Exemption from attending school

Students must attend school regularly.

Parents or carers can apply for an exemption from school attendance for the following reasons:

  • family travel or holidays
  • medical or health reasons
  • home education
  • full-time employment
  • disability or behaviour concerns requiring part time exemption from school.

How to apply

1. Meet with the principal

You must talk to your principal to discuss your child's exemption. Exemptions require supporting evidence. The principal will provide you with the appropriate exemption application form and tell you what evidence or documentation is required.

2. Collect and attach supporting evidence

Any documentation or evidence required e.g. letters or other information from a medical practitioner, permission to share information, must be submitted with the application form.

3. Lodge the form with the principal

Submit the application and all evidence to the principal. The principal will make sure your form is sent to the right place for approval.

4. What happens next?

Students must keep attending school until the exemption has been approved.

If your request is approved, you'll be notified. An exemption certificate will be issued for exemptions longer than one month.

Conditional and part-time exemptions

Approval for part-time exemption from school is only given under exceptional circumstances and requires:

  • negotiation with the education department
  • additional documentation and evidence (eg advice from a medical professional if related to health)
  • case planning for student programs that require the student to attend for part of the day or week
  • case planning for the student's transition back to full-time attendance over the agreed period of time.

Approval is given with the intention that the student will gradually increase their attendance during the exemption period until they are back at school on a full-time basis.

Exemption to attend a TAFE or RTO course, traineeship or apprenticeship

Students under the age of 15 cannot be given an exemption for a TAFE or RTO course, traineeship or apprenticeship unless there are strong recommendations from the school and the education department.

Students aged 16 do not need an exemption if they can provide evidence that they are:

  • attending full-time TAFE or other approved courses
  • commencing an apprenticeship or traineeship

Starting full-time work

Students aged 15 and 16 who are taking up full-time employment can apply for a permanent exemption from school. To qualify:

  • students under 16 must be working more than 30 hours per week
  • 16 year olds must be working more than 25 hours per week
  • students must supply a letter of offer from the organisation, highlighting the position and the number of hours per week.

Students can be employed in more than one position to make up the minimum hours.

Students who remain in an approved learning program and work part time, eg after school, do not require an exemption.

Employers and registered training organisations

Employers intending to offer full-time employment to a 15 or 16 year old must follow the requirements listed under exemption for full-time employment above.

If a 15 or 16 year old stops working for you, the obligation is on the young person and their parent to make sure they are engaged in “learning or earning”. However, your help would be appreciated by letting us know. You can contact the Department for Education at education.studentexemptions@sa.gov.au.

Registered training organisations have an obligation to contact the Department for Education if the young person leaves their training program at education.studentexemptions@sa.gov.au.

Home education

Principals can grant an exemption of up to one month from school after receiving a letter from the home education office confirming that an application for home education been lodged by the parent or carer.

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Page last updated 1 July 2020

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