School operations

Re-engagement Programs

Establishing a re-engagement program

Work on establishing a new program needs to commence well in advance of the planned operation date. The main phases in establishing a new re-engagement program are:

  • identifying need
  • planning the program
  • obtaining the necessary approvals
  • policy and procedure requirements.

Identifying need

Schools should work with relevant stakeholders to collect evidence on the need for a new re-engagement program.

Key stakeholders include:

  • other schools and education and training providers
  • community services such as Youth Connections and School Focused Youth Service providers, and other youth-focused agencies
  • networks including Student Support Services networks, Local Learning and Employment Networks, Youth Partnerships governance groups (if applicable), and other education and youth service networks
  • students and families.

Useful sources of data may include:

  • school level data regarding attendance, behaviour and retention (the Student Mapping Tool is useful in collating this data)
  • attitudes to school survey data
  • adolescent community profiles
  • environmental scans conducted by Local Learning and Employment Networks
  • data collected by community services.

The types of questions to consider in this phase include:

  • how many children and young people are disengaged or at risk of disengaging from our school/in our network or community?
  • what are the characteristics of this group in terms of age, educational level, presenting issues?
  • are there existing education options that could meet the needs of this group?

Planning a program

Once need for a program is established, planning should focus on broadly planning the program itself. Questions to consider include:

  • what will the re-engagement program deliver?
  • who will deliver it?
  • where will it be located?
  • who will be the target group?
  • how many children or young people will it cater to?
  • how will the program be governed?
  • what links and partnerships with community agencies and/or businesses could be established to support the program?
  • what funding sources will it draw on?

Planning should occur well in advance of the proposed commencement of a program, to ensure sufficient time to identify and address issues, refine the plan, and seek necessary approvals for program operation.

This planning may be led by a particular school; however, there should be close consultation with other schools and relevant agencies and the department regional office.

Engagement with the relevant regional office is important as it plays a key role in obtaining the necessary approvals for program delivery.

Obtaining the necessary approvals

If the planned program involves delivery by a school at a site external to existing school campus/es, the following steps must be undertaken prior to the program commencing:

  • seek approval of a school reorganisation by the Minister for Education
  • seek amendment of the school’s VRQA registration to add an additional campus

Preparation for seeking these approvals should start as early as possible during the planning phase to ensure that any issues are identified early and strategies are developed to address these.

Approval of school reorganisation

Establishment of a re-engagement program by a school on a site external to existing campus/es constitutes a school reorganisation, which requires approval by the Minister for Education.

Approval must be sought via a school reorganisation briefing prepared by the relevant regional office.

A consultation checklist is appended to the briefing template, which requires regions to consult across the relevant business areas of the department. The consultation process requires regions to document consultation and approval outcomes, including confirmation of proposed location, infrastructure requirements, operational funding sources and program funding.

The site for the program must be inspected to ensure facilities comply with departmental standards. You should seek advice on this process from your regional office. For contact details, please visit the department’s contact pageExternal Link .

Amendment of school registration

Schools must obtain approval by the VRQA to amending their registration to add an additional campus. This can only be done following approval of a school reorganisation by the Minister for Education.

Requirements for senior secondary programs

Senior secondary re-engagement programs must be delivered by a school or provider that is:

  • registered by the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) and authorised by VCAA for delivery of the VCAL and/or VCE or
  • registered by the VRQA and authorised by VCAA for the delivery of Community VCAL or
  • registered with the VRQA for their scope of delivery when delivering a VET qualification.

Non-school providers should contact VRQA directly on 03 9637 2806.

Authorisation by VCAA to deliver VCAL/VCE will only be granted following registration as a senior secondary provider by the VRQA. For further information on the authorisation process, contact VCAA on 03 9032 1727.

Senior secondary re-engagement programs also must be approved for operation by the relevant department regional office. For more information, refer to: SRP Guidance (Reference 53).

Policy and procedure requirements

Re-engagement programs should have a range of policies and procedures in place to document the operations of the programs and other requirements such as duty of care and occupational health and safety obligations.

Programs delivered by a school or registered training organisation (RTO) will be covered by existing policies that are required under legislation or as a condition of registration with the VRQA. However, it may be appropriate that specific policies are developed to reflect the re-engagement program environment.

Relevant policies and procedures include:

  • Information privacy – outlining processes for maintaining confidentiality of private information of program participants, in line with privacy legislation. Please refer to the department’s Privacy and Information Sharing Policy.
  • Child protection and mandatory reporting – outlining staff obligations and responsibilities for identifying and responding to child abuse and/or neglect, including allegations of sexual abuse. Please refer to: Protecting Children – Reporting and Other Legal Obligations.
  • Child Safe Standards – minimum standards for all Victorian early childhood services and schools, to ensure they are well prepared to protect children from abuse and neglect. Please refer to: Information and Guidance on Child Safe StandardsExternal Link .
  • Parent complaints policy – outlining procedures for addressing student, family, staff or other stakeholder concerns and complaints effectively. Please refer to: Complaints – Parents.
  • Attendance recording and processes for reporting this regularly to the enrolling school. Please refer to the department’s Attendance Policy.
Guidance chapter on the requirements for establishing a re-engagement program

Reviewed 16 January 2023

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