There are two types of enrolment at Cairns School of Distance Education

1. School based students     

A school based enrolment includes any student enrolled in an educational program provided under the: 

  • Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (Qld) at a State School.
  • Education (Accreditation of Non-State Schools) Act 2001 (Qld) at a non-State school.

Our acceptance of a school based enrolment allows students enrolled in another school to access one or more subjects at Cairns SDE.  These students are enrolled by their base school.

2. Home based students 

A home based student enrols with Cairns SDE for their studies.

Please complete and submit the relevant Enrolment form to

School based enrolments

Cairns School of Distance Education offers courses that are flexible, high quality and focused on student needs. Students who are currently enrolled full time in a state or non-state school can enrol in one or more subjects if:

  • the subject is not offered by their base school
  • the subject is offered by the base school, but the student is unable to access it due to a timetable clash or other special circumstance.

Resources will be supplied by Cairns School of Distance Education, however these are the responsibility of the base school to return when the student finalises.

Home based enrolments 

Cairns School of Distance Education offers a range of services to students to meet varied educational needs.  Being a 'school of choice' enrolment fees apply unless a student demonstrates eligibility for an exemption or waiver (full or partial) by satisfying specific criteria.  Evidence is required to support your claim.

Fee exemption and waiver applications are assessed on a case by case basis.  

Home based students may be exempt from paying the enrolment fee for a distance education program on the following grounds:

In certain circumstances, namely financial hardship and educational disadvantage (through lack of educational continuity), or in exceptional circumstances, a student may apply for a waiver of the distance education enrolment fee un the Act.  Fee exemption and waiver applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

There are certain prerequisites for enrolling: 

  • A computer with internet access must be available for the student.
  • A home tutor must be available to assist the student with completing the work.
  • A minimum of sixteen (16) weeks enrolment applies otherwise, an administrative fee would apply.

Responsibilities ​

Parents are responsible for providing all relevant information and payment for enrolling students in a SDE.

Principals of schools of distance education are responsible for overseeing the enrolment process, determining the eligibility for fee exemption/waivers/refunds, notification of the decision, ensuring natural justice in the decision-making process, and managing invoicing and payment processes.

School Principals whose students undertake subjects through an SDE are responsible for completing and submitting all relevant information and providing a suitable learning environment, resources and support for students.


Enrolment of home based (state school) students.


  • Complete the Application for Fee Exemption/Waiver/Payment Plan Form (PDF, 218 KB) for each student and provide evidence to support a fee exemption or waiver, where appropriate.
  • Pay an annual fee, if applicable.
  • Request, negotiate and sign a documented payment variance plan with the principal if required.
  • Provide access to necessary course materials and appropriate technology for the student.
  • Provide active on-site support including monitoring regular return of work.
  • Maintain close contact with teachers.
  • Ensure regular attendance by students at scheduled lessons.
  • Pay ongoing telephone conferencing costs.
  • Where appropriate, complete the refund application form.

Principals of non-state schools

  • Complete the relevant SDE enrolment form and submit with fees before day 8 of the school year or one month before the commencement of the second semester.
  • Complete the non-state school waiver application form if required, including evidence that fees have been paid in full and evidence to support the application under s54 of the Act.
  • Complete the non-state school student refund application form if requesting a part refund of the fee, before the end of Semester 1, stating the reasons for the application and the date enrolment ceased.
  • Advise student applicants of the outcomes of waiver and refund decisions, and retain associated documentation.
  • Provide a suitable learning environment for the student.
  • Provide a school study coach for active on-site student support including monitoring regular return of work.
  • Maintain close contact with SDE teachers through the non-state school study coach.

Supporting documents

Last reviewed 03 November 2020
Last updated 03 November 2020