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Notice 189

Notice to Schools 189/2020 – 9 December 2020

Students seeking EAL status for Units 3–4

Principals/Directors, VCE Coordinators and Teachers of VCE English and VCE English as an Additional Language

For students who are unfamiliar with the English language because they are from non-English-speaking backgrounds or who are hearing impaired, schools are reminded of the EAL eligibility and approval processes in the VCE and VCAL Administrative Handbook (pages 57-59).

Students from a non-English-speaking background may be eligible for EAL status if they meet two criteria.

For Criterion 1, the student must fit one of the following:

  • On the first day of the calendar year, the student must not have been a resident in Australia or New Zealand or other predominantly English-speaking country for more than seven years. The period of seven years is to be calculated cumulatively over the student’s whole life. The calculation of time spent in Australia is made from the date of last arrival plus any previous periods of time spent in Australia or any predominantly English-speaking country. This calculation of time should not include time spent out of Australia during school vacations.
  • The student is an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person whose first language is not English.

For Criterion 2, the student must fit the following:

  • English has been the student’s major language of instruction for a total period of not more than seven years over the period of their education. Schools must sight the student’s overseas school reports to confirm that the language of instruction was not English during this period.

There are special circumstances that may be considered by the VCAA in determining a student from a non-English-speaking background’s eligibility for EAL status, including:

  • minimal or no primary school education
  • material interruptions to schooling during primary years, particularly if there were changes to the language of instruction
  • material interruptions to schooling after arrival in Australia.

If a determination is sought from the VCAA on a student’s eligibility for EAL then the completed Application for Enrolment in English as an Additional Language Units 3 and 4 form, together with all supporting documentation, must be forwarded to the Student Records and Results Unit as soon as possible.

Action required

Principals/Directors should ensure that all VCE English and EAL teachers are reminded of this information.

Critical dates


Additional information

For enquiries, contact Connie Todorovski, Student Records and Results: