School boarding premises FAQs

We prepared these frequently asked questions (FAQs) based on consultation with schools and other key stakeholders. They contain important information about school boarding premises regulation commencing 18 June 2021.

What standards will school boarding premises be required to meet?

They will be 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 some other requirements set out in the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017.

The VRQA's Guidelines to the Minimum Standards and Requirements for School Boarding Premises Registration (the Guidelines) will provide guidance on how to demonstrate compliance with the 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.

Will existing school boarding premises have to apply for registration?

No. Existing premises will be registered once they complete a simple two-step deeming process.

What is the deeming process?

The deeming process provides existing school boarding premises a simpler pathway to registration.

It means if your school boarding premises was in operation immediately before 18 June 2021 it will be automatically registered from 18 June 2021, provided you complete a two-step deeming process.

You need to complete the deeming process to confirm your registration before 18 September 2021.

How do I participate in the deeming process?

First you need to determine if your school boarding premises will be required to be registered. To receive an indication, see:

If you determine you need to be registered, email us to request the pre-deeming form:

You will then have until 18 September 2021 to complete the two-step deeming process, involving a:

  1. self-assessment
  2. statutory declaration

What is involved in the self-assessment and the statutory declaration?

For the self-assessment, schools and non-school providers that operate a school boarding premises will be able to assess themselves as either:

  • compliant
  • not compliant
  • working towards compliance.

You do not have to declare your school boarding premises is fully compliant at that point in time to be deemed as registered.

For the statutory declaration, a responsible person (as explained in the Guidelines) for the school boarding premises will declare the accuracy of the self-assessment.

What happens if my school or organisation does not participate in the deeming process?

Then you will have to make an application to register your school boarding premises, which will include providing evidence that demonstrates your school boarding premises meets the minimum standards and other requirements. The VRQA will only register your school boarding premises if it meets all minimum standards and requirements.

What are the key dates?

The VRQA will commence regulating school boarding premises on 18 June 2021. On that date, the deeming process will begin and run for three months.

Schools and organisations who have completed the pre-deeming form will have until 18 September 2021 to submit their self-assessment and statutory declaration, complete the deeming process and confirm the registration of their school boarding premises.

Schools and organisations who do not complete the self-assessment and statutory declaration by 18 September 2021 will be required to make an application to the VRQA for registration.

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 will be 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. Will they all need to be registered separately?

Provided each boarding premises is owned or controlled by the same legal entity, they will 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.

Will 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 will mean 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 will need 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 will need to be registered with us. Both types of premises are also eligible for the deeming process.

When can I read the Guidelines to the school boarding minimum standards?

The Guidelines to the Minimum Standards and Requirements for the Registration of School Boarding Premises are now available, see: