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Student Attendance and Applications for Leave

In 2012 the NSW Government introduced a number of amendments to the legislation relating to student attendance and applications for leave. In 2015 the Minister for Education instituted further changes to the process of the recording of attendance and applying for absence from School.

There a number of categories under which an application for absence from school may be submitted:

  1. Application for a Certificate of Extended Leave (travel/vacation)

From 2015, under changes to the legislation, any family holiday taken during term time will be counted as absence unless there are exceptional unavoidable circumstances as defined by the criteria below. Families are requested to holiday or travel during school vacation time only. A Certificate of Exemption no longer applies to family holidays/travel taken during term time. If ‘in-term holidays’ are unavoidable, parents are to apply to the Principal for Leave using the Application for Extended Leave (travel/vacation) form providing as much supporting evidence as possible.

Parents need to submit an Application for Extended Leave (travel/vacation) to the Principal for approval at least 2 weeks prior to the requested travel period. If the reason for requesting leave is in keeping with the requirements under the Education Act and considered to be in the student’s best academic interests, the Principal will accept the request and either the Leave will be granted and the absence will be recorded as ‘L’ (Leave/Absence). If the Principal does not accept the request for Leave, it will be recorded as ‘A’ (Unexplained / Explained but Unjustified Absence).

If leave is approved by the Principal, a Certificate of Extended Leave will be issued and emailed to parents. Parents will also be notified by email if leave is not approved.

A copy of all Leave documents will be kept on the student’s file. The original copy of the Certificate of Extended Leave is to be kept by parents in case it is requested by border control or other authorities.

Under what conditions might leave for an “in-term holiday” be considered?

  • Funeral of a close family member e.g. grandparent, parent, sibling
  • Religious ceremony such as rites of initiation or wedding of an immediate family member e. grandparent, parent, sibling
  • Travel associated with elite sport, State or Federal representation, or extension programs

 

  1. Application for a Certificate of Exemption from Attendance at School

An Application for a Certificate of Exemption is still required for all non-holiday related requests for Leave. These include:

  • exceptional domestic circumstances
  • other exceptional circumstances – for example, a specialist appointment that cannot be made any other time;
  • direction under section 42D of the Public Health Act, 1991
  • participation in elite sports or elite arts programs
  • employment in the entertainment industry
  • school representation in a sporting, cultural or educational event

Parents need to submit an Application for Exemption from Attendance at School form to the Principal for approval at least 2 weeks prior to the requested Exemption period. If the reason for requesting an exemption is in keeping with the requirements under the Education Act and considered to be in the student’s best academic interests, the Principal or his delegate will accept the request and an Exemption will be granted and the absence will be recorded as “L” (Leave/Absence). If the Principal or his delegate does not accept the request for an Exemption or Leave, it will be recorded as “A” (Unexplained or Explained but Unjustified Absence).

If an Exemption is approved by the Principal, a Certificate of Exemption will be issued and emailed to parents. Parents will be notified by email if leave/exemption is not approved.

A copy of all Leave/Exemption documents will be kept on the student’s file. The original copy of the Certificate of Exemption is to be kept by parents in case it is requested by authorities.

The Application for Extended Leave and Application for Exemption from Attendance Forms can be found on the Student Parent Portal

 

Notes Regarding Extended Leave or Exemption from Attendance Applications

The following must be taken into consideration when applying for Extended Leave or Exemption from Attendance:

  1. The Education Act requires that students are at school unless they are ill or there are exceptional circumstances. A family holiday is not considered, under the Act, to be an exceptional circumstance. It is an expectation that a request for leave during Term time will be made well in advance and at least 2 weeks prior to the requested leave period, to ensure that any special arrangements can be put in place if Leave is granted.

 

  1. Leave during Years 10 to 12. Years 10-12 are required by the New South Wales Educational Standards Authority (NESA) to meet specific course hours, course outcomes, and scheduled assessment tasks. It is extremely difficult to grant leave because of these NESA requirements. Students who are seeking Extended Leave or an Exemption from Attendance will need to speak to the Assistant Principal (Curriculum), to determine how they might complete all NESA assessment and coursework requirements. If Leave is approved, any assessment task due scheduled during the leave period will need to be completed prior to departure unless a suitable arrangement can be made with the Assistant Principal (Curriculum), to complete the task at a later date. Formal documentary evidence will need to be provided to justify leave when an assessment task is scheduled during the leave period.
  • If Leave/Exemption has not been granted, and a student misses an Assessment Task, a mark of zero will be recorded.
  1. Students in Years 7 to 9. Years 7-9 are also required by NESA to meet specific course hours, course outcomes, and scheduled assessment tasks. In the case of Extended Leave or an Exemption from Attendance being granted where there is an in-class assessment task scheduled during this period, parents must write to the Academic Head requesting a re-scheduling of the task. The task(s) is/are to be completed prior to departure wherever possible. If this is not possible, the student will complete an alternative task upon return to school for each subject involved. The date for the re-scheduled task must be arranged with the Academic Head prior to departure. The mark for this alternative task will be the basis of an estimate. Failure to do this will result in a zero mark being awarded. Any hand-in tasks which are due during the period for which Leave has been granted, must be submitted prior to departure.
  • If Leave/Exemption has not been granted, and a student misses an Assessment Task, a mark of zero will be recorded.

Additionally, students must speak to each of their teachers to find out from their class teacher what work will be covered during the leave period. They must catch up on all work missed as well as ensuring that any class assignments or home learning tasks are completed and submitted.

 

Application for Exemption for Enrolment at School for a Year 10 student who wishes to participate in a full-time Apprenticeship or Traineeship

A student under the age of 17 who has not completed Year 10 must remain at school unless he/she has been granted an exemption from attending school. Under Section 21B of the Education Act, the Principal may grant exemptions from schooling for the purpose of completing a full-time apprenticeship or traineeship.

While the Minister has allowed the category of full-time apprenticeship or traineeship to be considered as a special circumstance, the use of this category was agreed to be rare. Eligible students must have completed Year 9. The minimum age of 15 for TAFE may not apply to apprentices and trainees, depending on TAFE approval to waive the requirement.

Approval depends on the student holding a registered apprenticeship or traineeship employment contract. The student approval process for apprentices and trainees involves a collaborative process between school principal, employer, RTO staff, students, parents/caregivers and the Commissioner for Vocational Training.