Enrolment in State Primary, Secondary and Special Schools

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Implementation Date



All state schools


Education Queensland provides access to state educational opportunities to ensure that all students can participate in and gain positive outcomes from schooling across primary, secondary and special schools.

This procedure outlines the protocols for school-based staff and regional office staff to follow when enrolling prospective students in the Preparatory (Prep) year to Year 12 in state primary, secondary and special schools.​​​​​


​All eligible children and young people are entitled to 26 semesters of state education (counted from Prep) and are able to enrol in any state primary and secondary schools  unless there is an enrolment management plan in place. This means students may not be entitled to enrol unless they live within the local catchment area, or, for students from outside the local catchment area, have met eligibility criteria contained in the plan. Other conditions may also affect a prospective student’s entitlement to enrolment.

Queensland state schools offer enrolment to children of compulsory school age and to young people in the compulsory participation phase. There are specific legal obligations about enrolment and attendance that apply to parents of children of compulsory school age and young people in the compulsory participation phase. Specific provisions apply to those students who are over 18 years of age at time of enrolment.

People from the communities of Aurukun, Coen, Hopevale and Mossman Gorge may be subject to the requirements of the Families Responsibilities Commission in relation to enrolment of their children.

In certain circumstances schools may treat a student’s enrolment as having ended.

Enrolment in a State special school depends on a number of factors. The Information Notice for Enrolment is a State Special School outlines criteria to assist in determining eligibility requirements.


​Principals - State Primary, Secondary and Special Schools are responsible for providing all relevant information to parents and/or prospective students, overseeing the enrolment process, and assessing an applicant’s eligibility and school suitability for enrolment at a state special school.

Regional Directors are responsible for reviewing decisions against ineligible special school enrolment applications, making decisions regarding early entry into prep and considering temporary attendance applications at special schools for students likely to meet verification within 6 month period.

Principal Education Officer, Student Services (or delegate where appropriate) are responsible for assessing an applicant’s eligibility and school suitability for enrolment at a state special school, discussing with parents on request, available programs/services for students with disability and keeping records of meetings, completing Programs and services options when referring families to appropriate school programs/services and endorsing transport assistance on a case by case basis.

Principal Advisor, Education Services (or CEO delegated officer) is responsible for approving enrolment at a state special school and  approving transport assistance on a case-by-case basis in line with School Transport Assistance Programs for students with disability.


​Process for enrolling in any state primary, secondary or special school


Note: A Transfer Note is not required for students transferring their enrolment from one state school to another (including primary to secondary).

  • Receive and process completed Application​ for Student Enrolment form, ensuring that:
    • all questions marked with an (*) are answered;
    • any pre-populated data is checked with parents for accuracy;
    • the birth certificate is sighted and the birth certificate number is recorded on the enrolment form if first time child has enrolled in a state school. An alternative to birth certificate will be considered where it is not possible to obtain a birth certificate (e.g. child born in country without birth registration system - passport or visa documents will suffice). This does not include failure to register a birth or reluctance to order a birth certificate. For international students approved for enrolment by EQI, a passport or visa will be acceptable. The birth certificate requirement does not apply to enrolment in state high schools except where the applicant was not enrolled in a state school in their last year of primary school, or in exceptional circumstances where a birth certificate is not marked in OneSchool as having been previously sighted.
    • a copy of any relevant current Family Court or other court orders concerning the welfare, safety or parenting arrangements for prospective student is provided, if applicable;
    • satisfactory evidence and appropriate documentation that the applicant is entitled to apply for enrolment at school is provided (e.g. a positive notice issued by Education Queensland if a Mature Age Student, rates notice if school has an enrolment management plan, Australian citizenship document, Permanent Residence status or eligibility under a Visa category);
    • if the prospective student has a medical condition, details of symptoms and any associated health management plans are provided;
    • the legal name (on birth certificate) is recorded as well as the preferred name if requested. Ensure that parents nominating a preferred name for their child are made aware that the preferred name can appear on semester reports (instead of legal name) if requested but the preferred name only will be used on internal school documents such as class rolls. If a preferred name has been requested, school staff should respect this choice;
    • the form is signed by the parent if student is enrolled by parents
    • Information Notice for Enrolment in a State Special School has been approved by the CEO Delegated Officer
  • Assess applicant’s entitlement to enrolment, determine if the applicant is entitled to be enrolled at the school and advise applicant of the determination as soon as practicable.
  • Discuss with parents the appropriate year level their child is to be placed in (if from another school, interstate or overseas) and advises of their remaining allocation of state education.
  • Discuss with parents the enrolment agreement and seek signature from parents and students (if appropriate) as acknowledgement of expectations of enrolment agreement. If not signed, make a notation on enrolment agreement that information has been provided and discussed.
  • If student is enrolling from a non-state school to a state school (or vice versa), request a transfer note. If a student has moved from interstate, request consent from parents to obtain student information from the previous school using the Interstate Student Data Transfer Note.
  • Enrol prospective student if entitled to enrol (including when application for enrolment is referred back from the Director-General after determination that student is not a risk to safety and wellbeing of the school community).


