Admission

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

​​Purpose of this policy

To ensure schools admit eligible students.

Policy

Children of school age have the right to be admitted to their designated neighbourhood government school at the beginning of the school year (or when relevant) unless an approved alternative placement has been arranged.

Before admitting a student, schools must:

  • for students transferring from another Victorian government school, import student information  using CASES21; and provide parents with the Student Enrolment Information Form for validation of student information
  • for students who are new to the government system, obtain a completed enrolment form.

For all students, schools must:

  • collect relevant admission information
  • provide a privacy notice to the enrolling parent explaining the use to be made of enrolment information. For sample notices see: Privacy within Department resources​
  • collect and record an immunisation status certificate – primary students..

 For admission, all applicants must be:

  • an Australian citizen, or a student with relevant specified visas or Immicard see : International Student Program
  • deemed eligible and approved for enrolment by the principal or relevant regional director.  

On admission schools consider the following in determining a student’s school readiness:

  • entry assessment from kindergarten
  • informal observations to assess development, literacy and numeracy, and academic, social and emotional needs.

Age eligibility and approval requirements

Compulsory school age

Under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006, schooling is compulsory for students aged between 6 and 17 years unless an exemption from attendance has been granted. For exemption categories and process see: Attendance

This applies to all schools including mainstream, specialist, and government English Language schools or centres.

A person who is not of compulsory school age may not enrol in or attend a Government school unless:

  • the person falls within an exception to the age eligibility requirements set out in the age regulations; or
  • the person is granted an exemption from the age regulations.

What is the difference between an exception and an exemption?

A person who falls within an exception automatically meets the age eligibility requirements to enrol in or attend a Government school.  If the principal is satisfied that the person meets the criteria for the exception, the principal cannot refuse to enrol the person on the basis of their age.

A person who does not fall within an exception may be eligible to apply for an exemption. Exemptions are granted at the discretion of the Minister or Regional Directors. There is no automatic eligibility to enrol in or attend a Government school.

Principal responsibility

Principals are responsible for assessing eligibility and approving the admission of:

  • individuals who are of compulsory school age, i.e. those aged between 6 and 17 years; and
  • individuals who fall within an exception under the Regulations.

Individuals who fall outside of the compulsory school age may attend school only if they fall within an exception under the Regulations or are granted an exemption. The exceptions are set out in more detail below. However there are exceptions for: 

  • children who are at least 5 years of age by 30 April of the year of enrolment, and are enrolling in a course of primary education; and
  • certain categories of students aged 18 or over who are enrolling in or completing an accredited senior secondary course.

These decisions can be made by the principal without further approval.

Exceptions to the minimum age requirements

A child who is aged less than 5 years old at 30 April of the year of enrolment may enrol in or attend a Government school for the purposes of attending: 

  • short-term prep transition programs in primary schools that prepare pre-schoolers for primary school
  • Early Education Programs in special developmental schools (as approved by the Minister).

A child who is aged five years or over by 30 April of the year of enrolment may enrol in or attend a Government school if they are enrolling in or attending a:

  • course of primary education
  • course approved by the Minister
  • preschool program conducted on Government school premises.

Exceptions to the maximum age requirements

Exceptions apply to individuals who:

  • are turning 18 during the year of enrolment, if they are enrolling solely in an accredited senior secondary course, for example Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) or International Baccalaureate (IB) 
  • are turning 19 during the year of enrolment, if they are enrolling solely for the purpose of  completing an accredited senior secondary course in that year, i.e. they are expected to successfully complete their course in the year of enrolment based on current assessment information and course plan 
  • are 20 years of age or over at any time during the year of enrolment, and satisfy each of the following criteria:
    • enrolled only in an accredited senior secondary course
    • enrolled or seeking enrolment in a school outside the metropolitan area
    • there is no TAFE or other provider through which the person could reasonably study the course by correspondence or other method
    • there is no TAFE or other provider offering an accredited senior secondary course within 45 minutes travelling time from the school if using public transport, or a school bus in the case of travel to a non-government school 
  • are enrolling in an English language government school or centre, if the student is seeking to continue his/her enrolment in the year in which he or she turns 18 years of age and in the following year, solely for the purpose of completing the program 
  • have had their schooling temporarily interrupted in the previous school year, due to pregnancy, illness, an accident or other event, and require an extra year to complete an accredited senior secondary course 
  • seeking to enrol in any of the following approved programs:
    • Distance Education Centre of Victoria programs not subject to regional office approval
    • programs designed to re-engage people in the education process, such as initiatives targeting young mothers
    • programs specifically designed for students aged 18 or over
    • senior extension VCAL or VCAL senior extension courses
    • mainstream school programs designed for refugees or those who have recently arrived in Australia
    • any other mainstream school program designed to assist disadvantaged groups or students at risk of not completing an accredited senior secondary course.

