ELICOS Standards 2018


I, Brett Galt-Smith, A/g Branch Manager, Policy and Systems Branch, International Group, Department of Education and Training, make the following instrument under subsection 176B(1) of the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000.


Dated: 11 October 2017







Brett Galt-Smith

A/g Branch Manager, Policy and Systems Branch, International Group Department of Education and Training

1                     Name


The name of this instrument is the ELICOS Standards 2018.


2                     Commencement


This instrument commences on the day after it is registered.


3                     Application


  1. Existing provider: This instrument applies to an Existing provider from 1 January 2018.


ii.            New provider: This instrument applies to a New provider from 1 January 2018.


iii.            Transitioning provider: This instrument applies to a Transitioning provider from 1 March 2018.


iv.            Standard P6.4 applies to a Transitioning provider from 1 January 2019.


v.            A provider may continue delivering a course to a student if that student enrols in the course prior to the application of the ELICOS Standards 2018 to that provider.


4                     Repeal


The ELICOS Standards 2018 repeals and replaces the ELICOS Standards

(F2011L01252)(ELICOS Standards 2011) from 1 March 2018.


5                     Authority


This instrument is made under subsection 176B(1) of the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000.


6                     Definitions


In this instrument:


Act means the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000.


ELICOS means English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students.


Existing provider means a registered provider to which the ELICOS Standards

applied prior to the commencement of this instrument.


New provider means a person or entity that becomes registered to provide an ELICOS course on or after 1 January 2018 irrespective of the date of their application for registration.

Transitioning provider means a registered provider to which the

ELICOS Standards did not apply prior to 1 January 2018, and is subsequently assessed by an ESOS Agency to be delivering an ELICOS course.






English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) Standards 2018





ELICOS Standards................................................4

Standard C1 Mandatory requirements for course applications.............4

Standard P1 Scheduled course contact hours..........................5

Standard P2 Needs of younger ELICOS students.......................6

Standard P3 Teaching ELICOS.....................................7

Standard P4 Assessment of ELICOS students.........................8

Standard P5 ELICOS educational resources...........................9

Standard P6 ELICOS specialist staff................................10

Standard P7 ELICOS premises....................................12

Standard P8 Business management................................13


ELICOS Standards





English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) form a significant part of Australia’s international education industry.

Students come from overseas to study English for a variety of reasons. Some need to improve their English for work or career purposes, some have a personal interest in becoming fluent in English, and some intend to travel. Others may want to continue their education in English, either in Australia or elsewhere, and need to develop the language skills to undertake further study.

Delivering English language instruction to students who have travelled to Australia requires a pedagogical approach to ensure effective language acquisition by the student.

Regulatory Framework for ELICOS

English language courses provided to overseas students as defined in section 5 of the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act) must be registered as ELICOS on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

To gain registration on CRICOS, a provider must be approved by its ESOS agency as meeting:

The National Code established under the ESOS Act sets out standards for all registered providers of education and training to overseas students in Australia on a student visa. The ELICOS Standards outline specific quality requirements for registered providers and are in addition to the National Code requirements.


For the purposes of the ELICOS Standards, an ELICOS course is a course of education or training that is:


Courses which do not fall within the definition of ‘ELICOS’ include, but are not limited to:

ELICOS Standards

Standard C1 Mandatory requirements for course applications

Providers address the information requirements of the ESOS agency to demonstrate that their proposed courses meet the required standards.

C1.1 Course applications for registration on CRICOS must be provided in the format required by the ESOS Agency and where relevant, the designated State authority. Course applications must be fit for purpose and must include the following information:

a)      course name

b)      course component

c)      copyright information

d)      course duration (expressed in weeks)

e)      course purpose

f)        relationship with other course(s)

g)      details of any articulation arrangements

h)      profile of target learner group, including arrangements to meet the learning needs of students of different age groups and learning capabilities

i)        course outcomes expressed in learner oriented terms

j)        course entry requirements

k)      strategy for monitoring student learning progress

l)        strategy for assessing achievement of learning outcomes including policies and procedures, materials and resources

m)   samples of certification of completion and partial completion that set out the CRICOS course name, levels of achievement or proficiency, course duration, date of completion, name and contact details of the registered ELICOS provider, and name and title of the signatory

n)      modes and methods of course delivery

o)      course structure demonstrating that it meets the minimum requirement of 20 hours face-to-face scheduled course contact per week, as well as any other study requirements and any scheduled breaks

p)      course syllabus that provides a statement of the purpose and objectives of the course, expected learning outcomes, subjects, structure and assessment of learning and progress

q)      strategy for ongoing course evaluation and review

r)       experience and qualifications of course teachers

s)      key and supplementary teaching resources

t)        maximum course fee.

Standard P1 Scheduled course contact hours

Written agreements between registered ELICOS providers and students must provide accurate information to students on scheduled course contact hours for the ELICOS course.

P1.1 An ELICOS course must have a minimum of 20 hours face-to-face scheduled course contact per week.

