The purpose of this policy is to ensure Victorian government schools are open on school days for student instruction, to outline the process for establishing and communicating student-free days and to explain responsibilities for Year 7 orientation days.
- The Minister for Education determines the days when government schools are open for students.
- The first day of the school year is a student-free day.
- Three additional student-free days are scheduled by the school council.
- From 2023, one of the 4 student-free days each year is to be nominated for assessment and reporting.
School term dates
Term 4 dismissals
Students up to and including Year 9 will attend school until the end of the school year.
The below steps describe the arrangements where other students may be excused from attending school at the end of the year.
Students who are in Year 10
May finish school from the Friday in December not more than 2 weeks before the end of the school year, noting that schools must provide suitable supervision and activities for any Year 10 student whose parents wish for their child to attend school up until the end of the school year.
Students who are in Year 11
May finish school after completing final exams but not before the close of the school day on the last Friday in November.
Students who are in Year 12
May finish school following their final exam.
Important: Principals may require attendance of these students at any time up to the last day of the school year.
Each year schools receive 4 student-free days (when student instruction does not occur) for professional development, school planning and administration, curriculum development and student assessment and reporting.
The first day of Term 1 each year must be a student-free day in all government schools to allow for appropriate planning to take place for the arrival of students.
School councils have the flexibility to schedule the remaining 3 student-free days each year to meet local school needs.
From 2023, one of the 4 student-free days each year must be nominated for assessment and reporting
Schools are unable to schedule additional student-free days to the 4 provided each year.
Where possible, schools are encouraged to coordinate activities with other local schools to promote cooperative professional development and planning and maximise the use of available resources.
Principals must inform parents and the broader school community of the scheduling arrangements for student-free days (using community language notices where necessary).
Student-free days should be set well in advance each year so that parents can make suitable arrangements.
Schools serviced by Department of Transport or Department school bus services must advise their service providers of their student-free day arrangements. Coordinating schools must advise affected non-government schools to enable them to make their own arrangements.
Schools should use a variety of communication strategies to inform their school community of annual student-free day arrangements.
These strategies may include notices in school newsletters, on the school web site and answering machine/service, emails, online parent communication tools, signage outside the school and letters to parents.
Public holidays when schools in Victoria are not open are:
- 1 January (New Year’s Day) or substitute day if this day falls on a weekend
- 26 January (Australia Day) or substitute day if this day falls on a weekend
- second Monday in March (Labour Day)
- Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday
- 25 April (ANZAC Day)
- second Monday in June (observance of the sovereign’s birthday)
- 22 September 2022 (National Day of Mourning)
- Friday before the AFL Grand Final
- first Tuesday in November (Melbourne Cup Day) or such other day as is appointed under section 8 of the Public Holidays Act 1993
- Note: Non-metropolitan councils may request that another day be appointed in lieu of Melbourne Cup Day and if approved, have it declared in the Victorian Government Gazette
- 25 December (Christmas Day) or substitute day if this day falls on a weekend
- 26 December (Boxing Day) or substitute day if this day falls on a weekend
Year 7 Orientation day
- aim to promote enthusiasm and positive participation for secondary education in Year 6 students
- are part of an extensive transition program conducted by secondary schools throughout the year
- should be run by all secondary colleges on the second last Tuesday of the school year (usually the second Tuesday of December). Any proposal to change this date should be fully discussed with other schools and the regional director.
Orientation days should provide a full day program that:
- is the responsibility of the secondary college
- should be devised in consultation with primary schools
- should not involve any form of testing
Responsibility for students rests with:
- parents or carers while students are travelling to and from Orientation day
- the secondary school while the students attend Orientation day
- the primary school when students do not attend orientation, for example, if they intend to attend a private secondary school
Reviewed 27 October 2022