Educational programs not subject to the age requirements

The age requirements set out in the Regulations do not apply to individuals who will attend programs conducted at a Government school:

  • outside school hours
  • by Registered Training Organisations or other bodies that are separate from the school.

Principals are responsible for assessing whether a person seeking enrolment falls within the scope of an exception to the standard age requirements.  If the person meets the exception criteria the person automatically meets the age eligibility requirements for enrolment. The principal cannot refuse to enrol the person solely on the basis of their age.

Exemptions from the age requirements

The Minister or (if the Minister has delegated power) a Regional Director may grant an individual an exemption from the minimum and maximum age regulations in limited circumstances.

An individual is eligible to apply for an exemption if they meet the criteria set out below.  Eligibility does not guarantee that an exemption will be granted. 

Exemptions from the minimum and maximum age requirements are the exception rather than the norm. This should be taken into account when considering enrolment decisions, such as beginning school, transitioning from primary to secondary school and planning for completing school or moving to other available settings.

Schools may not always be the most appropriate place for some children or young people. There are a range of age appropriate settings available for children and young people, whether they may be early childhood services and settings or adult education options.

It is important that when considering applications for exemption from the age requirements a balance needs to be struck between the best interests of the child or young person and that of other students. This balance must be found for individual cases and circumstances, while also ensuring that the exemption process is consistently and fairly applied.

The following arrangements apply to enrolments that can be assessed and endorsed by principals but require relevant regional director approval.

Early age entry

Where a student is younger than 5 years of age on 30 April in the year of enrolment and does not meet one of the exceptions listed above, an exemption from the minimum age requirements is required.

Early age entry or exemption from the minimum age requirements must be:

  • requested in writing to the school by parent/guardians
  • considered by the principal, who must make a written recommendation for consideration by  the regional director
  • forwarded to the relevant regional director, with all supporting documentation attached, via email
  • assessed by the regional director, who must consider eligibility, the principal’s recommendation and all other relevant circumstances, and make a decision regarding the application
  • approved or not approved in writing by the relevant regional director. The regional office should notify both the parent and school of the decision in a timely manner.

To be eligible for an exemption from the minimum age requirements a student must meet the following criteria:

  • the person requires extra support or assistance, or possesses suitable academic ability; and
  • it is in the person’s best interests to be enrolled at or attend a Government school.

It is Department policy that applications will generally not be approved unless an applicant is:

  • at least 4 years 6 months of age on or before 30 April in the year of school commencement and considered at risk of long-term educational disadvantage by a childcare, kindergarten, allied health or other relevant professional if they do not commence at school. This is the main ‘best interest’ consideration.
  • applying on the basis of suitable academic ability, where the applicant is either:
    • assessed as  ≥ 130 Full Scale IQ (2 standard deviations, or more above the mean), preferably using the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, Fourth Edition, Australian and New Zealand (WPPS-IV A&NZ), including the 10 sub-tests required to calculate the Full Scale score and Primary Index Scales, conducted after the child has attained the age of 4-0 years; or:
    • transferring from another state or jurisdiction after a minimum of one term enrolment and attendance in the other jurisdiction, and there is evidence of the student’s satisfactory progress at school in the other jurisdiction.

For further information and the application form, see:

Maximum age exemption

A student aged over 18 years of age at any time during the year of enrolment who does not meet one of the exceptions listed above may only enrol in or attend a government school if they are granted an exemption from the age requirements.

Exemption from the maximum age requirements must be:

  • requested in writing to the school by parent/guardians or young person
  • considered by the principal, who must make a written recommendation for consideration by  the regional director
  • forwarded to the relevant regional director, with all supporting documentation attached, via email
  • assessed by the regional director, who must consider eligibility, the principal’s recommendation and all other relevant circumstances, and make a decision regarding the application
  • approved or not approved in writing by the relevant regional director. The regional office should notify both the parent and school of the decision in a timely manner.

A student is eligible for an exemption from the maximum age requirements if they meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • the person, due to circumstances of a temporary nature beyond that person’s control or lack of educational facilities, has been unable to complete Year 10 before turning 18 and will be under 20 years of age on 31 December in the year of completing year 10 if the exemption is granted
  • the exemption will enable the person to participate in a specific course or program approved by the Minister
  • it would be unreasonable in the circumstances not to grant the exemption
  • the person is enrolling in an English language Government school or program or an intensive English language program offered by a Government school, and the Minister considers that it is in the person’s best interests to enrol in that program or school.

