Review of Standard Entitlement Frameworks for Schools & School Site Size and Outdoor Space Requirements

(Including Special & Special Developmental Schools)

Commissioned research project for the Department of Education and Training, State of Victoria from 2015 to 2016.


The Department of Education and Training’s (DET) Standard Entitlement Frameworks outline the space and area entitlements for school facilities in the State of Victoria. In light of changing curriculum requirements associated with the implementation of the Victorian Curriculum and changing pedagogic practices in schools, a thorough review of these space planning frameworks, including associated site size and outdoor space requirements, was considered necessary to ensure that schools can continue to be designed in keeping with contemporary educational practices and demographic changes in greater Melbourne and other parts of Victoria.

This research recognised that schools in Victoria have had the opportunity to ‘mix and match’ area entitlements within entitlement categories since 2001, following the recommendations of a Task Force Review. A key objective of the project was to rationalize the need to ‘mix and match’ area entitlements by developing and recommending a new set of frameworks to provide flexibility in how area entitlements are utilized in the design of contemporary schools, while still offering informative guidelines for the design of high quality facilities. A review of school site size and outdoor space requirement guidelines was considered necessary to ensure that schools (Primary, Secondary, Special and Special Developmental) can continue to be appropriately located and sized to cater to growing communities across Victoria.

Detailed project outline

  • Objectives
    • To develop evidence-based recommendations for school facility area guidelines for DET Primary Schools, Secondary Schools, Special Schools and Special Developmental Schools.
    • To develop evidence-based recommendations for site size and outdoor space requirements for DET schools (Primary, Secondary, Special and Special Developmental).
  • Outcomes

    It was anticipated that revised school facility area guidelines would deliver a range of benefits, including but not limited to, the following:

    • Alignment of school facility requirements and area guidelines with state/national curriculum standards;
    • Consolidation of contemporary school design principles supportive of modern teaching and learning policies and pedagogical practices;
    • Support for the Minister’s inclusive education policy (April 2016), including suitable space requirements and area allocations for inclusive mainstream schools and dedicated special/special developmental schools;
    • Alignment with current best practice school design, as represented in Victoria’s Public Private Partnership (PPP) school designs and other exemplary new school builds;
    • Identification of outdoor learning area requirements;
    • A process of identifying where optional community facilities are required, depending on needs-analysis and business case;
    • Recognition of the need to cater for less common situations (e.g. small schools) and to provide equitable area allocations to schools of all sizes;
    • Provision of user-friendly area schedules (i.e. a clearer communication system by which to disseminate information about the school facility requirements and area guidelines).
  • Impact

    The recommendations arising from this project were provided to the Department of Education and Training. They are currently under consideration.

    The researchers see the proposed school facility area guidelines playing a potentially pivotal role in advancing the Education State agenda to deliver an ‘education system that produces excellence and reduces the impact of disadvantage’.

Publications and project outputs


For further information regarding this project please contact lead researcher, Dr Ben Cleveland or LEaRN via

Banner: Officer Secondary College, ClarkeHopkinsClarke Architects. Photo by Rhiannon Slatter.