In NSW, students must attend school regularly. From the beginning of the 2010 school year all children between the ages of six years and below the minimum school leaving age are legally required to attend school. All students must complete Year 10. After Year 10 and until they turn 17, students must be:
- in school, or registered for home schooling, or
- in approved education or training (eg TAFE, traineeship, apprenticeship) or
- in full-time, paid employment (average 25 hours/week) or
- in a combination of work, education and/or training.
- Older students are required to attend school regularly to meet course requirements.
Compulsory Schooling in NSW
From the beginning of 2010 a new range of options was made available through legislative changes to help support students, parents and schools when a student may be having ongoing issues with school attendance.
Further information for parents, schools and government and non-government agencies can be downloaded from the links below:
Attendance and absences
Parents or caregivers of children from Kindergarten through to Year 12 are responsible for ensuring their child attends school every day unless they are sick or have another good reason for being absent. Find out about attendance and absence requirements for parents.
The department has implemented a number of initiatives to support parents in ensuring their children attend school regularly.
Home School Liaison Program
Home school liaison officers are specially trained teachers who support schools by working with students and their families when regular attendance is an issue. Aboriginal student liaison officers work specifically with Aboriginal students and their communities to improve attendance.
Operation Roll Call
Operation Roll Call involves uniformed police, in the course of their general duties, approaching students who are of school age and who are out of school. Police may ask the student for their leave pass.
Tamper proof, common leave passes have been issued to all government high schools for this purpose. If a student does not have a leave pass, they are directed to return to school and their name and school is recorded by an officer and passed on to the school for follow-up disciplinary action.
Street sweeps involve home school liaison officers, Aboriginal student liaison officers and uniformed police targeting areas where they believe that truancy may be a problem such as shopping malls, internet cafes and railway stations. During these operations they approach any child who is of compulsory school age and enquire about why they are not at school. Students can be directed to return to school and again their details are provided to the school for follow up.
All secondary students who wish to leave school during normal school hours must carry a special leave pass issued by the school. This leave pass helps police and home school liaison personnel to identify students who are absent from school without good reason.
Where possible, family holidays should be taken during school vacations. If this is not possible, speak to the school principal when planning the holiday.