Children's Court New South Wales

About Compulsory schooling orders

What does compulsory schooling mean?

In NSW, all children between the ages of 6 and 17 must receive schooling. After completion of Year 10 a young person has alternative options to school if they have not reached the age of 17 years. These include full-time participation in one of the following:

  • Approved education or training.
  • Paid work, if the young person is 15 year or older (or a combination of paid work and education/training).

Parents have a duty to ensure that their child is enrolled in, and attends, a government or registered non-government school or is registered for and receives appropriate home schooling.

What is an application for compulsory schooling order?

Where a child’s school attendance is not satisfactory the Secretary of the Department of Education may apply to the Children's Court for an order that:

  • requires a parent of a child to ensure that the child receives compulsory schooling or 
  • requires a child to engage in compulsory schooling where the child is of or above the age of 12 years, and the Children's Court is satisfied that the child is living independently of his or her parents or that (because of the child's disobedience) the parents are not able to cause the child to receive compulsory schooling.

Compulsory schooling conference

The Children's Court may require a parent and/or a child to attend a conference with other relevant persons to:

  • identify and resolve issues leading to non-attendance
  • locate services that could assist the young person to attend school
  • propose undertakings and orders for consideration of the Children's Court.

The conference may be conducted by a Children's Registrar at court or by a person arranged by the Department of Education.  

Breach of compulsory schooling orders

Failure to comply with a compulsory schooling order is an offence.

Useful links

For more information, see these brochures about compulsory schooling:

Last updated:

08 May 2023

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