Intensive English Centres

Intensive English Centres (IECs) and the Intensive English High School (IEHS) provide intensive English tuition to newly arrived, high school aged students whose first language is not English.

In addition to English tuition, the IECs and the IEHS provide orientation, settlement and wellbeing programs to prepare students for learning in a NSW government high school and to participate in Australian society.

An intensive English High School and a number of Intensive English centres are located in Sydney. There are also intensive English centres in Armidale and Wollongong. For more information see the Intensive English centre guide (DOCX 109 KB).

Frequently asked questions

Newly arrived students wishing to enrol in IECs and the IEHS must meet certain requirements:

  • speak a language other than English as their first language and require intensive ESL instruction to enable them to participate in secondary education
  • be newly arrived in Australia and applying for IEC/IEHS placement within 6 months of arrival
  • be an Australian citizen, a permanent resident, an approved provisional visa holder or an approved temporary visa holder
  • have the intention to continue their education in a government high school after completion of the IEC/IEHS course.

Eligible Year 6 students may transfer from a primary school to an IEC/IEHS to prepare for entry to high school the following year. A year 6 student must be 11 years of age by 31st July in the year of enrolment.

Schools enquiring about a possible transfer should contact their local IEC/IEHS.

Each IEC/IEHS assesses a student's English language proficiency level to determine the student's need for intensive English tuition.

When newly arrived students whose first language is not English apply for enrolment in high school, they should be referred to the local IEC/IEHS for assessment and possible enrolment.

Following assessment and enrolment in an IEC/IEHS, each student is placed in an appropriate class based on a number of factors including their level of English proficiency and stage of schooling.

Students can apply to enrol directly in an IEC/IEHS or be referred by a government school to their local IEC/IEHS.

Students seeking to enrol in an IEC/IEHS must complete an application to enrol in a NSW Government School.

Students who are temporary visa holders must enrol through DE International. Fees may apply. Fact sheets and fee information are available at the Temporary Residents Program section of this site. Temporary visa holders must not be enrolled without an authority to enrol form, issued by DE International.

Some temporary visa categories are fee exempt. For more information refer to the Schedule of Visa Subclasses and Conditions.

International students who require intensive English tuition before enrolling in high school may enrol in Intensive English Centres or the Intensive English High School.

All international student enrolments are managed by DE International.

Students enrolling in an IEC/IEHS are classified as either regular or special needs students and placed in classes according to their English language tuition needs.

Regular students stay for up to 3 terms while special needs students stay for up to 4 terms in an IEC or IEHS.

In special circumstances students can stay for an additional term. This is determined on a case-by-case basis.

IECs are staffed separately from the host high school with an executive staff of deputy principal and/or head teacher, permanent and casual teachers, school counsellor, school learning support officers – SLSO (ethnic) and school administrative staff.

The IEHS is a stand-alone school with a principal as well as the staffing listed above.

The staffing level of IECs and the IEHS is determined by the number of classes which in turn is determined by student enrolment numbers.

Intensive English language programs are based on the Intensive English Programs (IEP) Curriculum Framework. The curriculum framework provides a text-based approach for explicitly teaching English through key learning/subject areas. High school subject areas are adapted for second language learners to prepare them for high school.

The IEP Curriculum Framework has four levels of intensive English language development.

Students with limited first language literacy skills start at Foundation Level. Beginning students with good first language literacy skills start at Level 1.

As the students' level of English language proficiency increases, the teaching concentrates more on academic concepts, vocabulary and skills required in preparation for high school.

TYPES OF TEXTS: Intensive English is a support document for the IEP Curriculum Framework providing explicit teaching and learning support across a range of text types including texts for visual and critical literacy.

The framework documents for each level can be accessed in the EAL/D NSW Statewide Staffroom in the Intensive English Centres channel (staff only).

A student's progress in English language across subjects is monitored through ongoing assessment against the language outcomes of the Intensive English Programs (IEP) Curriculum Framework.

Student achievement levels inform teachers about student learning, progress and readiness for the next level of language learning.

IEC/IEHS reports are usually sent to parents each term. The reports inform parents about each student's progress in language learning using the ESL Reporting Scale. In addition the report shows progress in all subjects studied in preparation for high school.

