools, the VSBA is available to provide advice and support to schools that require it.
For further information or assistance:
- email the VSBA at firstname.lastname@example.org
- call the VSBA on 1800 896 950.
Australian National Flag
The Australian Government presents an Australian National Flag to every new government school upon opening. It is generally expected that a flag will last around 7 years. If a new flag is required, schools can request a replacement from either the federal member of parliament for their electoral division or a senator from the state of Victoria.
It is expected that schools fly the Australian National Flag as the default flag.
Schools must fly the Australian National Flag on the following days if they are open:
- January 1 – commemorating the anniversary of the establishment of the Commonwealth of Australia
- January 26 – Australia Day
- March – the second Monday: Labour Day
- April 25 – Anzac Day, with flags flown at:
- half-mast until noon
- the masthead until the close of business
- June – second Monday of the month: observing the anniversary of the Queen’s birthday
- September 3 – National Flag Day:
- commemorating the first official flying of Australian flags at the Royal Exhibition Buildings in Melbourne on 3 September 1901
- November 11 – Remembrance Day with flags flown at:
- the masthead from 8 am to 10:30 am
- half-mast from 10:30 am to 11:02 am
- the masthead from 11:02 am to the close of business.
Schools may also raise the Australian National Flag:
- at the beginning of each school day, flying the flag between 8 am and the close of business, other than on special occasions
- when providing an opportunity for students to reflect on the current flag, its history and future.
- give precedence to the Australian National Flag over all other flags
- not fly 2 flags on one pole
- fly the Australian National Flag on the flagpole to the left of any other flags when a person is facing the building.
Flying other flags
Where Victorian government schools have multiple flagpoles, school principals may choose to display other flags alongside the Australian National flag, ensuring the flags are consistent with the department's values, and in line with the Australian National Flag set by the Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Schools are encouraged to fly the Victorian State Flag, Aboriginal Flag and Torres Strait Islander Flag if they have additional flag poles. The order of precedence is:
- Australian National Flag
- Victorian Flag
- Aboriginal Flag
- Torres Strait Islander Flag.
Additional flags can be displayed on an internal flagpole within a school building.
Examples of commemorative or celebratory events:
- 21 March – Harmony Day to celebrate Australia's cultural diversity and support inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone
- May 27 to June 3 – National Reconciliation Week to recognise:
- 27 May as the anniversary of the 1967 referendum which successfully removed clauses from the Constitution that discriminated against Indigenous Australians
- 3 June as Eddie Mabo Day, the anniversary of the High Court decision in the Eddie Mabo land rights case of 1992 recognised by Torres Strait Islanders
- July, a nominated week – NAIDOC Week (National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee) to celebrate and promote greater understanding of Indigenous peoples and culture
- July 1 – 'Coming of the Light' celebration day for Torres Strait Islanders.
If the school has one flagpole the Australian National Flag is to be flown, as it takes precedence over all flags.
Commemorative or celebratory flags can be displayed or flown on additional flag poles, however the Australian National Flag, Victorian State Flag or Aboriginal Flag should not be displaced to fly these flags.
Information about flying the Australian Aboriginal Flag and the Torres Strait Islander Flag (as well as the Australian National Flag and other Australian flags) is available on the Australian Government website of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet at Australian .
- Flagpoles at Victorian government schools – building professionals factsheet – this resource has been developed to help building professionals provide accurate quotes for the installation of flagpoles in schools
- Flagpoles at Victorian government schools – school council minor works contract template – schools are encouraged to use this template for contracts involving the installation of flagpoles
Reviewed 11 December 2022