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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?

In Tasmania, you have to stay in school until the end of the year when you turn 16. For example, if you turn 16 in July, you have to stay in school until December of that year. 

But until you’re 17, you have to continue full time in some kind of education and training for:

  • another year;  
  • until you have gained a certificate III vocational qualification;    or
  • until you have turned 17 years. 

Education and training can mean:

  • attending college or a district high school; 
  • enrolling at TAFE Tasmania; 
  • undertaking an apprenticeship or traineeship; 
  • doing a training course through a private provider;  
  • full time employment (for at least 25 hours a week)  
  • some combination of the above.  

For more information about school-based apprenticeships, check out this factsheet from Skills Tasmania.

You can also combine part-time employment with education and training which means you are taken to be in “full-time” education and training. You need permission to do this from the Education Department. To find how to apply for this, read this document and fill in the form at the end.


What happens if I don’t go to school or do the agreed education and/or training?

If you are under 17, your parents have to make sure that you go to school (or home-schooling) or do your agreed education and training. It’s OK if you have a reasonable excuse like you were sick or injured. Your parents could be fined you don’t go to school on a regular basis. 

If you miss a lot of school without a good reason, a liaison officer might go to your home to speak to you and your parents about why you haven’t been attending school. 


Unhappy 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. 

Also check out this factsheet from Reach Out.


Finally, you always send us a Lawmail if you have a specific question about something that’s going on.  



This page was last updated on 09 February 2015. 



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