1. Eligibility for (re-)accreditation of a community language school
Successful accreditation or re-accreditation is dependent upon community language schools meeting the following criteria:
(a) The community language school must demonstrate successful operation for twelve months prior to submitting an application for accreditation
Prior to applying for accreditation for the first time, a community language school must have operated successfully and independently for a minimum of 12 months. Schools will be asked to confirm this on the application form.
In addition schools are required to provide a copy of their organisation’s Certificate of Incorporation or Registration to indicate that the community language school (or the organisation which runs the school) has been incorporated or registered with the relevant body before 31 December of the year prior to submission of an application.
(b) The community language school must be not-for-profit
In order to be eligible for accreditation and therefore funding, the community language school must be not-for-profit (see the evidence section of this site).
(c) The community language school must have a minimum of ten eligible students enrolled each year
New community language schools applying for accreditation for the first time, and existing accredited community language schools seeking re-accreditation or accreditation of a new campus must have a minimum enrolment of ten school-aged students who are eligible for funding. Where enrolments drop to below ten students in any funding year, a community language school will not be eligible to apply for funding in that year.
(d) If a community language school offers more than one language, a separate application must be completed for each language
Accreditation/re-accreditation for subsequent funding from the Department is language-specific. The Department assesses each community language school’s capacity to provide a high quality language program for each language the school may offer. Therefore, if a school wishes to claim per capita funding for more than one language it must seek and be granted accreditation by the Department.
(e) All staff and volunteers, including all school committee members, must have a current Working with Children (WWCC) Check or Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) registration
Anyone engaging in ‘child-related work’ must apply for and pass the Working With Children Check under the Working with Children Act 2005. All community language school staff, volunteers and committee members, regardless of whether they have regular contact with students, must have current WWCCs or VIT registration. Copies of WWC Checks and VIT registration must be kept on file at the school.
(f) The community language school must comply with Child Safe Standards
The community language school must comply with the Victorian Child Safe Standards regulations. New schools seeking accreditation are required to have in place appropriate Child Safe Standard (CSS) policies and procedures. Each campus of a community language school must have a Child Safe Standards Officer on staff and all staff and volunteers are required to undertake Child Safe Standards training.
Additional support and resources are available:
For additional assistance with Child Safe policies and procedures, contact the ESAV Child Safe and Compliance Officer at: firstname.lastname@example.org
(g) The community language school must meet requirements for suitable premises
Each campus of the community language school must meet the requirements for ‘suitable premises’ including:
- premises, furniture and equipment are safe, clean and in good condition with adequate lighting;
- premises include adequate outdoor areas; and
- students have access to appropriate, adequate and convenient toilet facilities.
2. Circumstances in which accreditation or re-accreditation may be refused, suspended or revoked
The Department reserves the right not to accredit an organisation or to suspend or revoke an organisation’s existing accreditation where:
- the organisation commits any act or does anything that is contrary to prevailing community standards, or is otherwise regarded by the public as unacceptable or brings the reputation of the Department into disrepute and as a consequence the Department believes that continued association with the community language school will be prejudicial or otherwise detrimental to the reputation of the Department
- an officer, board member, employee, member, volunteer, subcontractor, representative or agent of the community language school:
- 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).
(b) The community language school no longer offers the language
A community language school that does not provide a language program for two consecutive years will lose its accreditation. The school must apply as a new school to regain accreditation.
(c) Failure to meet the eligibility requirements under Section 1 above
A community language school which does not meet the requirements under Section 1 above, including meeting requirements for minimum numbers of enrolled students, will not be accredited or reaccredited.
(d) Failure to complete the required documentation
A community language school which does not complete and submit the required documentation and/or satisfy the accreditation or re-accreditation requirements will not be accredited or re-accredited.
3. Eligibility for per capita funding
Once a community language school is accredited or re-accredited, it may then apply for per capita funding funding from the Department. The Department will fund:
- School-aged students (i.e. Prep – Year 12, between 5-18 years)
- Students who attend approved campuses of community language schools
- Students who are Australian citizens or permanent residents
- Students whose enrolment details can be matched with a Victorian Student Number (VSN)
- Student who are enrolled in, and regularly attending the community language school as at the end of Term 1 each year
- Students who are home-schooled (upon provision of a letter from the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) confirming their registration for home-schooling in 2018 has been provided.)
The Department will not fund:
- Pre-school children or adult students
- Students who are full-fee paying international students who attend a government or non-government school (i.e. students who hold a student visa subclass 500)
- Students who are enrolled at the Victorian School of Languages (VSL) to learn the same language
- Students who are enrolled at another community language school to learn the same language**
- Students who receive tuition or coaching for other subjects such as music and mathematics, even if the course is conducted in the community language
Note: **Where multiple community language schools seek funding for the same student to learn the same language, by default, DET will fund the school with the least students.
4. Use of program funding
Community language schools provide out-of-school-hours languages tuition that complements languages education provided by mainstream schools with a particular focus on enabling students to maintain their mother tongue or heritage language.
Funding is provided to support the teaching of languages and can be used for:
- teacher salaries;
- offsetting student enrolment fees;
- professional learning activities for teachers;
- purchase of language curriculum resources;
- purchase of equipment to support the language program, e.g. audio-visual equipment, computers, computer hardware and software etc;
- costs associated with classroom facilities e.g. heating, lighting, cleaning, rental of premises etc.
Departmental funding must not be used to support:
- political, religious and/or cultural programs that teach traditional arts, crafts, music, dance or the study of religious texts
- capital works or the purchase of furniture or buildings;
- activities designed specifically to orient recently arrived students to the Victorian education system, or to living in the Victorian community.
5. Audit Process
Once accredited, community language schools may be subject to a Departmental Compliance Audit of their organisational and administrative practices. Schools will be randomly selected for audit and will be notified if they are to be audited.