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  • Sally Davies

The Law of School

It’s the start of the school year, and a new contingent of kindergarteners have started their schooling life.


But what does that “schooling life” look like? Short answer is, it depends on what state or territory the student is enrolled in.


So, what’s the law on schooling ages in each state and territory? Here’s a quick overview:

Starting school

Finishing school

NSW

Children can start kindergarten if they turn 5 on or before 31 July that year, and must have started school by their 6th birthday.

All children must complete Year 10.

From year 10 until the child turns 17, they must be:

  • in school or registered for home schooling;

  • employed in a full-time, paid position with an average of 25 hours per week; or

  • a combination of the above.

QLD

All children must attend one year of “Prep” and are eligible to enrol in Prep from the start of the school year in which they turn 5 by 30 June.

The compulsory school age is 6 years and 6 months.

Children must remain at school until the earlier of their 16th birthday, or they complete Year 10.

VIC

The compulsory school age is 6 years


Children must remain at school until they turn 17 unless they have received an exemption from enrolment or attendance.

TAS

Every child must attend school from the start of the year after they turn 5 (called “Prep”). They can also attend Kindergarten (“pre-Prep”) from when they turn 4.

​Children must remain at school until they complete Year 12, receive a Certificate III or turn 18. Children can apply for an exemption if they meet certain requirements (eg. if they have full time work).

SA

​If a child turns 5 on or before 1 May, they can be enrolled at the start of that school year.

If a child turns 5 after 1 May, they can be enrolled at the start of the following school year.


All children must have started school by their 6th birthday.


​Children must remain at school until they turn 16.


From 16 to 17 years of age, a child must be enrolled in school or an approved training program unless they achieve their South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) or other qualification or are employed full-time.


If a child wants to leave school at:

  • 15, they must have employment of at least 30 hours a week and receive an exemption; or

  • 16, they must have employment of at least 25 hours a week; and

  • If the employment finishes before the child turns 17, they must return to school.

WA

Children can start school in “kindergarten”, but school becomes compulsory the following year in “pre-primary”.


To enrol in kindergarten, the child must turn 4 by 30 June of that year. To enrol in pre-primary, the child must turn 5 by 30 June.

Children must remain at school until they turn 16.


16 to 17 year olds must stay enrolled at school or a training organisation, be employed, or a combination the above.


NT

​Children must be at school by their 6th birthday.


If a child turns 6 on or before 30 June, they must be enrolled at the start of the school year.


If a child turns 6 after 30 June, they must be enrolled at the start of the following school year.

​A child must complete Year 10. They must then either continue at school or be engaged in approved studies, training or employment (or a combination) until they turn 17.

ACT

Children can start kindergarten if they turn 5 on or before 31 July that year, and must have started school by their 6th birthday.

A child must complete Year 10. They must then be engaged in full-time education, training or employment until they complete year 12 or turn 17.

This article is not legal advice and the views and comments are of a general nature only. This article is not to be relied upon in substitution for detailed legal advice.

 

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