  • Contact school to enquire about specific enrolment procedures. For example, school should advise whether there is an effective enrolment management plan in place at the school or an enrolment eligibility plan for Queensland Academies.
  • Complete:
  • If over 18 years of age at time of applying make an application for enrolment in accordance with Mature Age Student provisions, determining if there is a remaining allocation of state education by asking the principal of the school in which enrolment is sought
  • Acknowledge receipt and understanding of:
    • expectations of enrolment agreement (by voluntary signing);
    • Responsible Behaviour Plan for Students, Student Dress Code and other school policies, programs and services.
  • If moving from interstate or overseas to Queensland, discuss with school principal appropriate year level for child.
  • Provide relevant information to school about the child’s educational needs from other agencies or other professionals.
  • If requesting early entry into the prep year, submit an application for Early Entry into Prep Year to the Principal.
Regional Directors
  • Makes decisions regarding applications for early entry into prep, considering whether the child:
    • has started education in another State or country that is equivalent to prep; and
    • is ready for education in prep, having regard to the child's attributes (that include, the child's aptitude and ability, and social and emotional competence, and physical development)
  • Informs parents of the decision in writing, outlining the reasons for the decision
  • Provides the Principal with a copy of the documentation.

Online Resources

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​Applicant for enrolment

  • A parent of a prospective student who is under 18 years of age;
  • A child, in their own right, where the school principal believes it is in the child’s best interests to make the application;
  • A legal guardian of a prospective student who is over 18 years of age

Compulsory school age (Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (Qld) s.9)

  • A child is of compulsory school age if the child is at least 6 years and 6 months, and less than 16 years.
  • However, a child is no longer of compulsory school age if the child has completed year 10.

Compulsory participation phase
A young person's compulsory participation phase starts when s/he stops being of compulsory school age (i.e. turns 16 or completes Year 10 whichever comes first) and ends when the person:

  • gains a Senior Certificate, Certificate III or Certificate IV or
  • has participated in eligible options for 2 years after the person stopped being of compulsory school age or
  • turns 17.

Education Adjustment Program
The Education Adjustment Program (EAP) is part of the array of programs and services that are provided by the Department to support students with disability in one of six categories: autism spectrum disorder, hearing impairment, intellectual disability, physical impairment, speech-language impairment and vision impairment.

Early Childhood Development Program
Early Childhood Development Programs (ECDP) are region based resources to provide early intervention to assist children prior to Prep, which are hosted at either a primary, secondary or special school. Children register to attend an ECDP rather than enrol.

Early Entry into Prep
Early entry to prep is permitted to enable continuity of learning for children transferring across from Australia or overseas. Children who are younger than the prescribed age for prep may be enrolled in prep if they:

  • have previously started education that is equivalent to prep in another State or country; ​and
  • are considered ready for education in prep, having regard to their attributes (including ability, aptitude, social and emotional competence and physical development)
There are no exceptions to these requirements. The conditions for early entry to prep are set out in legislation, specifically Part 4, Section 15 of the ​Education (General Provisions) Regulation 2006. A program is considered to be equivalent to prep if it is full-time, school based and has a defined curriculum.

