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education.vic.gov.au

Exemption from School Attendance and Enrolment

Policy last updated

15 June 2020

Scope

  • Schools

Contact

Wellbeing, Health and Engagement Division There are multiple contacts for this topic. Refer to the Contacts section in the policy for details.


Date:
February 2020

Policy

Policy

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that schools follow the correct process when authorising an exemption from attendance and enrolment.

Summary

Details

Schools must follow the Department’s exemption from school attendance and enrolment processes set out in the Exemption from Attendance and Enrolment Guidelines.

Attending school every school day for the whole day enables students to participate in the school’s educational program as well as develop their social skills. Regular attendance enables the school to:

  • plan an organised educational program that is delivered in a consistent way and has continuity
  • facilitate shared student learning experiences that support the educational program
  • monitor student progress and adjust the educational program to meet student needs

The Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic) allows exemptions from school attendance and enrolment to be granted in certain circumstances, where the student:

  • is a child who turns 6 (compulsory school age) while attending kindergarten
  • will be participating in approved education or training, or employment, or both, on a full time basis
  • is employed or seeking employment during school hours in the entertainment industry

An exemption from school attendance and enrolment may also be granted where leaving school is in the best interests of the student.

All applications for exemptions are considered on a case by case basis, with the student's best interests as the guiding principle for decision-making. In making a decision, the potential benefits or negative consequences of granting the exemption to the student's educational progress, wellbeing and development are also considered.

Note: No exemption is required if a student is not of compulsory school age (6 to 17 years of age).

A student must continue attending school until an exemption is granted.

Exemptions can only be authorised by a regional director, or in some instances, the principal.

For information on the various school attendance and enrolment exemption categories, and the application and approval process required for each exemption category, refer to the Guidance tab.

Contacts

Schools may contact their regional office for help or questions related to exemptions from school attendance or enrolment. 

Refer to Our office locations for contact details for each regional office.

Relevant legislation

Contact

Wellbeing, Health and Engagement Division There are multiple contacts for this topic. Refer to the Contacts section in the policy for details.


Guidance

Exemption from Attendance and Enrolment Guidelines

These guidelines explain the different exemption from attendance and enrolment categories, as well as the processes that must be followed to authorise an exemption from school attendance and enrolment.

They contain the following chapters:

  1. Exemption categories
  2. Exemption process — Students who have completed Year 10 and will participate full-time in approved education or training and/or employment 
  3. Exemption process — Students who have not completed Year 10 and will participate full-time in approved education or training and/or employment
  4. Exemption process — Students employed or seeking employment during school hours in the entertainment industry
  5. Exemption process — If leaving school is in best interests of the student

1 Exemption categories

1  Exemption categories 

This section:

  • outlines the circumstances in which an exemption from school attendance and enrolment may be sought
  • explains who can authorise the exemption
  • provides a link to the process for applying for an exemption contained in these guidelines

Circumstance: Child turns 6 (compulsory school age) while attending kindergarten
Who authorises: Regional Director. For process, see Participation and Engagement — Children of School Age Attending a Kindergarten Program (based on Ministerial Order 713).

Circumstance: The student has completed Year 10 and will participate in approved education or training, or employment, or both, on a full time basis
Who authorises: Principal. For process, refer to Chapter 2 — Students who have completed Year 10 and will participate in approved education, training or employment.

Circumstance: Student has not completed Year 10 of schooling and will participate in approved education or training, or employment, or both, on a full time basis
Who authorises: Regional Director following consideration by the Principal. For process, refer to Chapter 3 — Students who have not completed year 10 and will participate in approved education, training or employment.

Circumstance: Student is employed or seeking employment during school hours in the entertainment industry
Who authorises: Principal. For process, refer to Chapter 4 — Short-term Entertainment Industry Employment.

Circumstance: If leaving school is in best interests of the student.
Who authorises: Regional Director following consideration by the Principal. For process, refer to Chapter 5 — If leaving school is in student's best interests 


2 Exemption process — students who have completed Year 10 and will participate full-time in approved education or training and/or employment

2  Exemption process — students who have completed Year 10 and will participate full-time in approved education or training and/or employment

This section describes how to manage an attendance and enrolment exemption for students who have completed Year 10 and will participate in approved education or training, or employment on a full-time basis (Ministerial Order 705, Part 1) and who is responsible for each stage.