P1.2 Written agreements between registered ELICOS providers and students must specify:

a)      a minimum of 20 hours face-to-face scheduled course contact per week for the course

b)      any other scheduled course contact hours required by the course.

Standard P2 Needs of younger ELICOS students

Where a registered ELICOS provider enrols students under the age of 18, the operations of the provider are appropriate for the age, maturity and English language proficiency of the students.

P2.1 The provider’s arrangements for students under the age of 18 must comply with the National Code.

P2.2 Facilities and operations for any mixed-age student cohorts must be designed to meet the needs of students of different ages, maturity and levels of English language proficiency.

P2.3 Students must have access to services, learning opportunities, facilities and equipment that address their English language learning needs.

P2.4 Course materials and tutoring must be tailored to meet student learning requirements, taking into account their differing levels of age and maturity.

Standard P3 Teaching ELICOS

Policies and procedures for teaching provide students with optimal opportunities for achieving successful outcomes.

P3.1 The provider must have policies and procedures in place to ensure that:

a)      students are placed in a class appropriate to their current language proficiency level, learning goals and learning needs and consistent with their written agreement

b)      where a special need is identified for a student, arrangements are put in place to address the need and support the student to learn effectively

c)      teacher-to-student ratios do not exceed 1:18 per class

d)      students are informed of the outcomes to be achieved from the course and, for each learning block, the learning outcomes for that block.

P3.2 Planning policies and procedures must enable teachers to:

a)      customise teaching to student needs

b)      access the resources required for delivery of the course

c)      research course content and developments in English language teaching to meet student needs.

P3.3 Providers must maintain records of teaching delivery for a reasonable period in accordance with the ESOS Act and ensure:

a)      retention and accessibility of records, including electronically

b)      learning outcomes are documented

c)      effective review, revision and delivery of courses.

P3.4 Providers must continuously improve delivery of courses by:

a)      making adjustments based on analysis of feedback from students and other stakeholders as appropriate

b)      monitoring appropriateness of delivery for student groups

c)       regularly evaluating learning outcomes achieved.

Standard P4 Assessment of ELICOS students

Policies and procedures for the assessment of students provide them with optimal opportunities for achieving successful outcomes from their courses.

P4.1 Providers must clearly outline assessment policies and procedures, which must provide for:

a)      formative and summative assessment

b)      clear identification of assessment outcomes as they relate to progress through the course

c)      assessment that is valid, reliable, fair, flexible and clearly referenced to criteria, and

(i)                  includes appropriate oversight or moderation of assessment outcomes

(ii)                in the case of ELICOS courses which are provided under a direct entry arrangement to a tertiary education course, formal measures must be in place to ensure that assessment outcomes are comparable to other criteria used for admission to the tertiary education course of study, or for admission to other similar courses of study.

d)      clear and regular reporting on assessment outcomes and progress through the course to the student and their parent or guardian, where the student is under the age of 18.

P4.2 The registered ELICOS provider must, upon completion (or partial completion) of study, issue each student with a document that:

a)      indicates the CRICOS course name, registered ELICOS provider and contact details, dates of study, course duration, levels of achievement or proficiency, authorised signature and name of signatory

b)      includes, or is accompanied by, a plain English explanation of the terms used in awarding grades at all levels.

P4.3 Providers must undertake processes for continual improvement of student assessment by:

a)      making adjustments based on collection and analysis of feedback from students and other stakeholders as appropriate

b)      monitoring appropriateness of assessment for student groups

c)      regularly evaluating course outcomes achieved.

Standard P5 ELICOS educational resources

Registered ELICOS providers maintain a supply of sufficient educational resources that are aimed at achieving course objectives, encourage diversity in learning activities and teaching methodologies, and are appropriately organised and regularly reviewed.

P5.1 The registered ELICOS provider must demonstrate access to educational resources that:

a)      are sufficient to provide for each student at every stage of their course, as appropriate

b)      are appropriate for the type and level of course offered

c)      include access to a range of multimedia, as appropriate

d)      enable varied learning activities and teaching methodologies

e)      are developed for classroom and individual student use and address specific student needs and course learning outcomes

f)        reflect new developments in TESOL theory and practice and changes in course offerings and student profiles.

P5.2 The registered ELICOS provider must have educational facilities with sufficient equipment and support resources for the number of enrolled students, including:

a)      educational and computer technologies that support:

  1. classroom teaching and learning activities;
  2. independent student practice, study and research; and
  3. teacher study, research and preparation.

b)      material that is catalogued and presented for easy access, where the registered provider makes material available for access or independent study

c)      equipment and resources to facilitate independent study (for example, study areas or wi-fi access).

P5.3 The registered ELICOS provider must give teachers access to reference resources that reflect contemporary knowledge of the theory and practice of TESOL, in its own facilities or through easily accessible jointly managed facilities.

Standard P6 ELICOS specialist staff

Registered ELICOS providers must employ suitably qualified specialist staff and provide them with ongoing opportunities for professional development.

