education.vic.gov.au

Policy last updated

7 September 2023

Scope

  • Schools

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)External Link 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 Office locationsExternal Link for contact details for each regional office.

Relevant legislation


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 ProgramExternal Link (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 (PDF)External Link , 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
      • 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
    • complete the Exemption from school application form (DOCX)External Link (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 (PDF)External Link , 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),External Link 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 process for all Victorian school principals (Government, Catholic and Independent) to exempt students from school attendance for employment during school hours in the entertainment industry. This guidance reflects the requirements of Ministerial Order 714 (PDF)External Link (staff login required) and other relevant legislation.

Overview

It is the principal’s responsibility to review requests for exemptions, and they must follow the specifications set out in Ministerial Order 714 when making their decision. At a school, only the principal may grant an exemption – other school staff are not permitted to decide on an application. Parents/carers may seek a review of refused applications from the regional director (or diocesan director for Catholic schools).

The school principal is responsible for deciding any tutoring and additional educational conditions (outlined below) required as part of the exemption, as well as the period of the exemption (not exceeding 12 months).

Wage Inspectorate is available to work with principals to discuss any questions or concerns they may have regarding a student engaged in employment or applying for an exemption. Principals may visit the Wage Inspectorate Victoria websiteExternal Link or contact the Wage Inspectorate by phone on 1800 287 287 or email childemployment@wageinspectorate.vic.gov.au for more information.

Requests for exemption from school attendance

A written exemption is required for any student to be employed in the entertainment industry during school hours. An exemption is not required for employment outside of school hours.

To apply for an exemption, the student’s parent/carer must submit a: School attendance exemption for employment in the entertainment industry (application) form (DOCX)External Link to the student’s school.

It is the responsibility of the parents/carers to ensure that the sections of the form for parents/carers are completed. Incomplete applications should not be accepted by the school and should be returned to the parents/carers. Schools should support parents/carers to complete the application if they ask for assistance. Schools requiring assistance with applications may contact their regional/diocesan office or the Wage Inspectorate Victoria (contact details are at the end of this chapter).

After receiving the application, principals are required to complete their sections of the form and decide if the exemption is to be granted or refused, including considering relevant conditions (refer to the considerations for granting or refusing an exemption section below).

The principal must provide a copy of the completed form and decision to the following:

  • the student/parent/carer (within 7 days)
  • the Department of Education regional director for government and independent schools or diocesan director for Catholic schools (within 7 days).

Parents/carers may have conversations with the principal before submitting an application. However, the principal must provide their decision on the application in writing. An application must be submitted for all exemptions, and a decision is not confirmed until it is in writing.

Considerations for granting or refusing an exemption

The principal must consider the following when deciding about an exemption:

  • whether the child meets the requirements for exemption, including that they are of compulsory school age and the proposed employment is in the entertainment industry. Entertainment means any form of entertainment and includes:
    • singing, dancing, or acting
    • playing a musical instrument
    • appearing in a radio, television, film or internet program or production or any similar program or productions
    • modelling
    • appearing in promotional events or advertising
    • working as a photographic subject, whether still or moving
    • working in or in relation to a circus
    • taking part in a performance that is recorded for use in a subsequent entertainment or exhibition
    • work in musical theatre, plays, operas or other live entertainment
    • performing in a shopping centre
    • preparatory activities to the entertainment (except screen tests before the child is booked for the entertainment or casting walk-ons)
  • whether the application has been submitted by at least one parent/carer of the child
  • whether the exemption would adversely affect the student’s education, considering:
    • the short and long-term benefits to the student
    • the student’s educational needs, attitudes, and employment prospects
    • the family’s views. In the case of separated parents, the parent applying for the exemption should have parental responsibility. The principal may refuse the exemption if they are aware that another party with parental responsibilities does not consent to the application. Principals may request and sight any parental orders or other court orders that may impact parental responsibility
  • whether there are possible alternate arrangements to exemption, for example, whether the work could be undertaken after school or on weekends.

Under the Mandatory Code of Practice for the Employment of Children in Entertainment (2014) (the Code), students under the age of 15 have limitations on the number of hours that they can work. The student’s employer holds responsibility for ensuring this is not exceeded. However, principals should consider these maximum hours when assessing the impact of any exemption on the student’s education.

Principals may visit the Wage Inspectorate Victoria websiteExternal Link or contact the Wage Inspectorate by phone on 1800 287 287 or email childemployment@wageinspectorate.vic.gov.au for more information.

If the principal grants the exemption, they will:

  • decide if any educational requirements or conditions are required as part of the exemption
  • specify the date/s of the exemption (exemptions may not be approved for more than 12 months).

Principals should not engage directly with a student’s potential employer about the amount of tutoring to be specified as a condition of an exemption or be influenced by a potential employer. Principals are required to assess an application against the considerations detailed above.

Regional and diocesan directors will review applications against the same criteria (as detailed above).

Tutoring and educational requirements and conditions

When granting an exemption, principals must decide whether any educational requirements or conditions are required (for example, the development of an individual education plan or an absence learning plan), including the amount of any tutoring and in what subjects. Examples of requirements or conditions may also include sitting exams or attending certain school functions, events and/or classes.

Where a student is absent for more than 3 days an Absence learning plan (DOCX)External Link should be developed by the school in consultation with the parent/carer and student.

If the student is in Out-of-Home Care (OOHC), Koorie, or supported under individualised disability funded programs including the Program for Students with Disabilities and Disability Inclusion an Individual education plan is required.

