School operations

Sister School Partnerships


This policy sets out the requirements for schools regarding sister school partnerships, including visits by overseas students to Victorian schools and visits by Victorian students to sister schools overseas.


A sister school partnership is a meaningful, reciprocal and sustainable long-term partnership between 2 schools, aimed at fulfilling a range of purposes as determined by the school communities. Sister school partnerships are a great way for schools to deepen their global learning and engagement, expose their students to different countries and cultures and build the global citizenship, intercultural capabilities and critical and creative thinking of their students, teachers and communities.

Sister school partnerships can be intrastate, interstate or international and are based on the principles of mutual educational benefit and reciprocity.

Refer to the Guidance tab for a description of the differences between sister school partnerships and other types of overseas student arrangements.

Key requirements:

Participation in a sister school partnership is open to any school. Schools can identify and establish sister school partnerships on their own, or seek assistance from the department’s International Education Division (refer to contact details on this page).

Schools entering into sister school partnerships must ensure they follow the advice provided on the Guidance tab and meet the following key requirements:

  • If a school wishes to enter into a written arrangement or vary a written arrangement with an overseas school, such as a memorandum of understanding, or emails setting out an arrangement or understanding, schools must follow the approval process as detailed in the arrangements with overseas partners chapter of the Sister School Partnerships – Guidelines for Victorian Government Schools.
  • Schools must not enter into any commercial arrangements with their sister schools. Costs involved in sister school activities such as student visits should be negotiated between schools based on the principles of mutual benefit and reciprocity. It is reasonable to ask for sister schools to cover costs associated with the visits (and vice versa), but if fees are charged, they must only be to recover actual costs incurred.
  • Schools have a duty of care to take steps to prevent reasonably foreseeable harm to all students when visiting their sister school as well as when hosting visitors from their sister schools.
  • Schools must consider and apply relevant department policies when managing sister school activities and visits, including:
    • privacy and consent when sharing student work and information about students between sister schools
    • student safety and wellbeing when using social media or other online communication methods to communicate with sister schools.

For further guidance on implementing the above requirements for sister school partnerships, refer to the Guidance tab.

Relevant legislation

Department policy on sister school partnerships, including visits by overseas students to Victorian schools and visits by Victorian students to sister schools overseas

Reviewed 22 January 2024

Policy last updated

22 January 2024


  • Schools
  • School councils


International Education Division

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