FNQ Region

How school catchments work

Enrolment Management Plans help when schools reach maximum capacity.

As a general rule, Queenslanders have freedom of choice in selecting state schools for their children - the exception is where schools have an Enrolment Management Plan.

A school catchment area refers to an area of residences within the shortest, most direct route to the nearest primary or secondary school. Find out here which school's catchment you live in.

Enrolment Management Plans are required to enable some state schools to actively manage their enrolment when they get close to their maximum enrolment capacity. This ensures that enrolment managed schools can continue to give priority to enrolling students from within their catchment.

Education Queensland ensures that Prep-Year 12 students are guaranteed enrolment at the school nearest their residence.  If the school closest to a student's residence is enrolment managed, parents / caregivers will be required to show evidence that their current residential address lies within the school's catchment area (for example a current, signed lease agreement for a home in the catchment area or a signed copy of a contract of sale for the purchase of a home in the catchment area).

However, for various reasons, parents/caregivers may wish to enrol their child at a school other than the one which is closest to where they live.  In this case enrolment may be possible but is not guaranteed

If the school at which parents/caregivers wish to enrol the child is enrolment managed, an application can be made in two ways:

1.  As a student of a Program of Excellence at the school. 

This means that the student is accepted at the school because of a talent in a particular area of study which is offered at the school as a Program of Excellence.  Students may be required to complete an audition, entrance examination or provide other evidence of achievement in relation to the Program of Excellence for which they are applying.  Places are limited and enrolment is not guaranteed.


If a student lives outside of a school's catchment area but is accepted as a student of a Program of Excellence, the student's siblings may apply to be enrolled there but are not guaranteed enrolment at the same school.  

However, if the sibling of an existing Program of Excellence student is accepted for enrolment at the school, then while one sibling remains enrolled, all siblings are guaranteed enrolment at the same school.

2. As an out-of-catchment enrolment. 

Schools are required to enrol all students who live within their school's catchment.  A small number of places may be available to students who live outside of the catchment area.  If no out-of-catchment places are available, schools may offer to place your child's name on a waiting list.


If a student lives outside of a school's catchment area but is accepted as an out-of-catchment enrolment, the student's siblings are guaranteed enrolment at the school for as long as they have one sibling who remains enrolled.

In order to find out if a particular school in Far North Queensland has an Enrolment Management Plan, please check this list.

More in this category: « Schools of excellence

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Department of Education and Training Far North Queensland

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