School boarding premises FAQs

We prepared these frequently asked questions (FAQs) based on consultation with stakeholders about school boarding premises regulation.

What standards are school boarding premises required to meet?

They are required to meet 13 minimum standards for the registration of school boarding premises (the school boarding minimum standards), set out in the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 and the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017.

The VRQA's Guidelines to the Minimum Standards and Requirements for School Boarding Premises Registration (the Boarding Guidelines) provide guidance on how to demonstrate compliance with the school boarding minimum standards and other requirements.

For more information, see:

Are the school boarding minimum standards similar to the existing school minimum standards?

Yes they are. The school boarding minimum standards align significantly with the minimum standards for registration of schools (the school minimum standards). We have outlined the degree of alignment in this table:

Schools may find many of their existing policies or procedures can be adapted or expanded to address the school boarding minimum standards. When reviewing existing school policies and procedures, schools should consider the different circumstances and risks associated with school boarding premises.

What are the key dates?

The VRQA commenced regulating school boarding premises on 18 June 2021. 

Schools and organisations with existing school boarding premises who did not participate in the deeming process are required to make an application to the VRQA for registration. 

New premises applying to register must make an application in writing no later than 30 June in the preceding year of intended commencement of operation, or any later date determined by the VRQA, or unless the VRQA considers that there are special circumstances. 

Non-government school boarding premises must notify us within 30 days of any significant changes affecting their boarding premises. 

The review process begins for registered school boarding premises in 2022.

How will the VRQA review school boarding premises?

We will review school boarding premises every five years, like we do for schools.

To help reduce the regulatory burden, we will conduct a review of your school boarding premises at the same time we conduct your school's cyclical review.

Due to different CRICOS re-approval and review timeframes it may not be possible to align CRICOS reviews with school and school boarding premises reviews.

Non-school providers will also be reviewed on a five-year cycle.

The VRQA is required to review all school boarding premises within the first three years of commencement. If your school review was scheduled for 2020 or 2021, it will have been deferred to 2022 to enable both reviews to be conducted concurrently. If your school review is scheduled for 2025, it may be brought forward.

My school or organisation has multiple boarding premises at different locations. Do they all need to be registered separately?

Provided each boarding premises is owned or controlled by the same legal entity, they do not need to be registered separately.

You can record multiple boarding sites under one boarding premises registration, much the same way schools currently do if they have multiple campuses.

Does my school and school boarding premises have to set up separate policies, procedures and governance arrangements?

For the most part, no. Schools may adapt or expand many of their existing policies, procedures and governance arrangements to address the school boarding minimum standards.

Adapting or expanding your school's existing policies, procedures and arrangements means giving proper consideration to the different responsibilities, operating environments and risks associated with school boarding premises.

The governing authority in charge of your school boarding premises needs to approve whatever policies, procedures and arrangements you put in place and confirm they are appropriate for the boarding premises and the boarding services provided there.

The alignment table provided above indicates which existing policies, procedures and arrangements schools may consider adapting or expanding to meet the school boarding minimum standards.

Do non-school providers that operate a boarding premises for school age-students have to register the premises they operate?

Yes. If the primary purpose of the boarding premises you operate is to facilitate students' enrolment or prospective enrolment at a registered school, you must register your premises with us.

For example:

  • organisations may operate boarding premises as a third-party boarding provider for schools
  • organisations may operate a boarding premises for school-age children who intend to enrol at a registered school after they have completed some form of language studies.

Both these types of premises must register with us.

When can I access the Boarding Guidelines?

You can download the Guidelines to the Minimum Standards and Requirements for School Boarding Premises Registration here: