The Education (Hostels) Regulations 2005: Guidelines
All hostels that fit the definition of ‘hostel’ in the Education and Training Act and the regulations, and their owners, must comply with the regulations.
The definition covers a wide range of boarding establishments – for example:
- residential specialist schools
- health camps
- hostels operated by state and state integrated schools,
- private hostels serving groups of international students attending registered schools.
It does not, however, cover private boarding where a homeowner provides accommodation to less than five students. Nor does it cover boarding when students attending a registered school are not the main group of people being accommodated.
These guidelines provide further explanation and should be read in association with the regulations. The headings correlate to the relevant parts and requirements of the regulations to make it easy to read the two together.
Part 1: Preliminary provisions
This part of the regulations confirms that the purpose of the regulations is “to help ensure the safety of students who board at hostels”. This part also defines terms used in the regulations and confirms the hostels to which the regulations apply.
The meanings of some of the terms used in the regulations are defined to assist with interpreting the regulations. For a number of those terms the meanings are actually the meanings given by the Education and Training Act.
The “chief executive” referred to in the definition of the term “authority” is currently the chief executive of the Ministry of Education (the Secretary of Education). In general, the chief executive will delegate roles such as this to one or more of their subordinates.
The term “owner”, as defined by the regulations, would include the proprietor of an integrated school.
The definition of a ‘hostel’ covers a wide range of boarding establishments – for example, residential specialist schools, hostels run by state and integrated schools, health camps, and private hostels serving groups of international students attending registered schools.
Hostels to which the regulations apply
The definition does not cover:
- private boarding arrangements, where a homeowner provides accommodation to less than five students
- boarding establishments where students attending a registered school are not the main group of people being accommodated (for example, a backpacker hostel or university accommodation premises that only accommodate a few school students in addition to their main client groups).
Hostel operators and the Licensing Authority (Authority) will need to judge whether and when the regulations apply to these hostels. Assessment will include the numbers of boarders accommodated, their relationship to the owner, the terms of the accommodation arrangement, and the periods for which they are accommodated.
In emergency situations the regulations provide for the temporary accommodation of a student in an unlicensed hostel, for a limited period of time.
Giving of notices
The regulations specify how notices must be given including:
- notice of new directors etc of a body corporate (regulation 27)
- formal direction (regulation 28)
- revocation of a formal direction (regulation 31)
- suspension of licence (regulation 32)
- cancellation of licence (regulation 37)
- notice of abuse, harassment, or serious neglect of boarders (regulation 58)
- notice to the owner of an existing hostel to apply for a licence within a three month period (regulation 72).