Attendance at school
Attending school every day improves a child’s future life outcomes. It supports their learning and wellbeing.
Parents must make sure their child goes to school every day. This is a parent’s legal responsibility.
Attendance at school is required from the age of 6 years.
Compulsory school age - 6 to 16 years
Children and teenagers must be in school from 6 years to 16 years old.
They must attend a government or non-government school full time.
Compulsory education age - 16 to 17 years
Teenagers must go to school or an approved learning program until they turn 17 unless they:
- achieve their SACE or other qualification
- are in full-time employment.
Approved learning programs
Approved learning programs are run by:
- Vocational Education and Training (VET)
- registered training organisations (RTOs).
An approved learning program could be:
- accredited courses
- apprenticeships or traineeships
- other programs authorised by the Minister for Education (or delegate).
Leaving school early for full-time employment
From 15 years, teenagers can leave school if they have full-time employment. There are specific requirements.
If your child is 15 years old:
- you can seek an exemption from school
- they need a job that is at least 30 hours a week.
If your child is 16 years old:
- they need a job that is at least 25 hours a week.
Talk to your school if your child wants to work full-time. You will need a letter from the employer that guarantees:
- the job
- the number of hours your child will be employed.
If your child’s employment finishes before they turn 17 your child must go back to school.
Students and part-time employment
School students can work part-time as long as it is outside of school hours.
Part-time work must not interfere with school. For example, students should not work night shifts as this can make them tired. This makes it harder to learn the next day.
An employer or parent could be prosecuted if they ask a student to work in these ways. This means being fined or getting a criminal conviction.
If you need support with getting to school or preschool
Check the Department for Education’s attendance support for families webpages.
You can also call the parent helpline for support on 1300 364 100.
On this site
- Attendance policy - Department for Education
- Attendance support for families - Department for Education
- Changing schools - Department for Education
- Missing school or preschool - Department for Education
- Preschool and kindergarten - Department for Education
- Starting preschool - Department for Education