  1. Parent/carer —Approaches the school in writing about the student seeking to leave school.
  2. School — Speaks with the parents/carers and student about the:
    • student's goals, aspirations, issues and reasons for wanting to leave school (using a Career Action Plan)
    • student’s planned destination
    • possible alternatives to leaving school.
  3. Principal — To grant an exemption, the Principal must:
    • determine that the student meets the requirements for exemption;
    • 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;
    • assess the likelihood that the student will complete the education or training or stay with the employer while of compulsory school age;
    • consider if there are possible alternate arrangements to exemption;
    • consider the best interests of the student; and
    • complete the Exemption from School Application Form (formerly the School Exit form).

      Principals should then provide a copy of the completed Transition from School form (formerly the School Exit form) and any supporting documentation (such as letter of offer from an employer) to the student and Regional Office.

Principals should note the following definitions:

Full time basis means:

  • a course of education or training considered to be full time by the provider of the education or training; or
  • an average of at least 25 hours per week, subject to the following —
    • when computing the 25 hours, the time spent by the student in travelling to and from an education institution or employer is to be excluded; and
    • normal term and public holidays of an education institution and recreation leave and other leave entitlements if the student is in employment are excluded when calculating the average number of hours spent in education, training and employment per week

Approved education or training means: 

  • a course that leads to a qualification referred to in the Australian Qualifications Framework;
  • any other accredited course pertaining to Year 11 or 12
  • a course that can be used as credit towards a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education or is a vocational education and training pathway to a Diploma referred to in the AQF, or
  • the completion of education or training approved by the Secretary

3 Exemption process — Students who have not completed Year 10 and will participate full-time in approved education or training and/or employment

3  Exemption process — Students who have not completed Year 10 and will participate full-time in approved education or training and/or employment

This section describes how to manage an attendance and enrolment exemption for students who have not completed Year 10 and will participate in approved education or training and/or employment on a full time basis (Ministerial Order 705, Part 2) and who is responsible for each stage.

  1. Parent/carer — Approaches the school in writing about the student seeking to leave school.
  2. School — Speaks with the parents/carers and student about the:
    • student's goals, aspirations, issues and reasons for wanting to leave school (using a Career Action Plan)
    • student’s planned destination
    • possible alternatives to leaving school.
  3. Principal Must:
  4. Regional Director — To grant an exemption, the Regional Director must:
    • determine that the student meets the requirements for exemption;
    • 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
    • assess the likelihood that the student will complete the education or training or stay with the employer while of compulsory school age
    • consider if there are possible alternate arrangements to exemption; and
    • consider the best interests of the student
    • decide what, if any, conditions will apply to the exemption, for example, whether the exemption will be time-limited

      In considering the best interests of the student, the Regional Director should consider:
      • steps taken to keep the student in school
      • the likelihood of the student completing the education, training or staying with the employer if the exemption is granted
      • whether the proposed employment (if applicable) complies with the Child Employment Act 2003 (Vic), particularly whether it contains a training component
      • the likely outcome if the exemption is not granted.

        The Regional Director should then advise the school, the student and their parent/carer of his/her decision.

4 Exemption process — Students employed or seeking employment during school hours in the entertainment industry

4  Exemption process — Students employed or seeking employment during school hours in the entertainment industry

This section describes the stages in managing an attendance exemption for students employed or seeking employment during school hours in the entertainment industry (Ministerial Order 714) and who is responsible for each stage.

  1. Parent or carer Approach the school in writing.
  2. Principal — Consults the parents/carers and student about:
  3. Parent or carer:
  4. Employer — If the student is under 15 years of age, an Application for Child Employment Permit form (which requires principal endorsement) needs to be completed 
  5. Principal — To grant an exemption, the Principal must:
    • determine that the student meets the requirements for exemption
    • assess whether the exemption would adversely affect the student’s education, taking into account: 
      • the short and long term benefits to the student;
      • the student’s educational needs, attitudes and employment prospects; and
      • the views of the student’s family 
    • consider if there are possible alternate arrangements to exemption; and
    • if the exemption is from both enrolment and attendance at school, complete the Transition from School form (formerly the School Exit form).
      A copy of the decision to grant an exemption must be provided in writing to the student, and the relevant Regional Director, or, in relation to the decision of a Principal of a Catholic school, the Diocesan Director, Catholic Education Office within 7 days of the exemption being granted.

      Note: Where a principal assesses that the proposed employment will adversely affect the student’s education the application should not be endorsed.

      If the Principal refuses to grant an exemption, a notice of the decision of the Principal must be provided to the relevant Regional Director or Diocesan Director, within 7 days of the exemption being refused.

      A decision to refuse an exemption is subject to review and final determination by the relevant Regional Director or Diocesan Director, within 14 days of receipt of notice of the decision by the Principal.

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

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

Resources


Reviewed 23 March 2020