Home » Eligibility


This information applies to the application round for funding in 2022, which has now closed. Updated information will be provided shortly.

CLS must meet the following criteria to be accredited:

(a) Be incorporated under one of the following:

  • Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)
  • Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012 (Vic)
  • Co-operatives National Law Application Act 2013 (Cth)
  • Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth)
  • Royal Charter or Statute.

This requirement was introduced in July 2019 for organisations that receive government funding to provide services to children

(b) Have operated for at least 12 months before submitting an application for accreditation

The CLS must have operated successfully and independently for a minimum of 12 months before applying for accreditation. Accreditation (and funding) is based on face-to-face delivery of the language program, except in extenuating circumstances.

(c) Be not-for-profit

The CLS must be not-for-profit.

(d) Have a minimum of ten eligible school-aged students enrolled each year

The CLS must have a minimum enrolment of ten school-aged students who are eligible for funding.

(e) Provide a minimum of 2.5 hours of instruction for approximately 40 weeks

The CLS must deliver a language program to each student for a minimum of 2.5 hours per week for approximately 40 weeks per year.

(f) Have current Working with Children (WWC) Checks or Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) registrations for all staff, volunteers, and committee members

Anyone engaging in ‘child-related work’ must apply for and pass the WWC Check under the Working with Children Act 2005 (Vic). All CLS staff, volunteers and committee members, regardless of whether they have regular contact with students, must have current WWC Checks or VIT registration. Copies of WWC Checks and VIT registration must be kept on file at the school.

(g) Comply with Child Safe Standards

The CLS must have in place appropriate Child Safe Standard policies and procedures.

All CLS must comply with the Child Safe Standards which aim to prevent abuse of children and help children feel safe and be safe. Responsibility for child safety should be understood and accepted by everyone at the CLS.

Every CLS and campus must have:

  • strategies to embed a school culture of child safety, including through effective leadership
  • a child safe policy
  • a code of conduct with clear expectations for appropriate behaviour with children
  • screening, supervision, training, and other practices that reduce the risk of child abuse by new and existing personnel
  • processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse
  • strategies to identify and reduce or remove risks of child abuse
  • strategies to promote the participation and empowerment of children.

Each campus of a CLS must have a Child Safe Standards Officer on staff and all staff, volunteers and committee members are required to undertake Child Safe Standards training on commencement and every two years to ensure child safety remains a high priority. In addition, all individual staff, volunteers and committee members must sign a Code of Conduct annually.

(h) Meet requirements for suitable premises

Each CLS campus must meet the requirements for ‘suitable premises’ including:

  • premises, furniture and equipment are safe, clean and in good condition with adequate lighting
  • premises, furniture and equipment are appropriate for the age of the student cohort
  • students have access to a recreational space
  • students have access to appropriate, adequate and convenient toilet facilities
  • premise includes safe drop-off and pick-up access
  • where the facilities are shared with other occupants, classes are conducted in separate, dedicated spaces.

Some examples of ‘suitable premises’ may include:

  • Mainstream government or non-government schools
  • Community centres or council halls
  • Sports and recreational centres
  • Religious centres.

The following types of premises are generally not considered appropriate:

  • Private homes
  • Offices, rooms or shops located in industrial parks or shopping centres
  • Co-shared spaces where the classes cannot be kept separate from other occupants.

The Department and/or CLV may conduct site visits to confirm suitability

Refusal or cancellation of accreditation

The Department may deny an application for accreditation, or cancel existing accreditation where:

  1. The CLS does not meet or maintain the eligibility requirements as set out in this Guide.
  2. The CLS does not provide a language program for two consecutive years. To regain accreditation the school will need to apply as a new CLS.
  3. The CLS commits acts regarded by the public as unacceptable or that brings the reputation of the Department into disrepute.
  4. An officer, board member, employee, member, volunteer, subcontractor, representative or agent of the CLS:
  • is not a fit and proper person, having regard to the special nature of working with children; or
  • has a conviction or findings of guilt for a sexual offence; or
  • is convicted of a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment; or
  • denigrates, offends or instils hatred for particular group(s), language(s) and culture(s).

Eligibility criteria for school-aged students

Per capita funding is granted on behalf of each eligible school-aged student enrolled in, and regularly attending accredited campuses of a CLS. CLS must have a minimum of ten students enrolled to apply for funding in any given funding year.

The Department will fund:

  • School-aged students (i.e. Prep – Year 12, between 5-18 years)
  • Students who are currently attending a mainstream school
  • Students whose enrolment details can be matched with a Victorian Student Number (VSN)
  • Students who are Australian or New Zealand citizens, permanent residents or hold temporary visas
  • Students who are home-schooled and have a letter from the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) confirming their registration for home-schooling.

The Department will not fund:

  • Pre-school children (other than where approved for preschool-aged funding – see below)
  • Students who cannot be matched to a VSN, including mature-aged students
  • Students who are enrolled in the fee-paying international student program in any Victorian mainstream school
  • Students who are enrolled at the Victorian School of Languages (VSL) to learn the same language
  • Students who are enrolled at another CLS to learn the same language**
  • Students who are no longer attending the CLS and/or have withdrawn from the CLS.

**Where multiple CLS seek funding for the same student to learn the same language, the Department will fund the CLS with the least enrolments.

Use of program funding

Funding is provided to CLS to support the teaching of languages and can be used for:

  • teacher salaries (including volunteer honorariums and allowances)
  • offsetting student enrolment fees
  • professional development activities for teachers
  • language curriculum resources
  • stationery, printing and photocopying
  • costs associated with accounting, bookkeeping and development of marketing materials
  • costs associated with classroom facilities e.g. rent, heating, lighting and cleaning
  • purchase of equipment to support the language program e.g. audio-visual equipment, computers, computer hardware and software etc.

Funding must not be used for:

  • political and religious programs that teach the study of religious texts
  • festivals and celebrations
  • food and catering
  • prizes and awards
  • capital works (including building maintenance or repairs), or the purchase of buildings
  • purchase or maintenance of vehicles
  • public liability insurance
  • land tax
  • student and/or staff uniforms
  • activities that support recently arrived students to the Victorian education system, or to living in the Victorian community.

Audits and record keeping

To ensure the integrity of the Community Language Schools Funding Program, the Department conducts annual compliance and/or financial audits of a selected number of CLS. CLS selected for audit are notified of the audit process in advance and are expected to make all required documents readily available to the auditors on the day of the audit.

For accountability and audit purposes, CLS must keep student enrolment forms, student progress reports and attendance records, accreditation documentation and financial records on file for seven years and provide them for any audit requested. Where necessary, the Department may take copies of documentation for further review.