When a student completes the IEC/IEHS course and transfers to high school, an IEC/IEHS Exit Report for the student is sent to the receiving high school.

The IECs/IEHS offer a transition to high school program to assist exiting students to make a successful transition to the receiving high schools.

As part of this program all students and their families are advised of their schooling options. In addition, the program can include a high school experience visit over several days to familiarise the students with their future high schools.

Newly arrived high school aged students requiring intensive English face a range of challenges as they prepare to enter high school. All students, including those with previous continuous education, must orient themselves to a new education system while developing their English language proficiency. The added difficulty for newly arrived senior aged students is that they have less time to prepare for the more academically challenging demands of the senior curriculum.

The difficulties are compounded for newly arrived students who have previous disrupted or little schooling. Most are refugees and as a result of their experiences may have few formal learning skills and very low levels of literacy. In addition they may have settlement difficulties as well as complex health problems, including mental health issues.

While these refugee students stay longer in IECs they will still exit into high school at significantly lower language and literacy levels than their peers with continuous schooling. They generally require high levels of support to enable them to learn English, develop literacy and participate in schooling.

Contact list for IECs and IEHS

Intensive English Centres (IECs) and the Intensive English High School (IEHS) provide intensive English as a second language (ESL) tuition to recently arrived, high school aged students whose first language is not English.

Newly arrived students who present for enrolment in high school should be referred to the local IEC/IEHS for assessment and possible enrolment. For further information contact the IECs and IEHS below:

IEC and IEHS Contact details

Armidale IEC

182 Butler Street Armidale NSW 2350
Phone 02 6776 7400
Host School: Armidale Secondary College (8915)

Bankstown IEC Antwerp St Bankstown 2200
Phone 02 9796 8138
Fax 02 9796 8699
Host School: Bankstown Senior College (8381)

Beverly Hills IEC Melvin St North Beverly Hills 2209
Phone 02 9533 1293
Fax 02 9584 1963
Host School: Beverly Hills Girls HS (8255)

Cabramatta IEC Aladore Ave Cabramatta 2166
Phone 02 9727 3562
Fax 02 9728 1069
Host School: Cabramatta HS (8209)

Central Sydney IEHS

57-77 Mitchell Road Alexandria 2015
Phone 02 9595 9201
Central Sydney Intensive English High School (8288)

Chester Hill IEC Miller Road Chester Hill 2161
Phone 02 9645 3780
Fax 02 9645 5172
Host School: Chester Hill HS (8269)

Evans IEC

Walters Rd Blacktown 2148
Phone (02) 9622 1289 and 9622 1348
Fax (02) 9676 8573
Host School: Evans HS (8420)

Fairfield IEC The Horsley Dr Fairfield 2165
Phone 02 9724 6885
Fax 02 9726 4399
Host School: Fairfield HS (8550)

Holroyd IEC

Cumberland Rd Greystanes 2145
Phone 02 9896 1172 and 9896 1057
Fax 02 9896 5180
Host School: Holroyd HS (8424)

Kogarah IEC Regent St (c/- Kogarah High School Gladstone St) Kogarah 2217
Phone 02 9587 0529 and 9587 5053
Fax 02 9553 8542
Host School: Kogarah HS (8320)

Lurnea IEC

Hillview Pde Lurnea 2170
Phone 02 9602 1858
Fax 02 9824 1156
Host School: Lurnea HS (8401)

Marrickville IEC

Northcote St Marrickville 2204
Phone 02 9550 0251 and 9550 0252
Fax 02 9560 8079
Host School: Marrickville HS (8540)

Marsden IEC

Winbourne St West Ryde 2114
Phone 02 9858 3440
Fax 02 9858 1483
Host School: Marsden HS (8225)

Miller IEC

Cabramatta Ave Miller 2168
Phone 02 9607 2751
Fax 02 9607 3160
Host School: Miller HS (8394)

Northern Sydney IEC Yarrabung Rd St Ives 2075
Phone 02 9411 5288
Host School: St Ives HS (8400)

Warrawong IEC

Cowper St (PO Box 105) Warrawong 2502
Phone 02 4274 4346
Fax 02 4274 7054
Host School: Warrawong HS (8480)


  • Teaching and learning

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
  • Teaching, Learning and Student Wellbeing
Return to top of page Back to top