Academic leadership of ELICOS

P6.1 The registered ELICOS provider must have an academic management system that ensures:

a)      clear organisation-wide academic leadership of ELICOS

b)      a coordinated and effective approach to developing, implementing and reviewing curricula

c)      management of educational resources

d)      provision of guidance to teaching staff.

P6.2 Senior academic leadership staff must hold a degree, suitable postgraduate TESOL qualification/s, and appropriate educational management and TESOL teaching experience or equivalent.

P6.3 Senior academic leadership staff must maintain an up-to-date knowledge of significant developments in TESOL theory and practice.

Teaching staff

P6.4 ELICOS teachers must have the following:


a)      a degree or diploma of at least three years full-time or equivalent (teaching or other)

b)      a suitable TESOL qualification or qualification that contains TESOL as a method

c)      appropriate TESOL teaching experience or are formally mentored by a senior staff member with this experience.

P6.5 Where the registered ELICOS provider offers courses of preparation for entry to Australian state or territory secondary schools, an appropriate percentage of the TESOL teachers must be registered to teach in the Australian state or territory primary or secondary system as determined by state or territory legislation or policy.

P6.6 Teachers of students of 12 years old or less must hold a TESOL qualification and a nationally recognised primary teaching qualification.

P6.7 The registered provider must verify the qualifications of all its teachers. P6.8 The registered provider:

a)      must implement policies and procedures for the induction and ongoing professional development of its teaching staff

b)      must implement a program of professional development each year.

Counselling staff

P6.9 A registered ELICOS provider must:

a)      employ or contract a person or persons with formal qualifications in counselling and/or relevant experience who is able to advise and provide counselling to students in an intercultural context about:

  1. academic and future progress advice
  2. welfare matters.

b)      ensure that the counselling services are available and accessible by students at suitable times.

Standard P7 ELICOS premises

The premises of registered ELICOS providers offer teaching and learning environments that are appropriately designed and equipped to support the range of English language courses and student support services offered.

P7.1 The registered ELICOS provider’s premises must comply with all relevant legislation and regulations.

P7.2 The registered ELICOS provider must ensure that students are safe and have access to facilities that support their education, including where:

a)      the provider utilises areas within their facility for ELICOS classes that may also be used for other purposes

b)      facilities are accessed by people not associated with the provider’s operations.

P7.3 The registered ELICOS provider must designate areas of its premises sufficient in size to support quality delivery of its ELICOS courses, including:

a)      rooms and equipment that are fit for purpose and proportionate or appropriate to the number of students and course syllabus

b)      teacher staffrooms

c)      student recreation areas

d)      private study areas or areas for related activities, such as a library or resource centre

e)      storage areas

f)        offices for the management of the ELICOS provider and for the confidential counselling of students.

Standard P8 Business management

The operations of the provider are supported by effective management actions.

P8.1 A registered provider must:

a)      comply with relevant Commonwealth, state or territory legislation and other regulatory requirements that are relevant to its operations

b)      ensure that its staff, students and other clients are fully informed of all regulatory requirements where they affect their duties or participation in ELICOS education.

P8.2 A registered provider must hold public liability insurance throughout its registration period.

P8.3 A registered ELICOS provider must:

a)      have its accounts prepared to Australian Accounting and Auditing Standards, at least annually

b)      provide the certificate of accounts to the ESOS agency on request

c)      provide a full audit report of its financial accounts from a qualified and independent auditor, if the ESOS agency reasonably deems this necessary

d)      provide other business management documents as requested by the ESOS agency, if reasonably deemed necessary.

P8.4 A registered provider must have management systems that are responsive to the needs of students, staff and stakeholders and the environment in which the provider operates, including:

a)      a systematic and continuous improvement approach to managing its operations

b)      management of records to ensure their accuracy and integrity.




Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students

Designated State Authority

A regulatory authority as defined in the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act.

ESOS agency

A regulatory authority as defined in the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act.

Formative assessment

Information collected (generally via a range of formal and informal methods) during a course to determine student progress towards course outcomes or learning goals. Its purpose is to provide feedback in order to adapt or change teaching content or approaches, or to adapt or change student learning and study strategies.

Foundation Programs

As defined in the National Standards for Foundation Programs.

Learning block

A discrete period of study within a course as defined by the provider.

National Code

National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 or later version where applicable.

Scheduled course contact hours

The hours for which students enrolled in a course are scheduled to attend classes, course-related information sessions, supervised study sessions and examinations.

Summative assessment

Assessment carried out during or at the end of a course of study (as appropriate) to determine and specify student achievement of course outcomes or learning goals.


The syllabus provides a comprehensive outline of the purpose, content or subjects, outcomes and assessment of a course.


Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Welfare matters

Matters related to the mental, physical, social and spiritual wellbeing of overseas students. These may include accommodation, disability, equity issues, financial matters, legal issues, medical issues, mental health, religious and spiritual matters, and stress management.

Written Agreement

As required in Standard 3 of the National Code 2018.