Full time attendance at a school is compulsory once a child reaches 5 years of age. This continues until they turn 16 years of age. A school includes State schools, other State centres, units or institutes that qualify, and registered schools – including non-government schools (otherwise known as private schools). If a parent wishes to home school, they must be registered home educators. A parent who fails to enrol their children or to home school can receive a fine of up to 10 penalty units.
School-aged children who will be attending State schools are entitled to enrolment at the State school which draws its students from the area in which his or her home is located – this is the ‘intake area’ for the school. If parents wish to enrol their child/ren in another school outside of the intake area, they are entitled to do so if the school has less than its maximum number of students.
If you are looking to leave school before the age of 16, seek the advice of your guidance counsellor at school.
A child may be suspended for a period of up to 2 weeks from school by the Principal according to the Education Act. Only the Secretary of Education can decide if a child will be expelled, or even prohibited from enrolling at a State school.
It is normal procedure for the Secretary to provide written advice of a child being expelled or prohibited from enrolling to the parent/s or guardian/s of the child. The Secretary also has a discretion to refuse the enrolment of an expelled child at another State school or other institution.
A child can be exempted from enrolment in a school if requested by their parents or guardian. If a parent of a child considers it to be in the best interest of that child to leave school early, they may apply for an exemption from the requirement under the Education Act to send the child to school. This is at the Secretary’s discretion.
Full-time students over the age of 16 years may be eligible for Youth Allowance. Their parents’ income and means may affect whether this is payable, unless they can show they are independent. Abstudy is available to students of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island descent.