Older News  » Compulsory School Attendance Information for Parents

Last updated 4:28 PM on 19 July 2017

What if my child has to be away from school?

On occasion, your child may need to be absent from school. Justified reasons for student absences may include:

  • being sick, or having an infectious disease
  • having an unavoidable medical appointment
  • being required to attend a recognised religious holiday
  • exceptional or urgent family circumstance (e.g. attending a funeral)

Following an absence from school you must ensure that within 7 days you provide your child's school with a verbal or written explanation for the absence. However, if the school has not received an explanation from you within 2 days, the school may contact you to discuss the absence.


Principals may decline to accept an explanation that you have provided if they do not believe the absence is in the best interest of your child. In these circumstances your child's absence would be recorded as unjustified. When this happens the principal will discuss their decision with you and the reasons why.


Principals may request medical certificates or other documentation when frequent or long term absences are explained as being due to illness. Principals may also seek parental permission to speak with medical specialists to obtain information to collaboratively develop a health care plan to support your child. If the request is denied, the principal can record the absences as unjustified.



Families are encouraged to travel during school holidays. If travel during school term is necessary, discuss this with your child's school principal. An Application for Extended Leave may need to be completed. Absences relating to travel will be marked as leave on the roll and therefore contribute to your child's total absences for the year.


In some circumstances students may be eligible to enroll in distance education for travel periods over 50 school days. This should be discussed with your child's school principal.


The importance of arriving on time

Arriving at school and class on time:

  • Ensures that students do not miss out on important learning activities scheduled early in the day
  • Helps students learn the importance of punctuality and routine
  • Give students time to greet their friends before class
  • Reduces classroom disruption

Lateness is recorded as a partial absence and must be explained by parents.


My child won't go to school. What should I do?

You should contact the principal as soon as possible to discuss the issue and ask for help. Strategies to help improve attendance may include a referral to the school's learning and support team or linking your child with appropriate support networks. The principal may seek further support from the Home School Liaison Program to develop an Attendance Improvement Plan.


What age can my child leave school?

All New South Wales students must complete Year 10 or its equivalent. After Year 10, and up until they reach 17 years of age, there are a range of flexible options for students to complete their schooling.