Naming a new school
The new school naming process should begin 15 to 18 months prior to the scheduled school opening to allow sufficient time for community consultation and provide enough lead time to finalise other important operational matters such as the design of school uniforms and other branding.
- A regional advisory group is formed to support the establishment of a new school in the absence of an interim school council. The regional advisory group is chaired by a senior education improvement leader (SEIL) nominated by the region. The regional advisory group, for the purposes of school naming, is a working group responsible for generating a ‘seed list’ of possible names to be put forward to the community for consultation via the Engage Victoria platform. Representation from the department’s Koorie Education Workforce should be sought when establishing regional advisory groups.
- School Operations and Statewide Services Division (SOSSD) provides naming process guidance to the chair of the regional advisory group, including the due date to deliver the list of possible school names.
The purpose of the ‘Consultation-starter list’ activities is to identify a ‘seed list’ of possible names that can be put forward to the community for consultation on Engage Victoria. The steps for this activity are:
- SOSSD submits requests to the formally recognised Traditional Owner groups to seek their participation in the naming process by suggesting one or more Aboriginal naming options.
- At the same time, the regional advisory group agrees on list of possible names and submits them to SOSSD.
Note: Broader local community consultation is not permitted at this stage as this will occur through Engage Victoria.
Note: As the naming authority, the Minister for Education can decide to directly name a school through ministerial or local announcement. In this case, community consultation through Engage Victoria would not proceed (skip to activity).
- SOSSD in conjunction with Geographic Names Victoria assesses the naming suggestions from the Traditional Owner groups (if provided) and the regional advisory group and assesses the resulting ‘seed list’ of possible names against naming principles outlined in this policy, noting whether each suggested name complies.
- The ‘seed list’ of possible names, with their compliance status, is presented to the Minister for Education as the proposed consultation-starter list for Engage Victoria consultation.
Engage Victoria community consultation
The department uses Engage Victoria as a digital way for school communities to participate in the naming process and have a say in shaping their local community.
The purpose of the ‘Engage Victoria community consultation’ activities is to consult with the community to seek their input on the future name of the school. The steps within this activity are:
- SOSSD seeks approval from the Minister for Education to commence Engage Victoria consultation on the consultation-starter list of possible names.
- Once approved, SOSSD lodges a request to the Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA) to begin the community consultation on Engage Victoria.
Note: Once the consultation period begins, the Engage Victoria consultation can be promoted to the prospective school and local community via social media, newsletters, email and websites.
- Once the consultation period is closed, the VSBA compiles results and provides them to SOSSD.
The purpose of the ‘Approval’ activities is to gain approval from the Minister for Education, as the naming authority for schools and campuses, on the recommended name. The steps within this activity are:
- SOSSD submits a brief to the Minister outlining consultation results, seeking approval of the recommended name. As the naming authority, the Minister for Education approves the new name.
- The regional advisory group, school and local community are informed of the name. This may be by ministerial or local announcement.
- SOSSD seeks confirmation of the school’s address from its local council. This typically cannot be confirmed until the later stages of the school’s build. Once confirmed, SOSSD lodges a request with Geographic Names Victoria to gazette the new school name.
- SOSSD formally advises relevant parties of the gazetted name, including:
- the Performance and Evaluation Division who will formally update the department’s Entity Register
- the School Provision and Establishment Division who will advise the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) of the gazetted name, and once registered the school is added to the VRQA state register.
The new school community is encouraged to promote and celebrate the selected name and incorporate it into all future communications. The interim name (if different to the selected name) should be decommissioned. School materials, policies, and procedures must be updated to reflect the gazetted and registered name.
Reviewed 01 March 2022