Registering an independent school

What you need to know

Extensive planning is required to open a new school. You should expect to spend a minimum of 18 months preparing your application for registration.

Before getting started, familiarise yourself with the minimum standards for registration and other requirements. You will need to show in your application how your school meets them.

The minimum standards cover the essential elements of an effective school:

  • good governance
  • strong financial management
  • effective curriculum
  • sound teaching practice
  • a safe environment for children.

Applicants for school registration use our guidelines to the minimum standards to prepare their application.

Be prepared to meet extra requirements if planning to offer the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL), the International Baccalaureate Diploma, or any part of these accredited senior secondary courses.

For information relevant to your application, see:

Dates and timelines

For information about important dates in the registration process, including application closing dates, see:

Pre-application information sessions

We run pre-application information sessions to explain the requirements and process for registering a new independent school. You can watch videos for each part of the 2023 briefing  session and download a copy of the slide presentation.

New School Registration Briefing 2023

Download the slide presentation from the VRQA New School Registration Briefing 2023 (pptx - 11.98mb).

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Pre-application meetings

Before submitting your application, we also recommend you meet with one of our senior officers to discuss your proposal. This is a free service offered to all applicants.

Though not compulsory, a pre-application meeting can:

  • clarify the registration process
  • identify potential issues early in the planning process​
  • save you time in putting your application together
  • help you prepare a better application
  • help avoid delays in the assessment and decision-making processes.

Email us to request a meeting, with ‘Request for a pre-application meeting’ in the subject line:

Please tell us:

  • your full name and contact details
  • the name, position and responsibility of any other persons who will be attending the meeting
  • the name and location of the proposed school.

One of our officers will contact you to arrange a convenient time to meet.

The pre-application meeting is a chance for you to present your proposal and receive feedback. You should decide who is the best person or people to talk about your plans.

You may wish to bring along site plans, photographs, draft marketing documents, or any other material that explains what you plan to do. 

Readiness tool for new school application

Our school registration readiness tool will help you:

  • self-assess your readiness to apply
  • consider the tips provided
  • identify areas for improvement.

To download the tool, see:

Application form

Please make sure your application is clear and well-organised. Incomplete or poor-quality applications will be returned.

As part of your application you will need to fill in additional forms. These forms are available in the application form or to download separately, see:

For more information about the application form, see:

Application fee

A non-refundable fee applies to all applications. You can pay the fee online by credit card (Mastercard or Visa), BPAY or by Post Billpay.

To view the current fee or pay online, see:

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Submitting your application

Collate your evidence into a portfolio and submit an electronic copy to the VRQA Schools inbox as a zip file at:

Once we receive your complete application, we will email you an invoice for the application fee by way of acknowledgment. 

Assessing your application

Once the application fee has been paid, your application will be assessed against the minimum standards for registration. We may ask you for additional information.

You will be asked to attend a formal interview. We will try to arrange this within 4–6 weeks of you applying.

Written feedback may be given following the interview, as well as one opportunity to re-submit any documentation found to be insufficient. 

​Outcome of application

We will contact you when a decision on your application has been made. If registration is granted, a certificate of registration will be issued, and the school will be added to the State Register.

We will not grant registration unless satisfied that your school complies with the prescribed minimum standards and other requirements. 


A person whose interests are affected by a decision not to grant registration can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to review the decision. The application to VCAT must be made within 28 days of:

  • the day on which the VRQA makes a decision; or
  • the day on which a statement of reasons is provided (if requested); or
  • the day on which the VRQA informs the applicant that a statement of reasons will not be given (if requested).​