Go to top of page

Missing school or preschool

On this page

Sometimes a child or young person might miss school or preschool. As a parent, what you need to do is different for school and preschool.

Missing preschool

A child can come to 15 hours of preschool a week.

Preschool supports a child’s development and prepares them for school.

If your child is going to miss preschool, let staff know.

If you are having difficulty getting your child to preschool regularly, talk to the staff.

Missing school

Going to school every day is compulsory for children and young people.

The department has advice for parents and carers around coronavirus and going to school. Refer to the COVID-19 page for more information.

Reasons your child can miss school

Schools record the reason provided by parents when a child is away. They can accept the following reasons. If a child:

A child cannot come to school if they have been sent home for behaviour or discipline reasons.

The principal will let you know when your child can return to school. You can talk with the school about how they will support your child’s return.

Holidays and appointments

Any day of school missed can create gaps in a child’s learning. Schools can ask parents to:

  • take holidays during school holiday breaks
  • schedule medical appointments outside of school hours if possible.

If you can’t go on holidays during the school holiday break, talk to the school principal. You need to do this before the holiday.

Also try to avoid missing school:

  • for a birthday
  • to go shopping
  • if relatives visit.

If your child is away

What to do

If your child is going to be away, let the school or preschool know why.

  • Let staff know on the day. You can send a text message or phone in.
  • If you go to the doctors, get a medical certificate. Give it to the staff. They need it for their records.
  • Provide details about a medical appointment if it happens in school or preschool time.
  • If your child has an ongoing illness, talk to the staff.

What to expect

If your child is away and you have not told the school or preschool, they might:

  • send an SMS or email
  • call you.

Away often

If staff are concerned about how often your child is away, they might:

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

Being late or leaving early

If your child is going to be late or needs to leave early, let the school or preschool know.

If your family needs support getting to school or preschool

You can find out more on:

Talk with your school or preschool if you feel comfortable.

You can also call the parent helpline for support on 1300 364 100.

Engagement and Wellbeing — Attendance

Speak with someone at the school or preschool for more information.
Search for a school or preschool by name.
Emaileducation.attendance [at] sa.gov.au