🌟 School Zones: Parents rights and school enrolment pressures

Jurisdiction: Victoria

In Victoria, all children are entitled to be enrolled at their designated neighbourhood school as a right under the legislation. How can we help parents understand their rights and schools manage their enrolment pressure?

In Victoria, all children are entitled to be enrolled at their designated neighbourhood school as a right under the legislation. Designated neighbourhood schools are generally the public school within closest proximity to the student’s permanent residential address, unless the Minister for Education or Regional Director has restricted the zone of the school.
For children residing in metropolitan areas, Ballarat, Bendigo or Geelong, the designated neighbourhood school is usually the nearest public school in a straight line from your child’s permanent residential address. In any other area of Victoria, it is the nearest school by the shortest practicable route by distance.

All public primary and secondary schools, including Prep/Foundation to Year 9 and multi-campus schools have zone maps. This does not include schools with specific enrolment criteria including English Language Schools and Select Entry Schools. Specialist schools also do not have zones and have special enrolment criteria.

School zones help parents know their rights and also help schools manage their enrolment pressure. You can still request enrolment at a school that is not your designated neighbourhood school.
That school can only accept your enrolment if there is sufficient capacity at the school.

If a school has some capacity, but not enough to fit everyone from outside its zone, the school uses the Placement Policy to determine enrolments

School zones are based on proximity, in some cases zone have been adjusted in recognition of significant accessibility issues, e.g. presence of a ‘hard barrier’. Adjustments are minimised to stay consistent and transparent with the standard methodology.

Some considerations to explore:
Zones do no align current nor forecast student demand / population to school size / capacity
In metropolitan areas, zones are defined by voronoi polygons not by road connectivity or public transport options
Sometimes there is tension between adjusting a zone to population or for improved accessibility and whats fair and equitable for schools

There is an FAQ link on the findmyschool.vic.gov website that explains zones in more detail

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