Exemptions from Compulsory Schooling and Compulsory Participation

Version Number

3.6

Implementation Date

6/02/2015

Scope

All state and non-state schools.

Purpose

​An exemption from compulsory​ schooling or the compulsory participation phase is available when a child or a young pers​on cannot attend or it would be unreasonable in all the circumstances for them to attend school or participate in an eligible option for a period of more than 10 consecutive school days.

This procedure outlines the process for applying for an exemption from compulsory schooling and compulsory participation phase.​​

Overview

​The exemption excuses parents from their legal obligation to ensure that their child:

  • of compulsory school age is enrolled at or attends a school, or
  • in the compulsory participation phase, is participating full-time in an eligible option.

In the following circumstances, a parent of a child who is of compulsory school age is automatically relieved of their legal obligations and an exemption is not required where the child is:

  • undertaking activities under Commonwealth law
  • provisionally registered or registered for home education
  • suspended from school
  • excluded from a state school or certain state schools, during the time reasonably required to enrol the student in another state or non-state school  or to provisionally register for home education 
  • prevented from attending because they are subject to direction or declaration in relation to an infectious or contagious disease or condition
  • there is an application for enrolment pending at a state school
  • an apprentice or trainee under the Further Education and Training Act 2014.

In the following circumstances, a parent of a young person in the compulsory participation phase is automatically relieved of their legal obligations and an exemption is not required where the young person is:

  • suspended from school
  • excluded from all state schools 
  • excluded from a state school or certain state schools, during the time reasonably required to enrol the student in another state or non-state school  or to provisionally register for home education 
  • prevented from attending because they are subject to direction or declaration in relation to an infectious or contagious disease or condition
  • there is an application for enrolment pending at a state school
  • an apprentice or trainee under the Further Education and Training Act 2014
  • engaged in full-time work (25 hours per week or more)
  • enrolled in a non-departmental employment skills program
  • undertaking activities under Commonwealth law
  • provisionally registered or registered for home education.

Once the student or their parent has been notified of the outcome of their request for an exemption, they have the right to request a review of the decision.

Cancellation of an exemption from compulsory schooling may occur when:

  • the ground for the issue of the exemption no longer applies to the child, or
  • a condition of the exemption has been contravened.

A parent may apply for an exemption from compulsory schooling for their child. Either a parent or a young person may apply for an exemption from the compulsory participation phase. Applications for exemption must include signed consent of a parent.

A decision maker may decide to:

  • grant an exemption without conditions, or
  • grant an exemption with conditions, or
  • grant an exemption for a lesser period than applied for or the full period applied for, or
  • grant an exemption partially (only available for compulsory participation phase), or
  • refuse to grant an exemption.

Situations where exemptions may apply include, but are not limited to: 

  • illness 
  • family reasons 
  • cultural or religious reasons.
Parents will not be liable for prosecution in relation to failure to enrol or attend:
  • while an application for exemption is being processed
  • for a period of 14 days after an exemption decision is made
  • until the exemption application lapses.

Responsibilities

Principals (state schools) are responsible for determining if an exemption is the best option in meeting a student's educational and other needs, and approving exemptions for students enrolled in their school.

Principals (non-state schools) are responsible for determining if an exemption is the best option in meeting a student’s educational and other needs, and approving exemptions for students enrolled in their school. Non-state school principals may only approve applications for exemption that are for up to and including 110 school days in a calendar year and that do not cause the total period of exemptions granted in the year to exceed 110 school days.

Manager, Office of Non-State Education is responsible for approving any exemption for a student enrolled in a non-state school that is for more than 110 school days or that would cause the total period of exemptions granted to exceed 110 school days in a calendar year.

Principal Advisor Education Services, Principal Advisor Regional Services, Director Regional Services are responsible for monitoring regional records of students exemptions and approving exemptions for students who are not currently enrolled at any state or non-state school.

Regional Directors are responsible for monitoring regional records of student exemptions and approving, where appropriate, exemptions for students who are not currently enrolled at any state or non-state school.

