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When can I leave school?

If you are under 25 and you are unsure about your rights or responsibilities or what to do next, you can get free, confidential legal advice at Lawmail.

When can I leave school?

Can I get into trouble if I don't go to school?

Unhappy at school?


When can I leave school?

In New South Wales, you  have to go to school from when you turn 6 until you finish Year 10 or turn 17.

If you have finished Year 10 but you haven’t turned 17 yet, then you need to do one of the following things:

  • do some other form of education or training (like TAFE or an apprenticeship); 
  • do full time paid work (at least 25 hours a week);   or
  • do a combination of work, education and training.  

If you want to leave school before you finish Year 10 and do an apprenticeship, you have to get special permission.   Click here for more information on getting permission.


Can I get into trouble if I don't go to school?

If you don’t go to school between the age of 6 and 17, or don’t complete Year 10, your parents can be fined!   However, if you have a good reason for not attending school (for example, a medical condition) then it’s probably OK.

If you’re meant to be at school, a police officer or education officer with an ID card could approach you in a public place during school time to ask your name and address, the name of the school and take you either home or to school. 


Not happy at school?

If you’re not happy at school, it’s a good idea to talk to someone about what’s going on.   You may want to talk to your school counsellor or career counsellor.   A careers counsellor can also help you with information about school-based apprenticeships. School based apprenticeships let you complete an apprenticeship while completing Years 11 and 12 at the same time. School based apprentices work part-time and you may be able to count your work towards some of your Year 12 subjects. This might be a good idea if you do not know exactly what you would like to do in the future.

For more information on your options when deciding whether to stay in school, check out this site on leaving school.

Also check out this factsheet from Reach Out: 

If you have any more questions about leaving school, please send us a Lawmail.

This page was last updated 6 March 2015.






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