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Exemption from School Attendance and Enrolment

5  Exemption process — If leaving school is in best interests of the student 

This section describes the stages required to manage an attendance and enrolment exemption where leaving school is in the best interests of the student (Ministerial Order 715) and who is responsible for each stage.

Due to the possible long-term negative impact of leaving school early, this process should only be available in very exceptional circumstances (where it is determined that an exemption under Ministerial Order 705 is not appropriate) and must be approved by the relevant Department of Education Regional Director and involve the Manager, Youth Pathways and Transitions.

  1. Parent or carer — Approach the school in writing about the student seeking to leave school.
  2. School — Consults the parents/carers and student about:
    • the effect of exemption
    • identification of alternate arrangements to exemption​
  3. Principal — The Principal must: 
    • consider the best interests of the student and
    • seek support from the Manager, Youth Pathways and Transitions in their Region
    • determine that an exemption under Ministerial Order No. 705 (will participate on a full time basis in approved education or training, or employment or both) is not appropriate in the circumstances
    • complete the Exemption from School Application Form (formerly the School Exit form) and forward to the Regional Director for decision
  4. Regional Director — To grant an exemption, the Regional Director must:
    • determine that the student meets the requirements for exemption 
    • determine that an exemption under Ministerial Order No. 705 (will participate on a full time basis in approved education or training, or employment or both) is not appropriate in the circumstances
    • consider the wellbeing and development needs of the student, taking into account:
      • the student’s aspirations and reasons for wanting to leave school; and
      • the views of the student’s family, and
      • the best interests of the student
      • any possible alternate arrangements to exemption

In considering the best interests of the student, the Regional Director may:

  • wish to factor in:
    • steps taken to keep the student in school
    • the likelihood of the student entering and following a meaningful, sustainable pathway
    • the likely outcome if the exemption is not granted
  • advise the Principal whether the exemption is:
    • approved
    • approved for a specified time,
    • subject to conditions, or
    • not approved
Guidance chapter outlining the exemption process where leaving school is in the best interests of the student

Reviewed 18 January 2021

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