How to choose a school and enrol

​​​​​Your child will usually go to the government school closest to where you live.

You can also choose to send your child to a:

  • different government school if they have places available
  • Catholic or independent school. Learn about the different types of school.

You can search online for schools in your area.

Think about your family's needs

Ask yourself these questions when choosing a school:

  • How far do you want to travel and is the school reasonably close to home or work?
  • Will the school be able to cater for your child’s needs and interests?
  • What facilities do they offer and are you comfortable with the ‘feel’ of the school?
  • Will the teachers and the school curriculum support your child’s development, including social, emotional, physical and cognitive needs?
  • Does the school’s policy on homework and discipline reflect your own values and expectations?
  • Does the school work in partnership with families?

Visit your local school

Visit your local school and any others you're considering before you enrol your child. Contact them before your child is due to start to allow time to visit a number of prospective schools.

Staff can provide tours, classroom visits and information about their school. Most schools welcome enquiries and will organise a time for you and your child to visit.

Many schools also run an orientation day in early December. These days let you meet teachers and see the classrooms.

If they live in the area, family and friends can also be a good source of information about what a school is like.

Consider asking these questions:

  • Are there places available?
  • What are the fees? Are there any other costs above these fees?
  • What educational programs are offered?
  • What are the school’s values?
  • How does the school support children with additional needs?
  • What is the process if my child is unwell, upset, or unsettled?

When to enrol

When to enrol in primary school

To start primary school your child will need to turn five years old by 30 April in the year that they start school.

Your child must be at school in the year that they turn six years of age. This is the compulsory school starting age.

You can enrol your child in a Victorian government primary school at any time during the year. It’s good to plan ahead: many Victorian government primary schools start taking enrolments as early as May the year before your child is due to start school.

When to enrol in secondary school

If your child is in year 6, the coordinator at the school will give you information on enrolling in secondary school. See moving from year 6 to 7 information below.

If you need to enrol at a different time, contact the secondary school.

How to enrol

You need to fill out an enrolment form at that school and provide the school with important information about your child, including:

  • evidence of your child’s date of birth (birth certificate, or, if they were not born in Australia, a passport or travel document such as a visa)
  • your contact, phone and address details, and that of any other parent, guardian and/or carer
  • names and contact details of emergency contacts
  • doctor’s and dentist’s names and phone numbers
  • Immunisation Status Certificate
  • health and welfare information
  • information about the languages your child speaks and hears at home
  • details of any parenting orders or legal matters to do with the care or safety of your child (service providers are obliged to keep your information private)
  • if your child will be attending out of hours school care. If they are, a separate enrolment and bookings will need to be made for the days they will attend
  • if you have concerns about your child’s enrolment, you can make a friendly phone call to follow up.

Enrolment forms are available at each school. If you need an interpreter to help fill out the enrolment form, the school staff can help organise this for you.

Moving from year 6 to 7

The year 6 coordinator at your school will give you:

  • an application form for year 7 placement
  • a list of schools offering year 7.

This generally happens from March onwards.

Decide which school you want your child to go to for year 7, then complete the form and return it to the year 6 coordinator.

Year 7 placement is decided by secondary schools. However, all communication about placement must be with the year 6 coordinator until the placement is confirmed.

Health questionnaire

When your child starts primary school the school will ask you to fill in the school entrant health questionnaire.

Some of the questions are about your child's vision. You will be asked if your child has had their vision screened: either the Melbourne initial screening test or a vision screening performed by your doctor.

Get advice

If you have questions, speak to your child's school.

You can also read tips for starting school.