Your child's absence from school

If you’re a parent or guardian of a child, it is compulsory to send them to school.

Your child must attend school from the age of 6 until they complete Year 10 and turn 17. Read more about the age your child attends school.

If your child is sick or unable to attend for other reasons, you must contact your school and let them know why your child is absent.

For information on the Northern Territory's education engagement strategy, go to the Department of Education website.

Helping your child attend school

If you need help in getting your child to school, talk to your child's teacher or principal.

There may be the following who can help:

  • remote school attendance strategy officers
  • school based engagement officers
  • student engagement officers.

If you or your child are of Aboriginal descent, you can also go to the National Indigenous Australians Agency website for more information on getting your child to school.

Remote school attendance strategy officers

In some remote communities, remote school attendance strategy officers can help by:

  • talking to you and your child about the importance of going to school
  • working with you to help get your child to school
  • providing practical support to you like:
    • driving your child to school
    • organising school lunches or uniforms
    • completing homework and after-school care
  • working with your child's school to ensure your child is at school and letting you know if your child does not attend
  • rewarding your child if they go to school.

These officers may be mums, dads, caregivers, aunties, uncles or grandparents from your local community.

School based engagement officers

School based engagement officers visit key locations during school hours to engage students and their families on their return to school or community.

If the student is not in school or an education setting, the officers may ask to see a leave pass and student identification.

If they don't have a clear reason why they're absent, there may be further action.

Student engagement officers

If your child is not regularly attending school, you may be referred to a student engagement officer who are authorised persons under the Education Act 2015.

They will hold meetings to find out why your child is not attending and provide support through:

  • official visits to the school to check their attendance
  • the use of external providers to help students re-engage with schooling.

If engagement attempts are still unsuccessful, a compulsory conference notice may be issued to you. This is a meeting:

  • to create a plan that helps your child regularly attend school
  • with a representative from your child's school.

If you don't attend without a good reason or your child continues to not regularly attend school, a compliance notice will be issued to you.

If your child continues to be absent from school thereafter, you may also be issued an infringement notice.

The NT Government may then begin legal proceedings if your child continues to not comply with attendance.


For more information on enrolment and attendance, contact the student engagement team in your local area.


Phone: 0457 284 366

Top End

Phone: 0408 591 870

Big Rivers

Phone: 0437 665 653


Phone: 0439 164 942


Phone: 0408 707 469

East Arnhem

Phone: 0408 589 087

Last updated: 05 August 2022

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