Exemption from School Attendance or Enrolment

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

Purpose of policy

To ensure student exemptions from attendance or enrolment at school are managed in accordance with Departmental requirements.

Prerequisite policy

Policy

Schools must follow the Department’s student exemption processes.

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 allows exemptions from school attendance and enrolment to be granted in certain circumstances. 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 (6-17 years of age).

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

Exemption Categories - Overview

This table outlines:

  • the circumstances in which an exemption from school attendance may be sought
  • who can authorise the exemption
  • a link to the process for applying for an exemption.
Circumstances​Who authorises​

Child turns 6 (compulsory school age) while attending kindergarten. ​

Regional Director

For process see: Participation and Engagement - Children of School Age Attending a Kindergarten Program  ​

Student has completed Year 12 or equivalent qualification, or the student has completed Year 10 and will participate in approved education or training, or employment, or both, on a full time basis.  ​

Principal

For process, see below: Students who have completed Year 10 and will participate in approved education, training or employment​

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.  ​

Regional Director following consideration by the Principal

For process, see below Students who have not completed year 10 and will participate in approved education, training or employment ​

Student is employed or seeking employment during school hours in the entertainment industry. ​

Principal

For process, see below: Short-term Entertainment Industry Employment​

If leaving school is in best interests of the student.    ​

Regional Director following consideration by the Principal

For process, see below: If leaving school is in student's best interests 

Exemption Application Process

Students who have completed Year 10 and will participate full-time in approved education or training and/or employment.

This table 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).

Stage​​Who​Description
1​Parent/carer​Approach the school in writing about the student seeking to leave school.​
2​School​

Speak with the parents/carers and student about the:

  • student's goals, aspirations, issues and reasons for wanting to leave school (using a Managed Individual Pathways plan)
  • student’s planned destination
  • possible alternatives to leaving school​.
3​​Principal

To grant an exemption, the Principal must:

a) determine that the student meets the requirements for exemption;

b) consider the wellbeing and development needs of the student, taking into account —
  (i) the student’s aspirations and reasons for wanting to leave school;  and
  (ii)  the views of the student’s family;

c) assess the likelihood that the student will complete the education or training or stay with the employer while of compulsory school age;

d) consider if there are possible alternate arrangements to exemption;

e) consider the best interests of the student; and

f) complete the Transition from School 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) a course of education or training considered to be full time by the provider of the education or training; or

b) an average of at least 25 hours per week, subject to the following —
  (i) 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
  (ii) 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) a course that leads to a qualification referred to in the Australian Qualifications Framework;

b) any other accredited course pertaining to Year 11 or 12;

c) 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

d) the completion of education or training approved by the Secretary.

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

This table describes how to manage an attendance and enrolment exemption for students 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).   

​Stage​Who​Description
1​Parent/carer​​Approach the school in writing about the student seeking to leave school.
​2School​

Speak with the parents/carers and the student about the:

  • student's goals, aspirations, issues and reasons for wanting to leave school (using a Managed Individual Pathways plan)
  • student’s planned destination
  • possible alternatives to leaving school​.
3​Principal​The Principal must — 

a) consider the best interests of the student; and

b) complete the Transition from School 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 —

a)  determine that the student meets the requirements for exemption;

b)  consider the wellbeing and development needs of the student, taking into account —
  (i) the student’s aspirations and reasons for wanting to leave school; and
  (ii)  the views of the student’s family;

c) assess the likelihood that the student will complete the education or training or stay with the employer while of compulsory school age;

d) consider if there are possible alternate arrangements to exemption; and

e) consider the best interests of the student.

f) 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, 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.​

Students employed or seeking employment during school hours in the entertainment industry

This table describes how to manage an attendance exemption for students employed or seeking employment during school hours in the entertainment industry (Ministerial Order 714). 

​Stage​Who​Description
1​Parent/carer​Approach the school in writing.​
2​Principal

Consults the parents/carers and student about:

  • the effect of exemption
  • identification of alternate arrangements to exemption.

For further guidance, see: Guidelines to exempt students from school for employment in the entertainment industry (pdf - 432.55kb)

3​Parent/carer​

Complete the Parental Consent to Employment of Child application form, see: Business Victoria, Forms - Parental Consent to Employment of Child

Complete the: Application form for school exemption for work in the entertainment industry (pdf - 48.72kb)

Submit the forms to the Principal.

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.

This completed form needs to be forwarded by the employer to the Department of State Development, Business and Innovation see: Business Victoria​ - Apply for child employment permit: Entertainment industry
5​Principal​

To grant an exemption, the Principal must —

a) determine that the student meets the requirements for exemption;

b) assess whether the exemption would adversely affect the student’s education, taking into account — 
  (i) the short and long term benefits to the student;
  (ii) the student’s educational needs, attitudes and employment prospects; and
  (iii) the views of the student’s family;

c) consider if there are possible alternate arrangements to exemption; and

d) 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 seven 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 seven 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 fourteen days of receipt of notice of the decision by the Principal​

If leaving school is in best interests of the student

This table describes how to manage an attendance and enrolment exemption where leaving school is in the best interests of the student (Ministerial Order 715).

​StageWho​​Description
1​Parent/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 — 

(a)  consider the best interests of the student; and

(b)  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;

(c) complete the Transition from School 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 —

(a) determine that the student meets the requirements for exemption;

(b) 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;

(c) consider the wellbeing and development needs of the student, taking into account — 
  (i) the student’s aspirations and reasons for wanting to leave school; and 
  (ii) the views of the student’s family; and

(d) consider the best interests of the student;

(e) consider if there are 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 or subject to conditions, or not approved.​

Related policies

Related legislation and Ministerial Orders

  • Education and Training Reform Act 2006
  • Ministerial Order 705 - student completes Year 12 equivalent, or will be engaged in at least 25 hours of approved education, training or employment
  • Ministerial Order 713 - child turns six years of age while attending a second year in kindergarten program
  • Ministerial Order 714 - student employed or seeking employment in the entertainment industry
  • Ministerial Order 715 - leaving school is in the student’s best interests

Department resources

Other resources

For more information on child employment see: Business Victoria - Employing children