A VICTORIAN Catholic school denies closing the gates to a five-year-old boy because his surname is Hell.

Dad Alex Hell says a priest refused to enrol his son, Max, at St Peter Apostle School in Hoppers Crossing.

But the school denies taking offence and says an enrolment offer from the end of last term remains on the table.

Hell is a traditional Austrian surname meaning bright.

The boy's parents complained he was being bullied and harassed over his surname at his current school and sought a transfer, Herald Sun Online understands.

Mr Hell said he first told the school's principal he was prepared to enrol his child in a prep class under his wife's maiden name to avoid potential ridicule.

But he later changed his mind.

He claims a local priest who was consulted refused to accept the boy under the Hell surname.

The principal told him he had "made a rod for your son's back", Mr Hell said on Southern Cross Broadcasting.

Director of Catholic Education Stephen Elder today said in a statement the child was welcome at the school.

"The parents were looking to enrol their child at St Peter the Apostle School from a state school because of a range of matters that were impacting on the child," Mr Elder said.

"The issue of a change of surname of the child was an initiative of the parents which they believed would assist the child in the transition of schools.

"After discussions between the parish priest and principal, St Peter the Apostle School has made an offer of enrolment to the student.

"The school is working with the family in the best interests of the child."