Your child's absence from school

This page has information on student attendance and the actions taken if your child is absent.

It is compulsory to send your child to school.

Your child must attend school from the age of six 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.

Read the NT's strategy on education engagement on the Department of Education website.

Helping your child attend school

Talk to your child's teacher or principal if you need help in getting your child to school.

In some remote communities, school attendance officers may be able to help.

Go to the National Indigenous Australians Agency website for more about getting your child to school.

Mobile engagement circuits

Officers will visit public places or communities during school hours to encourage students to return to school.

The officers may ask to see a leave pass or student identification.

There may be further action if the student can’t provide a clear reason why they aren’t at school or in an education setting.

School attendance officers

School attendance officers may be mums, dads, caregivers, aunties, uncles or grandparents from your local community who can help with any of the following:

  • 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, helping to organise school lunches, uniforms, 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.

If your child does not attend school

If your child is not regularly attending school, you can be referred to a student engagement officer.

Meetings may also be scheduled with the school to find out why the student is not attending.

Support may be offered to the student in the form of:

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

If engagement attempts are unsuccessful, the officer may issue a compulsory conference notice. A compulsory conference is a meeting to create a plan to help your child attend school regularly. This meeting may also include a representative from your child's school.

You may be issued a compliance notice if:

  • you do not attend the compulsory conference without a good reason and
  • your child is still not attending school regularly.

If your child continues not to regularly attend school, an infringement notice may be issued.

Officers have authority to do the following:

  • order compulsory family conferences and
  • issue infringement and compliance notices to families who have a history of not attending school.

You may be prosecuted if your child then continues not to attend school.


For more information contact the enrolment and attendance team in your area.

Top End


Big Rivers






East Arnhem


Last updated: 30 November 2021

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