Legislative Requirements for Attendance and Enrolment
Provisions for students to delay the start of school at age 6
There are provisions that allow the delay of the start of school for students who meet certain criteria. The student’s parent can apply to their school for an exemption from enrolment. For more information about exemptions, go to the Exemption from attendance and enrolment section of the AISNSW webpage.
Provisions for students to leave school before turning 17
There are provisions in the Education Act that allow a student who has met certain criteria to leave school before turning 17. There are different rules and processes depending on the age of the child and whether the student has completed Year 9.
Leaving school during Year 10
A student who has completed Year 9 may be granted an exemption from enrolment provided they have a full-time apprenticeship or traineeship. The completion of the apprenticeship/traineeship would be considered to be the completion of the equivalent of Year 10. For more information about exemptions, go to the Exemption from attendance and enrolment section of the AISNSW webpage.
Leaving school after Year 10 but before turning 17
A student under the age of 17 who has completed Year 10 is able to leave school provided they have commenced on a full-time basis:
- approved education/training
- paid work, or
- a combination of education/training and paid work.
A full-time basis is considered to be an average of 25 hours per week over a 4 week period. These students would not need an exemption from enrolment as they would be considered to have ceased to be of compulsory school age.
Leaving school when the student is in Year 10 and is 17
Regardless of the Year of schooling, a student who is 17 is no longer of compulsory school age and can leave school without conditions. This is because the Education Act states that the “minimum school leaving age is:
(a) the age at which the child completes Year 10 of secondary education (subject to participation required by subsection (3)), or
(b) the age of 17 years,
whichever occurs first”.
As a student who is 17 is no longer of compulsory school age as s/he has met the requirement of age, then the school’s existing cancellation of enrolment procedures for the school apply. An exemption from enrolment is not required.
Responsibilities of parent/carer(s)
Legally, it is the responsibility of the parent or carer of a child of compulsory school-age, not the school, to ensure that their child is enrolled in, and attending school, or is registered for home schooling (section 22 of the Education Act). Once enrolled, children are required to attend school each day the school is open.
Responsibilities of schools
Schools and principals have legal obligations in relation to attendance and enrolment under the Education Act. Schools are required to have policies and procedures for school registration that address the following school responsibilities in relation to attendance:
- maintaining registers of enrolments and daily attendance
- recording and monitoring daily attendance/absence of students
- following up student absence
- processing applications for exemption from attendance or enrolment
- monitoring attendance data
- implementing intervention strategies to improve unsatisfactory attendance.
NESA’s school registration requirements in relation to attendance and enrolment are outlined in NESA’s Registered and Accredited Individual Non-government Schools (NSW) Manual in sections 3.6.2 and 3.8.