It is Department policy that an exemption from the maximum age requirements will generally not be granted unless the person:

  • has previously been enrolled in and attended the school in the last 12 months
  • is expected to complete school in the exemption period based on their current or proposed course information and assessment; or
  • has a clear transition plan that has been agreed to by the young person and/or their parent/guardian; and
  • poses no or minimal risks to other students through their attendance at the school;
  • has no other age-appropriate setting or option available for an equivalent course of study i.e. no other age appropriate setting within 50 kilometres of the student’s home and online study is inappropriate.

For further information and the application form, see:

When considering an application for exemption from the age requirements and gathering the supporting documentation, Principals should consider the following:

  • best interests - which includes the child or young person’s academic, social and emotional needs, aspirations and abilities
  • age-appropriate settings or options  - age-appropriate settings for the student that take into consideration the student’s aspirations, abilities and needs, such as relevant adult education settings
  • online study - may be inappropriate if the student does not have reliable access to the required technologies to undertake the course, will not meet the prerequisite requirements for enrolment, and/or does not possess the required English language proficiency
  • accredited senior secondary course - includes Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) or International Baccalaureate (IB)
  • complete school  - means that if the student successfully completes the requirements of their current enrolment/course plan/units in which they are enrolled, they will have successfully completed the requirements of the accredited senior secondary course in which they are enrolled, and they are expected to do so in the year of enrolment.

Information required for enrolment

Enrolment forms are available on CASES21 and must be completed for students enrolling in a Victorian government school for the first time.​ Enrolment forms must include:​

  • date of birth (note: evidence of date of birth can be official, such as a birth certificate or where this is not able to be produced, unofficial, such as a doctor’s note attesting to a child’s age).
  • names and addresses of the student and enrolling parent or guardian
  • details of medical and other conditions that may require special consideration
  • emergency telephone numbers, including a nominated doctor.
  • the name of the previous school and the student's current year level, where students transfer from another school. Note: For students transferring from another Victorian government school, data can be imported using CASES21 (mandatory from July 2017) see Transfers​.​

The table below outlines further information required for admission.​  

Further RequirementsDescription
Consent

The signature of:

  • student, if they are over 15 and living independently
  • parent as defined in the Family Law Act 1975
    Note: In the absence of a current court order, each parent of a child who is not 18 has equal parental responsibility.
  • both parents for parents who are separated, or a copy of the court order with any impact on the relationship between the family and the school
  • an informal carer, with a statutory declaration. Carers:
        - may be a relative or other carer
        - have day-to-day care of the student with the student regularly living with them
        - may provide any other consent required e.g. excursions.

 Notes for informal carer:

  • statutory declarations apply for 12 months
  • the wishes of a parent prevail in the event of a dispute between a parent legally responsible for a student and an informal carer.

Note: Secondary students may complete parts of the form and co-sign.

Where consent is disputed

When (parent) consent is disputed principals and staff should:

  • avoid becoming involved
  • avoid favouring one parent
  • act in accordance at all times with the best interests of the student and the school community
  • act sensitively and realise that a resolution, satisfactory to both parents, may not be possible.

For more information on enrolment where there is disputed parental consent, see: Decision Making Responsibilities for Students

Student identification and name 

For applicants who are:

  • Australian-born, a birth certificate or equivalent
  • non-Australian-born, a passport or travel document such as a visa or Immicard.
Immunisation status certificates - primary students

Schools are required to:

  • request information from parents on the immunisation status of each child, i.e. primary student, prior to enrolment i.e. official immunisation status certificate.  The immunisation status certificate can be obtained from the local municipal council, Australian Childhood Immunisation Register or General Practitioner.
  • take a copy of the sighted document and record information on the immunisation status of each enrolled child.

Parents or guardians must provide an immunisation status certificate to the school regardless of whether the child is or is not immunised. Note: Homeopathic immunisation is not a recognised form of immunisation, and therefore cannot be listed on an immunisation status certificate.

Prospective students will not be prevented from enrolling in primary school if they have not been immunised.

Collecting immunisation status certificates will assist health authorities in protecting students in the event of a vaccine-preventable disease occurrence at the school.  An unvaccinated student may be excluded from school for a period of time.

Parents or guardians of secondary student applicants are not required to provide an immunisation status certificate.

For more information on:

Incomplete student information

This table outlines the principal’s options when student information is incomplete.

The principal mayprovided that the principal

defer admission of a student for up to 5 days

  • requests that the parent or guardian provide the missing information
  • advises the parent or guardian they are legally responsible for ensuring a child of school age attends school.

conditionally enrol the student:

  • if the information is not provided after 5 days and
  • further delay in enrolling the student is likely to affect the student’s education and wellbeing.
  • records the conditions; and 
  • advises the parents or guardians in writing that the ​enrolment is conditional upon providing the missing information and will only be formally completed when these conditions are met.

Related policies

Related legislation

  • Education and Training Reform Act 2006
  • Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017
  • Family Law Act 1975
  • Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008
  • Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009

Department resources

Other resources

For more information see: