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When can I leave school?

When can I leave school?

What will happen if I don't go to school?

For more information

Unhappy at 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 Victoria, you have to go to school from the age of 6 until you turn 17 years old.  This can include home schooling.

If you’ve completed Year 10 but haven’t turned 17 yet, you can: 
  • Stay in school;
  • Do approved education and training (including TAFE, a traineeship or apprenticeship);
  • Work full-time (at least 25 hours a week);
  • Do a combination of work and approved education and training.

Whichever option you choose, you have to be working and/or studying for at least 25 hours a week.   To do any of these things, you will need to get your parents and school to fill in this form.

Your school doesn’t have to automatically let you leave and do these things. In making their decision, they will think about your well being, your reasons for wanting to leave school, your best interests, and how likely you are to go and do what you’ve said you want to do.

In very special circumstances, you can get permission to leave school before you finish Year 10.

For more information on all the options, check out this factsheet from YouthCentral.

What will happen if I don’t go to school?

If you don’t go to school, your parents can be fined or even taken to court.   But if you have a reasonable excuse (for example you are sick), it’s ok to miss a few days.   If you’re not going to show up at school, your parents have to let the school know. 

Also, if you don’t turn up at school, you can be stopped by a School Attendance Officer in a street or a public place and they can ask you for  your name and address.  It’s against the law if you don’t give this information to the Officer. 

For more information

Check out this factsheet on leaving school from Youth Central.

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. They can help you decide whether you want to stay in school, do a TAFE course, go to University or leave school to try and find a job.

Also check out this factsheet from on your options when leaving school: Reach Out.


This page was last updated on 9 March 2015.

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