The Repeating a Year Level Policy is in line with research that indicates that repeating a year level can be associated with negative wellbeing, engagement, achievement and school retention, and disproportionately affects disadvantaged students.
Impact of repeating a year
Studies on students repeating a year level suggest that:
- students who repeat a year are unlikely to catch up with peers of a similar level who move on, even after completing an additional year’s schooling
- students who repeat a year are more likely to drop out of school prior to completion
- negative effects are disproportionately greater for disadvantaged students, for culturally and linguistically diverse students, and for students who are relatively young in their year group
Decision making — repeating a year
Principals use their professional expertise and judgment in relation to student progression. When making this assessment, principals should consider:
- the student’s social, wellbeing and academic needs
- whether repeating a year may prevent the student from ultimately being able to complete a senior secondary school certificate at the school because of maximum school age limitations
The final decision about progression and/or repeating a year level rests with the principal. Schools do not need parent/carer consent for a student to progress.
Where the principal determines that repeating a year level is required for the long-term benefit of the student, the principal must obtain parent/carer consent for the student to repeat the year level.
Schools must ensure that parents/carers are advised of all options available to best meet individual student needs to assist them in making a decision about consenting for the student to repeat the year.
Requests for students to transfer to another school to repeat a year
Where a parent requests that their child transfer from one government school to another government school with the purpose of repeating a year level, the decision about which year level the student will be enrolled in rests with the principal of the enrolling school.
When making this decision, principals should consult with the parent/carer and if appropriate, the student, to understand the basis of the request to repeat a year level. Where the enrolment has been accepted (but the year level not decided upon yet), the principal may also consult with the principal of the transferring school on the appropriate year level to place the student. Where the parents do not want the enrolment to proceed until a decision is made about year level, the principal must seek parent/carer consent before consulting with the student’s current principal. For student transfers refer to .
If parents/carers have requested that their child repeat a year level and are not satisfied with the principal’s decision, they can lodge a complaint following the school’s Complaints Policy. To view the Department’s complaints policy refer to .
Senior Secondary School
Schools may consider extending the student’s enrolment to complete a senior secondary school certificate (VCE or VCAL), where a student has issues with health and/or wellbeing. For example, completing Foundation, Intermediate or Senior VCAL over two years (instead of one year), or completing VCE over three years (instead of two years).
This practice is not considered repeating a year level as the student would be undertaking different units of study each year. This practice may increase senior secondary completion.
The final decision about extending the student’s enrolment rests with the principal. The principal must consult with the student’s parent/carer to determine that extending the student’s enrolment is in the best interest of the student.
Reviewed 15 September 2020