Education for your child is important and regular attendance at school is essential for them to achieve their educational best and increase their career and life options.
NSW public schools work in partnership with parents to encourage and support regular attendance of children and young people at school.
Compulsory Schooling in NSW
In NSW all children between the ages of six years and below the minimum school leaving age are legally required to enrol at, and attend school, or be registered for Home Schooling. All students must complete Year 10, or its equivalent 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.
Enrolled students 17 years and over, are required to attend school regularly to meet Higher School Certificate course requirements.
Information on compulsory school attendance for parents, schools and government and non-government agencies is available form the links below:
School Leaving Age Options
A flowchart to help you explore the school leaving age options for young people is available on the link below. Answer the questions and follow the pathway.
Frequently asked questions on the school leaving age are available from the link below:
Attendance and absences
Parents of children from Kindergarten to Year 12 have a responsibility to make sure their children attend school every day. On occasion, your child may need to be absent from school. Justified reasons for student absences may include:
- Being sick, or having an infectious disease
- Having an unavoidable medical appointment
- Being required to attend a recognised religious holiday
- Exceptional or urgent family circumstances e.g. attending a funeral
Parents are required to provide an explanation for absences to the school within 7 days from the first day of any period of absence. Parents can contact the school by telephone, written note, text message or email. Where an explanation has not been received within the 7 day timeframe, the school will record the absence as unjustified on your child's record.
Family Holidays and Travel
Families are encouraged to travel or holiday during school holidays. If this is not possible, speak to your child's school principal when planning the holiday about an Application for Extended Leave, or eligibility to enrol in Distance Education. Where the principal considers that the travel is appropriate a Certificate of Extended Leave will be issued. Absences relating to travel will be marked as leave on the roll and contribute to your child's total absences for the year.
The Application for Extended Leave can be downloaded from the following link:
Further information about Distance Education is available from the following link:
Supporting Regular School Attendance
School staff will work with parents to address the issues impacting on student attendance including prompt follow up of absences, student and parent interviews, referral to the school's Learning and Support Team and, where appropriate, linking student and their families with support agencies.
The Home School Liaison Program
Home school liaison officers (HSLOs) are specially trained teachers who are authorised attendance officers. They work with schools, students and their families to resolve attendance issues. Aboriginal student liaison officers (ASLOs) work specifically with Aboriginal students and their communities to improve attendance.