Eligible option (Education (General Provisions) Act s.232)
An eligible option is a recognised education or training program or course, offered by a recognised provider, which will enable a young person to gain a Senior Certificate and/or a Certificate III or IV. Eligible options and providers are listed in the following table:

​Eligible Option ​Provider
An educational program provided under the Education (General Provisions) Act (Qld) ​a State school
An educational program provided under the Education (Accreditation of Non-State Schools) Act 2001 (Qld) a non-State school​
A higher education course under the Higher Education (General Provisions) Act 2008 (Qld) ​a university or non-university provider
A course of vocational education and training provided under the Vocational Education, Training and Employment Act 2000 (Qld)  ​ ​ a TAFE institute or registered training organisation​
An apprenticeship or traineeship under the Vocational Education, Training and Employment Act 2000 (Qld) a registered training organisation​
A departmental employment skills development program under the Vocational Education, Training and Employment Act 2000 (Qld) the VETE chief executive​

Enrolment Agreement
A document that states the respective rights and obligations, about the education of a person at a state school, with respect to:

  • persons enrolled at the school; and
  • parents of children enrolled at the school; and
  • staff of the school.

Enrolment Eligibility Plan
A document outlining specific criteria which must be satisfied in order for an applicant to enrol in a particular school, such as the Queensland Academies. These criteria are in addition to the general enrolment requirements for state schools. For example, to be eligible for enrolment at one of the Queensland Academies, applicants must demonstrate at a minimum that they:

  • have Australian citizenship or are a child of an Australian citizen; or have permanent resident status or are the child of a permanent resident; or are eligible under a Visa category; and
  • have reached the benchmark results on the Higher Ability Selection Test; and
  • have successfully completed an interview, against the interview criteria and be able to produce documentary evidence of school-based testing at their previous school; and
  • can meet the financial commitment of the program fees at the Academy.

Enrolment Management Plan
A document stating:

  • the school's catchment area; and
  • the school's enrolment capacity for a person whose principal place of residence is outside the catchment area; and
  • the requirements for enrolment at the school to be satisfied by a person whose principal place of residence is outside the catchment area.

Local Catchment Area
The geographical area from which a school draws its principal intake of students.

Parent (Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 s.10)

(1) A parent, of a child, is any of the following persons—

(a) the child’s mother;
(b) the child’s father;
(c) a person who exercises parental responsibility for the child.

(2) However, a person standing in the place of a parent of a child on a temporary basis is not a parent of the child.
(3) A parent of an Aboriginal child includes a person who, under Aboriginal tradition, is regarded as a parent of the child.
(4) A parent of a Torres Strait Islander child includes a person who, under Island custom, is regarded as a parent of the child.
(5) Despite subsections (1), (3) and (4), if—

(a) a person is granted guardianship of a child under the Child Protection Act 1999; or
(b) a person otherwise exercises parental responsibility for a child under a decision or order of a federal court or a court of a State;

then a reference in this Act to a parent of a child is a reference only to a person mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b).

Prospective Student
A prospective student is a person who has applied to enrol at a State school but who has not yet been accepted for enrolment.

Special Education
Means the educational programs and services:

  • appropriate to the needs of persons with disability; and
  • additional to, or otherwise different from, educational programs and services generally available to persons of the relevant age who are not persons with a disability.  

Special Education Program
A school-based resource (i.e. staff and/or equipment) located at a primary or secondary school to support students with disability and assist classroom teachers in the development and delivery of the students’ educational programs. SEPs can be based at a single site or can go across multiple sites as a ‘cluster special education program’.
SEPs that are designed for children prior to Prep are referred to as early childhood development programs and can be located at a either a primary, secondary or special school.

Special Education Service
Staff and/or equipment based within the region that are provided to support the education programs of students or children with disability. Special education services for students or children with disability may include advisory visiting teachers, early special education advisory teachers, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, registered nurses, school transition officers, guidance officers and orientation and mobility teachers.

Special School
Special school means a state school only providing special education.