Attendance

Below is a chronological list of policies that have set out the requirements for the attendance of students in NSW government schools since 1848.

YearAttendance legislation
1848From the beginning of the government school system in 1848 until 1880 school attendance was not compulsory in NSW.
1880The Public Instruction Act 1880 required the attendance of children between the ages of 6 and 14 years for a period of no less than 70 days every half-year. Exemptions could be granted if the child lived more than two miles from the nearest school, was under regular instruction, incapacitated through sickness or other unavoidable causes, or was already educated to the required standard.
1916The Public Instruction (Amendment) Act 1916 required the attendance of children between the ages of 7 and 14 for two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon every school day. Exemptions could be granted for similar reasons to those allowed in the 1880 Act, but children older than 11 years could not be exempt unless required to walk more than three miles to school.
1939The Child Welfare Act 1939 required the attendance of children between the ages of 6 and 14 years under the same conditions as the 1916 Act.
1940The Youth Welfare Act 1940 required the attendance of children between the ages of 6 and 15 under the same conditions as the 1916 Act. The higher school leaving age was phased in from 14 years 4 months in 1941 to 14 years 8 months in 1942, and to 15 in 1943.
1944The Public Instruction (Blind and Infirm Children) Amendment Act 1944 required the attendance of blind and infirm children between the ages of 6 and 15 at special schools in their district, who were previously not educable by ordinary methods of instruction. The Act came into effect in January 1948.
1990The Education Act 1990 made it the duty of the parent of a child of or above the age of 6 and below the age of 15 to enrol the child at a government school or registered non-government school and to attend the school at all times when the school is open for the child's instruction or participation in school activities, or to be registered for home schooling under Division 6 of Part 7 and to receive instruction in accordance with the conditions to which the registration is subject.
2010The Education Amendment Act 2009 raised the minimum school leaving age to 17 with effect from January 1, 2010. Students under the age of 17 can only leave school if they have completed the Record of School Achievement (RoSA) and a) participated on a full-time basis in approved education and training or b) if the student is 15 years or older, paid work or a combination of approved education or training and paid work.
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