If the student is under 15 and a principal specifies tutoring as a condition of the exemption, the Code requires the student’s employer to engage a tutor to provide the education required. The tutor must be a registered teacher who is appropriately qualified to teach the student having regard to their age and level of education.

If the student is under 15 years and the principal does not specify a period of education through tutoring, the Code sets minimum education requirements. The Code requires that once a student is absent from school for the equivalent of 9 days for employment with the same employer, the employer must engage a tutor to provide at least 2 hours of education on each school day for the remainder of the employment (or an average of 10 hours of tutoring per week over a 4-week period).

The employer must ensure the tutor is given a proper opportunity to consult with the student’s school and develop an education plan for the student in consultation with the school, which can take the place of an absence learning plan.

This normally involves the tutor being allocated time to visit the child’s school and meet with the class teacher or principal and develop an individual education plan to meet the needs of the child. There is usually ongoing liaison during the course of the employment to monitor progress and vary the plan as required.

The Code also requires that:

  • tutors are registered teachers who are appropriately qualified to teach the student having regard to their age and level of education
  • the employer must provide an area of sufficient space and facilities of sufficient quality to enable the tutor to provide appropriate education to the child
  • the employer must ensure exclusive access to the area and facilities for the tutor and student while education is being provided
  • the employer must ensure they keep records of the hours of tutoring provided to the student and the curriculum covered
  • the employer is responsible for covering tutoring expenses (unless the tutoring is in excess of those required to be provided in accordance with the Code).

If the principal wishes to amend any tutoring or other education requirements or conditions, they must record the changes in writing by:

  • making an amendment to the application form, or
  • providing official notice detailing the amendments (for example, via a letter or email on school letterhead).

The principal must then forward a copy of the changes to the student/parent/carer and the regional/diocesan director.

Principal concerns regarding exemption applications or students employed in the entertainment industry

The Department of Education and the Wage Inspectorate Victoria work in partnership to manage students employed in the entertainment industry. Serious issues or breaches will be dealt with collaboratively between the department and the Wage Inspectorate and the student’s school.

If a principal has concerns about a student regarding employment in the entertainment industry, they should contact the agencies listed below with their concerns.

Contact Wage Inspectorate Victoria for concerns or questions regarding:

  • a lack of contact by the student's tutor or concerns about the education plan
  • a student/employer not meeting educational conditions set out as part of the exemption compliance
  • making a decision to grant or refuse an exemption based on the number of previous absences the student has had from school for employment
  • employer conduct
  • possible breaches of child employment legislation or the Code.

Wage Inspectorate may contact a principal if they have concerns regarding a student. Schools are encouraged to contact Wage Inspectorate with any other queries, who can help respond to or direct the query.

Contact the regional or diocesan office for concerns regarding:

  • completion of the application form
  • advice regarding the decision to grant or refuse an exemption
  • parent/carer conduct.

For concerns regarding attendance and absences, principals must first follow the Attendance policy and guidance available on the Policy and Advisory Library.

Review of refused exemptions

Parents/carers may email their Department of Education regional office (or diocesan Catholic education office for Catholic schools) to ask for a review of a principal’s decision to refuse an exemption for a student for employment in the entertainment industry within 14 days of the decision being handed down.

Parents/carers should attach a copy of the completed application and the principal’s decision to their email request and any other information they wish to be considered. Contact details for Department of Education regional offices and diocesan Catholic education offices are at the end of this page.

In considering the application, the regional/diocesan director uses the same considerations to make their decision as the principal (see the considerations for granting or refusing an exemption section above).

Regional/diocesan directors may seek further information, including from the principal and parent/carer, before making their decision.

As with the principal, if granting the exemption, the regional/diocesan director must:

  • decide if any educational requirements or conditions are required as part of the exemption.
  • specify the date/s of the exemption (exemptions may not be approved for more than 12 months).

The regional/diocesan director will provide a copy of the final decision in writing to the:

  • student/parent/carer
  • principal.

Submitting completed forms

Government and independent schools

Government and independent schools must send completed copies of all applications to:

North eastern Victoria

Phone: 1300 333 231
Email: nevr@education.vic.gov.au

North western Victoria

Phone: 1300 338 691
Email: nwvr@education.vic.gov.au

South eastern Victoria

Phone: 1300 338 738
Email: sevr@education.vic.gov.au

South western Victoria

Phone: 1300 333 232
Email: swvr@education.vic.gov.au

To assist Independent schools to identify which Department of Education region they are in, please visit:

Regional model: Department of EducationExternal Link

Catholic schools

Catholic schools must send completed copies of all applications to their diocesan director. Information on diocesan Catholic education offices is available at:

DiocesesExternal Link

Catholic education office Melbourne

Phone: 03 9267 0228

Catholic education office Ballarat

Phone: 03 5337 7135

Catholic education office Sale

Phone: 03 5622 6600

Catholic education office Sandhurst

Phone: 03 5443 2377

Further information

More information on child employment is available on the Wage Inspectorate Victoria websiteExternal Link , including:

To contact a Wage Inspectorate, contact Wage Inspectorate Victoria by phone on 1800 287 287 or by email at childemployment@wageinspectorate.vic.gov.au

For more information on who is responsible for decisions about students, including the common decisions that need to be made in relation to their education and welfare, see:

Decision Making Responsibilities for Students


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 (PDF)External Link ) 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 (DOCX)External Link (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