Enrolment procedures

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As early as you can, make sure you are aware of the procedures and timelines for enrolment in your child’s new school, and when to start planning your child’s supports in their new school.

On this page:

Here we briefly describe the enrolment procedures for government primary and secondary schools, both mainstream and specialist. Independent and Catholic schools have their own application and enrolment procedures; many (both specialist and mainstream) also have waiting lists.

  • Read more about school choices and entry criteria in the Catholic and independent sectors. Or for more information about waiting lists and enrolment procedures, ask the school you are interested in.

Enrolment in government primary schools

Enrolments are made directly with the school. You can enrol your child in a government primary school at any time of the year, but enrolments for children starting prep will be due by a particular date the year prior. Ask the school.

It’s important to meet the principal well before enrolment  so they can begin the process of planning your child’s learning and supports, and applying for any relevant funding (see below). Starting this process early is crucial if building modifications are needed.

To enrol, you need: evidence of your child’s birth date, your contact details and those of any other parents or carers, the names and details for emergency contact people, your child’s doctor’s and dentist’s names and phone numbers, an immunisation status certificate, health and welfare information, and information about the language/s your child speaks and hears at home. If you need an interpreter to help you fill in the forms, the school can organise one.

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Enrolment in government secondary schools

Students in grade 6 are eligible to enrol in secondary school the following year. Government secondary schools do not have waiting lists, so you cannot register your child’s name years in advance, as you can with many independent and Catholic schools.

In the first half of your child’s grade 6 year, their primary school will provide a secondary school preference form; you must fill this in – naming your three preferred schools – for your child to be offered a place in a government secondary school. This applies to both mainstream and specialist schools. If you choose dual enrolment, you must start negotiating this very early with both schools, and complete the enrolment procedures for both as required.

Final confirmation of your child’s enrolment at secondary school will be subject to submission of their preference form, and (if your child is on the PSD at funding Levels 1 to 4) on the outcome of your child’s Year 6–7 Review. This is a lengthy process to determine the level of PSD funding your child’s secondary school will receive to help support them.

You should also communicate with your preferred school as early as possible (before submitting the preference form, if possible), so they can begin planning to meet your child’s needs.

Your child’s primary school will inform you late in Grade 6 (usually around August) which government secondary school has offered a place to your child. Sometimes zoned schools have second round offers, which are made as the schools sort through how many first round acceptances they receive. The secondary school will send enrolment papers and other information to you.

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What if your child is not offered a place in your preferred school?

No school should decline to accept your child’s enrolment due to perceived ‘difficulties’ associated with their disability, if your child meets all the school’s enrolment criteria. If your child is not offered a place by your nominated primary or secondary school but the reasons are unclear, first speak to the principal or enrolment officer. Ask them to send you, in writing, the reasons for the decision not to offer your child a place.

If you want to challenge the school’s decision, you can seek support by contacting the relevant DET regional office and speaking to the Community Liaison Officer. You can also seek information, support and advocacy from the Association for Children with a Disability (ACD) or another disability advocacy service.

Read more about entry criteria for government schools, including your child’s right to a place in their designated local mainstream school or appropriate specialist school.

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