Eligibility for accreditation

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 a minimum of 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 applying for accreditation.

(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.

(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 for each language.

(e) All staff and volunteers, including all school committee members, must have a current Working with Children Check or Victorian Institute of Teaching 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 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. New schools seeking accreditation are required to have in place appropriate Child Safe Standard 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:

• Commission for Children and Young People
• Community Languages Victoria (formerly called Ethnic Schools’ Association of Victoria)
• Department of Education and Training

For additional assistance with Child Safe policies and procedures, contact the CLV (ESAV) Child Safe and Compliance Officer at: erjaei.neda@communitylanguages.org.au

(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.

Refusal or revocation of accreditation

The Department reserves the right to deny an application for accreditation, or revoke existing accreditation where:

(a) The community language school does not meet or maintain the eligibility requirements for accreditation or funding as set out in this document.

(b) The community language school does not provide a language program for two consecutive years. To regain accreditation the school is required to apply as a new school.

(c)  The community language school commits any act or does anything that is contrary to prevailing community standards, or is otherwise regarded by the public as unacceptable, or that brings the reputation of the Department into disrepute, and as a consequence the Department believes that its association with the community language school would be prejudicial or otherwise detrimental to the reputation of the Department.

(d) 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).

Student eligibility

Per capita funding is granted on behalf of each eligible student enrolled in, and regularly attending accredited campuses of a community language school. For 2019 the deemed enrolment date is 25 March 2019 with students expected to attend classes regularly for the full year.

To claim per capita funding, community language schools must provide the Department with accurate student enrolment data for each eligible student in the form of an Excel spreadsheet. (Instructions for this process will be provided separately at the beginning of each year of the 2019–2021 funding cycle.)

The Department will fund:

  • School-aged students (i.e. Prep – Year 12, between 5-18 years).
  • Students who are Australian or New Zealand citizens, permanent residents or hold temporary visas (other than full fee paying international students on visa subclass 500).
  • Students whose enrolment details can be matched with a Victorian Student Number (VSN).
  • Students who are home-schooled and have a letter from the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) confirming their registration for home-schooling in 2019.

The Department will not fund:

  • Pre-school children or adult students.
  • 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.
  • Students who are no longer attending the school and/or have withdrawn from the school.

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

Use of program funding

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

  • teacher salaries;
  • costs associated with classroom facilities e.g. rent, heating, lighting and cleaning;
  • offsetting student enrolment fees;
  • professional development activities for teachers;
  • purchase of language curriculum resources; and
  • purchase of equipment to support the language program e.g. audio-visual equipment, computers, computer hardware and software etc.

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 buildings; and
  • activities that orient or 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 and the appropriate use of government funds, the Department conducts annual compliance audits of community language schools. Community language schools selected for audit are notified of the audit process in advance.

For accountability and audit purposes, community language schools must keep student enrolment forms, school accreditation documentation and financial records on file, and provide them for any audit requested.