Site management

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

A well maintained, functional and aesthetic school site has a positive influence on student values, behaviour and performance.

School grounds should provide a safe, manageable, pleasant and ecologically responsible outdoor environment.

Neighbourhood amenity

Although planning permits are not required for education developments, the Department seeks to ensure that all site developments are sensitive to the rights of owners whose properties adjoin a school.

Vehicular access

Barwon Valley outdoor area

Vehicular access to school sites is usually restricted to staff and occasional visitors as well as delivery vehicles, buses and, if required, ambulances and fire-engines.

Schools with a large proportion of students bussed to and from the site each day must ensure student safety. To this end (and in conjunction with local government and/or VicRoads), the Department may contribute to projects that ensure student and staff safety on roads surrounding school sites.

Landscaping and shading

Landscaping combines planting and plant maintenance with amenities for outdoor activities.

Due to Australia's high skin cancer rates, sun protection is an important health and safety issue for staff and students alike. When planning for shade, refer to Shade for Everyone: a Practical Guide for Shade Development. Phone SunSmart on (03) 9635 5148 for a free copy, or see Sunsmart

Landscaping for bushfire prone areas

Outdoor learning areas are an important part of the school environment. Creating outdoor environments that support learning and provide enjoyable social spaces requires thoughtful landscaping solutions, particularly in bushfire prone areas.

Bushfires are a natural and challenging feature of the Victorian landscape. Well planned and managed vegetation, however, can provide many benefits in fire-prone areas. It can:

  • reduce fire intensity
  • reduce wind speed
  • deflect and filter embers (small particles of burning material and other burning debris)
  • provide shelter from radiant heat

In contributing to the design of safer school environments, the Department has developed Landscaping Guidelines for Bushfire Prone Areas. These guidelines are designed to support school principals and childcare directors with their site bushfire preparations.

For more information, see: Landscaping for Bushfire Prone Areas (pdf - 289.66kb)

Playground equipment

Children on Roxburgh school playground

Only approved playground equipment can be erected in school grounds. In general this includes sandpits, slides, horizontal and vertical ladders, gymnastic combinations, climbing nets and frames, and fixed climbing ropes. Seesaws, swings, maypoles, merry-go-rounds, roundabouts, and flying foxes are not approved. To assist with the development of such facilities, the Department has produced a set of guidelines for school playgrounds.

For more information, see:

Additional information on playground design and construction can be found at Play Australia

Swimming pools

Swimming pools on school sites must comply with state building regulations. Once installed, pools must be properly cleaned and maintained in a safe state. Most importantly, students must be supervised at all times.

For more information, see: Victorian Building Authority