Age to leave school

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When can I leave school?

In Western Australia, the law says you have to stay in school until you finish Year 10, turn 18 or get to the end of the year you turn 17 and a half. This can be a little confusing, so if you’re not sure, you can get help here.

If you want to leave school after year 10, you have to work or study full time in another education or training option (like full-time TAFE, apprenticeship, work, or a combination of these things). You can start your apprenticeship or traineeship while you are studying part-time at school, as long as your parent/guardian tells the Minister of Education in writing. You can find out more about how to apply here: http://det.wa.edu.au/participation/detcms/participation/participation/general-articles/combination-of-school-training-work.en?cat-id=318809

For more information about traineeships and apprenticeships go to: http://www.apprenticeships.training.wa.gov.au/.

If you want to work full-time, you’ll need to get permission from the Department of Education. You can find out more about how to apply here: http://det.wa.edu.au/participation/detcms/participation/participation/general-articles/full-time-work.en?cat-id=318809

What happens if I don’t go to school

You can be fined if you do not go to the schooling program you’re enrolled in. Your parents can also be fined if they aren’t making sure you’re going to your program.

If you miss a lot of school without a good reason, your principal can send you to an Attendance Panel. This is a group of people who will talk to you and your parents about why you aren’t coming to school, and they will try and work out a way to get you to come to school more often.

If you have chosen to leave school after Year 10,  you must follow the rules and requirements of whatever program you’ve chosen (e.g. an apprenticeship). If you do not follow these requirements, you may have to go back to school again until the end of the year that you turn 17 years and six months old, or until you turn 18 (whichever comes first).

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: http://au.reachout.com/thinking-about-dropping-out#not

If you have any more questions about leaving school, you can get help here.

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The law is different in each state and territory. Please select your state or territory to view legal information that applies to you.