School operations


2 The importance of full time attendance

Schooling is compulsory for children and young people aged from 6 to 17 years unless an exemption from attendance or enrolment has been granted.

Daily school attendance is important for all children and young people to succeed in education and to ensure they don't fall behind both socially and developmentally. Children and young people who regularly attend school and complete Year 12 or an equivalent qualification have better health outcomes, better employment outcomes, and higher incomes across their lives. It is important that children develop habits of regular attendance at an early age.

School participation is important as it maximises life opportunities for children and young people by providing them with education and support networks. School helps people to develop important skills, knowledge and values which set them up for further learning and participation in their community.

Conversely, limited school participation is associated with a greater chance of dropping out of school, disruptive and delinquent behaviour and may lead to a cycle of rebellion against authority. These outcomes have later implications for employment, a range of health risk behaviours (drug and alcohol abuse), homelessness, poverty, welfare dependence, and involvement in the justice system. For more information, visit Student Attendance and Educational Outcomes: Every Day CountsExternal Link .

It is acknowledged that for some children and young people mainstream school environments may not always be the most appropriate settings. For the purpose of this document, participation in an approved re­-engagement program is considered attendance at school. For more information, refer to the Department's policy on Re-engagement Programs.

Students are expected to attend the school in which they are enrolled, during normal school hours every day of each term, unless:

  • there is an approved exemption from school attendance for the student, or
  • the student is registered for home schooling and has only a partial enrolment in a school for particular activities

A student is considered to be in attendance at school when involved in an offsite curriculum program or other activity organised by the school (for example an excursion or camp), or where the student is engaged in a re-engagement program or another school part time to make up full time attendance and the schools or settings have agreed the time fractions, allocation of Student Resource Package (or other funding) and the educational plan for the student.

Home schooling in Victoria is a legally recognised alternative to attending a registered school. Parents who wish to home school their child must satisfy the requirements of the Victorian Regulation and Qualifications Authority. For more information, refer to the Department's policy on Home Schooling and Partial Enrolments.

Chapter 2 of the Attendance Guidelines outlining what constitutes attendance and why it is important for students

Reviewed 28 May 2020

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