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Legal responsibilities and school

A parent’s legal responsibilities

As a parent, you must make sure your child goes to school every day. This is your legal responsibility.

  • Your child must go to school all day and every day that it is open. This is unless there is an explanation. For example, if your child is sick.
  • Your child must be enrolled and going to school by the age of 6. 
  • Your child must go to school until they are 17 years old. 
  • If your child wants to leave before they are 17, there are other programs. These programs must be approved by the department.
  • Parents can be prosecuted if they do not make sure their child goes to school. This means you could be fined or get a criminal conviction.

For more information, see compulsory school attendance.

The school’s legal responsibilities

If your child is going to be away, schools prefer that you let them know on that day.  

Our staff have a legal responsibility to follow up when a child misses school or preschool. 

They will contact you if:

  • your child is absent and you have not notified them 
  • they are concerned about the number of days missed in a term. 

What will happen if your child misses school 

If the school has concerns about your child being away, they might contact you. They want to talk and they can help. They might:

  • send you an SMS or email
  • send you a letter or call you
  • invite you to a meeting
  • visit you at home 
  • get support for you from one of the department’s social workers.


Engagement and Wellbeing — Attendance

Phone: 8226 1062
Emaileducation.engagementandwellbeing [at] sa.gov.au