Process

For students enrolled in a state school, Principals (state schools):
For children and young people NOT enrolled in any state or non-state school in Queensland, Regional Directors, Principal Advisors Education Services, Principal Advisors Regional Services, or Directors Regional Services:
  • provide the information sheet and application form to student or their parent seeking an exemption
  • follow the same processes above as for students enrolled in a state school
  • open a student learning account with the Queensland Studies Authority (QSA) for a young person in the compulsory participation phase, in line with the Management of Student Accounts (QSA Learning Accounts) procedure
  • contact the parent and/or student each term (either by telephone or in writing) and ascertain whether:
    • circumstances that led to the granting of the exemption still apply
    • conditions placed on exemption are being met
    • arrangements have been made to resume compulsory schooling or compulsory participation once the exemption period expires.
  • follow the same processes for cancelling exemptions above as for students enrolled in a state school.

For students enrolled in non-state schools applying for an exemption for up to and including 110 school days, Principals (non-state schools):

  • provide the application form to an applicant
  • consider applications and supporting documents to inform decisions about whether or not to grant an exemption
  • ensure that the approval of the exemption would not cause the total period of exemptions granted to exceed 110 school days in the year
  • if the approval of the application would cause the total period of exemptions granted to exceed 110 school days in the year, complete the approved application form and forward it to the Manager, Office of Non-State Education for their decision
  • ensure the applicant has access to copies of all information used in decision making
  • request further information from the applicant if necessary
  • document the decision-making process, keeping in mind that all exemption decisions can be reviewed
  • as soon as practicable, inform the applicant (parent/student) about the exemption decision, making sure that the exemption includes the following information, as required under s.190(2) (compulsory schooling) and s.249(2) (compulsory participation) of the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006:
    • the day the exemption is issued
    • the name of the student to whom the exemption relates
    • the day the exemption expires
    • any conditions on which the exemption is granted
    • whether the principal has granted any other exemptions for the student in the year in which the exemption is granted and, if so, the period of each exemption
    • for students in the compulsory participation phase only – whether it is a full or partial exemption and, if it is partial, the extent to which the person is excused from participation
  • record details of the exemption in the school’s exemptions register, to be retained for at least five years from the day the decision was made, and, for each approved application, include the information required under s.190(2) or s.249(2)
  • follow the same processes for cancelling exemptions above as for students enrolled at a state school
  • provide information about exemption decisions upon receipt of a notice from the Director-General

For students enrolled in non-state schools applying for an exemption that is for more than 110 school days or would cause the total period of exemptions granted in the school year to exceed 110 school days, the Manager, Office of Non-State Education:

  • considers applications and supporting documents to inform decisions about whether or not to grant an exemption
  • request further information from the applicant if necessary, ensuring a timeframe is stated in which the additional information is to be provided. An extension of this timeframe may be granted.
  • If the principal of the non-state school has declined to recommend that the exemption be granted, a copy of the application is forwarded to the parent or young person to allow them the opportunity to provide further information to support their application
  • documents the decision-making process, keeping in mind that all exemption decisions can be reviewed
  • as soon as practicable, informs the applicant (parent/student) in writing regarding the exemption decision.
  • follows the same processes for cancelling exemptions above as for students enrolled in a state school.

Online Resources

Review Date

14/07/2016
Attribution CC BY

Compulsory school age (Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 section 9) 
A child is of compulsory school age if the child is at least 6 years and 6 months, and less than 16 years.

However, a child is no longer of compulsory school age if the child has completed year 10.

Compulsory participation phase (Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 section 231)
A young person's compulsory participation phase starts when s/he stops being of compulsory school age (i.e. turns 16 or completes Year 10 whichever comes first) and ends when the person:

  • gains a Certificate of Achievement, Senior Statement, Certificate III or Certificate IV or
  • has participated in eligible options for 2 years after the person stopped being of compulsory school age or
  • turns 17.

Eligible option (Education (General Provisions) Act section 232)
An eligible option is a recognised education or training program or course, offered by a recognised provider, which will enable a young person to gain a senior certificate and/or a Certificate III or IV. Eligible options and providers are listed in the following table:

 

​Eligible Option ​Provider
​An educational program provided under the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (Qld) ​a State school
​An educational program provided under the Education (Accreditation of Non-State Schools) Act 2001 (Qld) ​a non-State school
​A course of study under the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (Cwlth) ​a registered higher education provider
​A VET course under the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 (Cwlth) ​a registered training organisation
​An apprenticeship or traineeship under the Further Education and Training Act 2014 (Qld) ​a registered training organisation
​A departmental employment skills development program under the Further Education and Training Act 2014 (Qld) ​the chief executive administering the Further Education and Training Act 2014