Compulsory school attendance

Regular attendance at school is essential for students to achieve quality life outcomes. Schools, in partnership with parents, are responsible for promoting the regular attendance of students.

Attendance Policy

The School Attendance Policy sets out the requirements for the attendance of students in NSW government schools.

Compulsory schooling

Parents or carers of children of compulsory school age are responsible for ensuring their child attends school every day. Children must commence school by age 6 and then 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 (e.g. 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.

More information on compulsory school attendance is available below. (Note: these resources do not currently meet WCAG 2.0 accessibility requirements. Please contact Attendance to request alternative copies).

Attendance and absences

Parents of children from Kindergarten to Year 12 must ensure 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 must provide an explanation for absences to the school within 7 days from the first day of any period of absence. Where an explanation has not been received within the 7-day timeframe, the school will record the absence as unjustified on the student's record.

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