Leaving School

How old do you have to be to leave school?

Check your region below for specific information about how old you need to be before you can leave school.

There are certain restrictions on how many days that you can miss of school in a calendar year. If you fail to attend school on a frequent basis or for an extended period of time without a valid reason then your parents or guardian may be prosecuted and Child Protection notified.

If you are having difficulty with school you can talk to school guidance counsellors, a trusted adult or a counsellor.

Differences between states

Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory, you can leave school after completing Year 10 or after turning 17 years old (whichever occurs first). A student who completes Year 10, but is under 17 years old must participate in full time approved alternative education or training, full time employment or a combination of approved education or training and paid employment (unless an exemption applies).

ACT

In the ACT you cannot leave school until you have finished Year 10.  Then you will need to attend school, training or work full-time until you finish Year 12, or you turn 17.  If you want to leave school before you’re 17 to work or participate in work-related training, you’ll need to get an Approval Statement from the Department of Education.

Western Australia

In Western Australia you cannot leave school without the consent of your parents or guardian until you have finished the year in which you turned 17 and 6 months, or satisfied the minimum requirements for graduation from secondary school under the School Curriculum and Standards Act 1997. To satisfy the minimum requirement you must achieve the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE). Click here for more information on the WACE.

There are certain restrictions on how many days of school that you can miss in a calendar year. If you fail to attend school on a frequent basis or for an extended period of time without a valid reason then your parents or guardian may be prosecuted and Child Protection notified.

If you are having difficulty with school you can talk to school guidance counsellors, a trusted adult or a counsellor.

NSW

In NSW, you cannot leave school unless you are either 17 or have completed Year 10 and will undertake further approved education or training.

Victoria

In Victoria, you must stay at school until you are 17.  If you have completed Year 10, but still haven’t turned 17, you can leave school to participate in employment or education or training elsewhere, as long as you are enrolled in a approved course (like TAFE or an apprenticeship or traineeship), registered for homeschooling, or in full time paid employment (at least 25 hours per week).

South Australia

In SA, you can leave school once you turn 16, but you have to stay in some form of education or training, or a combination of work, education or training until you turn 17.

Tasmania

In Tasmania you cannot leave school until you have finished the school year in which you turned 16. This is usually Grade 10.

Queensland

In Queensland, you cannot leave school until you have finished the school year in the calendar year in which you turned 15, unless you have finished Grade 10.