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Minimum Standards and School Registration

Policy

This policy sets out the requirements for all government schools to be correctly registered with the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority and to comply with the Minimum Standards for school registration.

Summary

  • All schools must be registered with the Victorian Qualifications and Registration Authority (VRQA) and must comply with the Minimum Standards and other requirements for school registration (including the Child Safe Standards) to obtain and maintain their registration.
  • All schools’ registration details are published on the VRQA State Register.
  • All Victorian government schools are assessed for continuing compliance with the Minimum Standards on a cyclical basis, at least once every 4 to 5 years.
  • The VRQA may also commence a review of a school’s compliance at any time if it considers it appropriate to do so or may request the Department, as a review body, to conduct a specific or general review of a government school’s compliance with the Minimum Standards.
  • The School Policy Templates Portal (staff login required) contains templates of local school policies and implementation information for Victorian government schools to assist with understanding compliance requirements.

Details

Under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic) (the Act) all providers of school education must ensure that:

  • the VRQA has granted registration before the school begins operating
  • they meet Minimum Standards for school registration set out in the Act, the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017 (Vic) and Ministerial Orders, including the Child Safe Standards (Minimum Standards) both upon registration and on a continuing basis throughout their operation as a school.

A Memorandum of Understanding (PDF) between the VRQA and the Department establishes the Department as the review body for Victorian government schools (including government school boarding premises). Refer to the VRQA website for more information.

As the review body for government schools, the Department is responsible for monitoring government schools’ ongoing compliance with the Minimum Standards, supporting schools to comply and reporting to the VRQA on government schools’ compliance.

The Department is also responsible for applying to the VRQA for:

  • new government school registration
  • amendments to existing government school registration.

Registration categories

Schools must operate consistently with their category of registration, noting that schools and their campuses can be registered in one or more of the following:

  • primary
  • secondary 
  • co-educational
  • single sex
  • specific purpose (for schools that provide an alternative educational program or educational focus)
  • specialist (for schools that cater mainly for students with disabilities or with social, emotional or behavioural difficulties).

All schools’ registration details are published on the VRQA State Register.

Applying to register government schools or amend registration

The Department is required to apply to the VRQA in relation to the following situations:

  • opening a new school
  • creating a new school through the merger of existing schools
  • opening an additional campus
  • relocating a school to a new site
  • offering additional year levels
  • changing a school’s registration type, such as from primary to specialist.

Applications to the VRQA are made by the Deputy Secretary, Schools and Regional Services, and individual schools are not able to make applications directly to the VRQA.

Schools should connect with their senior education improvement leader to discuss any proposal relating to the above situations. If a proposal is approved at the regional and Department level, the region and School Registration Unit will support the school to quality assure the evidence used in the application.  

The Department is required to submit applications to the VRQA by 31 August annually, the year prior to commencement.

Senior secondary registration

The Department is required to ensure that any government school planning to deliver the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) or the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) is:

  • authorised by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) to deliver the relevant qualification (VCE and/or VCAL), and
  • registered with the VRQA to add the additional year levels and/or qualifications.

Government schools must notify the School Registration Unit of their intention to seek authorisation for delivery of senior secondary qualifications by no later than 15 February, the year prior to delivery.

Applications to the VCAA and the VRQA are made by the Deputy Secretary, Schools and Regional Services, and individual schools are not able to make applications directly to these bodies. The Department is required to submit applications to add additional year levels and/or qualifications the VRQA by 30 June annually, the year prior to delivery.

The School Registration Unit supports schools to quality assure the evidence used in applications.

For information on authorisation to offer the VCE or VCAL refer to VCAA – Schools.

Compliance with the Minimum Standards

All Victorian schools (government and non-government) must comply with the Minimum Standards which are designed to provide a foundation for quality schools. The VRQA publishes guidelines that detail the requirements of the Minimum Standards for registration of schools and other requirements under the Act – refer to the Guidance tab for the VRQA Guidelines to the Minimum Standards and Requirements for School Registration and further information on the Resources tab.

The Minimum Standards cover a range of areas, including curriculum and student learning and the care, safety and welfare of students (which includes anaphylaxis management, emergency bushfire management and compliance with the Child Safe Standards).

Government schools are currently assessed for compliance as part of their quadrennial school review – refer to School Review for further details.

From Term 2, 2022, Department staff in the Operational Policy, School Engagement and Compliance Division will assess government schools’ compliance with the Minimum Standards on a cyclical basis once every 4 years (Minimum Standards Compliance Assessment). Where possible, the Minimum Standards Compliance Assessment will take place 6 to 12 months before the school’s review term.

In addition to cyclical reviews, an out-of-cycle review may be conducted on request from the VRQA or when the Department becomes aware of incidents that indicate possible non-compliance with the Minimum Standards.

Department staff support government schools to help address any areas of non-compliance identified through a Minimum Standards Compliance Assessment. Generally, these issues will be resolved during the Minimum Standards Compliance Assessment and in the rare instances that this cannot occur, must be resolved within 3 months following the assessment. 

Policy templates that assist government schools to develop local policy documents required under the Minimum Standards are available on the School Policy Templates Portal (staff login required).

Contact

For advice and support with registering a new government school or amending an existing registration of a government school, contact the Department’s School Registration Unit: school.registration@education.vic.gov.au

For assistance with understanding and implementing the Minimum Standards and for further information on the Minimum Standards Compliance Assessment contact the Department’s School Compliance Unit:

Relevant legislation

Department policy explaining the requirements for all government schools to be correctly registered and to comply with the minimum standards for school registration

Reviewed 07 September 2021

Policy last updated

24 August 2021

Scope

  • Schools
  • School councils

Contact

School Compliance Unit Operational Policy, School Engagement and Compliance Division

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