Newly arrived students

Newly arrived students from language backgrounds other than English who meet eligibility criteria are able to access English as an Additional Language (EAL) support through new arrivals programs within the Victorian government education system. Those who meet the eligibility criteria are able to access intensive EAL tuition for between six and twelve months.

New arrivals programs are delivered to students principally through English language schools and centres in the Melbourne metropolitan area, as well as regional programs currently operating in Mildura, Geelong, and Shepparton. Outpost programs, outreach services and a virtual program delivered by a qualified EAL teacher are also available to support isolated newly arrived students.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for an intensive English language program provided by an English language school or centre, or through the Virtual New Arrivals Program, students must:

  • hold a visa that entitles them to enrol in a Victorian government school and attract SRP funding
  • speak a language other than English as their main language at home
  • have proficiency in English that is determined, at the local level by a school or English language school, to require intensive assistance to enable then to participate fully in mainstream classroom programs
  • begin at an English language school or centre or the Virtual New Arrivals Program:
    • within 18 months of arrival in Australia if entering the first year of primary schooling
    • within six months of arrival in Australia if entering any other year of schooling
  • at the time of enrolling at an English language school or centre or a Virtual New Arrivals Program, be undertaking or intending to undertake primary or secondary education at a Victorian government school as soon as practicable after completing the course.

A student who has previously been enrolled in an intensive English language program in an English language school or centre or Virtual New Arrivals Program is eligible to re-enrol only when the student:

  • was enrolled in and attended a new arrivals program in the first instance for a minimum of one term
  • has been absent for a period of two years or more
  • during the period of absence was not resident in Australia, in education in another state or territory of Australia, or enrolled in education where English was the medium of instruction.

English language schools, centres and programs

New arrivals programs currently operate through four English language schools (ELS), one in each region in a metropolitan location, four secondary English language centres (ELC) in metropolitan locations, and three regional English language programs.

For further information, see ELS and ELC

Outpost programs

An ELS may also operate outpost programs in primary schools which have high concentrations of newly arrived students who cannot access the ELS.

Through an outpost, primary teachers from an ELS are assigned to a mainstream primary school or a cluster of schools. These teachers provide an intensive program for eligible newly arrived students for whom English is an additional language.

Students are grouped according to their stage of schooling and English language needs. They receive an intensive English language program for up to five days a week. The students remain enrolled in their host school and participate in its program when not in the intensive EAL class. Locations of programs are flexible and change according to settlement patterns.

Outreach services

Newly arrived students sometimes enrol in schools which have not previously had newly arrived students, and may not be aware of how to support them. An outreach services coordinator in each of the four metropolitan ELS provides services to such schools within their regions.

Outreach services coordinators, in cooperation with schools, are available to assist teachers to assess the English language learning needs of newly arrived students. They recommend the most suitable support program available, such as attendance at an ELS/ELC or outpost.

Outreach services coordinators also provide information to schools and parents about available new arrivals programs, and ensure schools are aware of the full range of resources available to them to support newly arrived students, including materials and professional development.

Principals can obtain the assistance of an outreach services coordinator from the English language school in their region:

  • North Eastern Victoria Region: Blackburn English Language School (03) 9803 4022
  • North Western Victoria Region: Collingwood English Language School (03) 9419 7633
  • South Eastern Victoria Region: Noble Park English Language School (03) 9546 9578
  • South Western Victoria Region: Western English Language School (03) 9311 9325

Based on centrally collected data, schools may be contacted by the outreach services coordinators about students who have recently enrolled. They will arrange a suitable time to assist teachers in assessing the English language learning needs of the students and to recommend appropriate EAL programs.

Support for isolated students

Virtual new arrivals program

In rural and regional Victoria students who cannot access an English language school or centre program may be supported through the Virtual EAL New Arrivals Program. The program provides a quality English language learning program for newly arrived EAL learners who are enrolled in isolated and rural schools outside of regional cities. Specialist EAL teachers deliver both curriculum-related and individualised content to students using virtual conferencing and digital tools and systems.

Transcript (docx - 32.47kb)

For information, see Virtual EAL new arrivals program

EAL Cluster program

In rural and regional areas where an EAL Cluster program is operating, teachers of newly arrived students may be supported through the cluster if they cannot access:

  • an ELS
  • an ELC
  • a Virtual EAL New Arrivals Program (VNAP).

For information about the EAL Cluster program, contact your EAL Regional Program Officer


The Languages and Multicultural Resource Centre (LMERC) can provide a kit of tailored EAL and bilingual resources to support schools which have not previously had newly arrived students. The kits are available on long term loan for both primary and secondary students.

For more information contact your EAL RPO or LMERC:

Two resources, No English – Don't panic and No English 2 – Questions and Answers provide valuable information and reassurance for teachers who have not previously had newly arrived students in their classes.

No English – Don't panic (pdf - 594.53kb) - provides information and strategies for primary classroom teachers to support newly arrived EAL students during their first few weeks in Australia.

No English 2 – Questions and Answers (pdf - 442.76kb) - provides answers to some of the questions primary classroom teachers may have about the English language development of newly arrived EAL learners, and about providing appropriate programs for them.

International students

Overseas students requiring an intensive English language course before entering mainstream classes are eligible to enrol in an English language school or centre to undertake such a course.

Students must enrol in a school through the International Student Program before enrolling in an English language school or centre.

For further information, see International students in schools