Education Act

What’s New?

Information about education and training after Year 10 and the increase in the minimum leaving requirements from 2020.

For all Tasmanian education and training providers:

For parents:

For students:

  • Anything Can Happen – why staying in education is so important and how many options are available to them.


On 10 July 2017, the Education Act 2016 (passed by Parliament in November 2016) commenced along with the legislative framework of the Education Regulations 2017, Ministerial Instructions and Secretary’s Instructions detailing operational matters related to the Education Act:

This is a significant milestone, as the first time in more than 20 years that Tasmania has an updated Education Act, which provides a strong foundation for improving the education outcomes for all Tasmanians.

The Education Act provides every child and young person in Tasmania with the opportunity to continue to learn and reach their full potential, so they can live fulfilling lives and contribute positively to our community.

The Act is a contemporary and cohesive legislative framework that has been shaped by input from education stakeholders over two years of extensive consultation, including consideration of more than 1 000 responses from three rounds of consultation.

Thank you to everyone who has given their feedback throughout the Education Act Review, the consultation on the draft Bill and the work underway on implementation.

What does the Act mean for Tasmanian schools?

The Act provides schools with an up-to-date legal framework that better supports the high quality teaching and learning in Tasmania’s schools, focused on supporting attendance, engagement, retention and attainment of Tasmania’s students.

The implementation of the Act is a transitional and ongoing process, commencing on 10 July 2017 and continuing through to 2021.
For Tasmanian Schools, the implementation of the Act will mean that some existing policies and procedures will be updated.

Updated Government School policies and processes for respectful behaviour, student dress code and uniform, attendance and enrolment; including out-of-area enrolment, part-time enrolment of home educated students and dual enrolment for students with disability; have been developed and are now in use.

Information is available to explain the changes and what they mean for schools, parents and students, including updated parent fact sheets.

Work is ongoing towards the review of Government primary and combined school intake areas, with the initial consultation now complete and a further consultation period to occur in 2019, and an updated Government School Levies and Charges Policy supporting universal access to education.

2020 will see further changes come into effect including raising Tasmania’s education and training leaving requirements to have Tasmanian students stay in education and training for longer and helping them to achieve a qualification that significant improves their life chances and choices.

2020 will also mark the commencement of Working Together for 3 Year Olds to facilitate the participation in quality pre-school programs for eligible three-year-old children.

The staged implementation and ongoing close consultation with schools, school communities and education stakeholders ensures we meet the needs of Tasmanian learners now and in the future.

To help answer common questions parents have about the implementation of the Education Act, there are Frequently Asked Questions for Parents.

What are the key changes from 10 July 2017?


  • Daily attendance: With consistent attendance at school being critical to achieving education outcomes and keeping students engaged in learning, there is a new limited set of circumstances in which a student can be authorised not to attend schoolAll school sectors.
  • Part-time attendance: To ensure that approval for a student to attend school on a part-time basis is in the best interests of the student and supported by relevant information and evidence, there is an updated process for parents or independent youths to apply for part-time attendance. See the Non-Government School part-time application and Government School part-time application – All school sectors.
  • Authorised Persons: Schools may nominate ‘Authorised Persons’ to investigate any suspected unauthorised absence of a student. This continues an existing power for Government Schools that is being extended to Non-Government Schools – All school sectors.


  • Flexible enrolment: Recognising that flexible enrolment may be required to support a student’s learning outcomes, there are increased and more flexible school enrolment options to facilitate access to schools for:
  • Exemption from enrolment: To ensure that exemption from attending school is in the best interests of the student and supported by relevant information and evidence, there is an updated process for parents or independent youths to apply for exemption from attending schoolAll school sectors.

Respectful behaviour to support a safe school environment:

  • Adult behaviour: To assist in managing adult behaviour in a school context, Principals are able to require an adult volunteer or visitor to leave the school premises or a school activity for unacceptable behaviour for a specified period. Government Schools outline behaviour expectations as part of their policy for school volunteers and visitors – All school sectors.
  • Suspension:Schools use a range of approaches including providing support to students and only apply behavioural responses that result in time away from school (eg suspension) as a last resort or when necessary to ensure the safety of students and staff at the school. To ensure that education provision is maintained, Government School Principals must arrange and ensure that any student who is suspended is provided with appropriate education during the period of suspension – Government Schools.
  • Requesting third-party information: To support a child’s access to education and support students who may behave in a way that leads to a risk of harm to themselves or others, schools can request information about a student’s behaviour from a third-party to enable the development and maintenance of strategies to better support the student – All school sectors.

Secondary education:

  • Leaving requirements: With evidence clearly demonstrating that students who stay at school have much better employment and life outcomes, students are required to continue to participate in education and training until they complete Year 12, attain a Certificate III, or they turn 17 years of age (whichever occurs first). The minimum leaving age increases to 18 in 2020 – All school sectors.
  • Exemption from enrolment: To ensure that exemption from attending school is in the best interests of the student and supported by relevant information and evidence, there is an updated process for parents or independent youths to apply for exemption from attending schoolAll school sectors.
  • Year 10 Transition Statement: A Year 10 Transition Statement is issued to show a student has completed their education to Year 10 and has submitted a proposed Learning Program (for Non-Government Schools this is ‘Eligible Options’, for Government Schools this is a ‘Transition Plan’) to move into senior secondary or other further education.  The statement acknowledges a student’s commitment to continue working to reach their education goals with an ongoing education pathway – All school sectors.
  • Year 12 Completion Certificate: A Year 12 Completion Certificate is issued as formal notification that a student has fulfilled their entitlement to thirteen years of compulsory education. This is an important notification ahead of the increase in the minimum school leaving requirements from 2020. For Government Schools, the Year 12 Completion Certificate will be a letter mailed to students after the last day of Year 12 examinations – All school sectors.

Education Registrar:

  • Recognising that unauthorised absences of students from attending school can be for many complex reasons, the Office of the Education Registrar has been established to help resolve reasons for children’s continued unauthorised non-attendance at school. Schools can refer continued unexplained non-attendance to the Registrar to begin the new compulsory conciliation conference process whereby students, parents and school Principals can discuss and agree what needs to happen to support children attending school – All school sectors.
  • The Registrar is also responsible for overseeing the registration of Non-Government Schools, working with the Non-Government Schools Registration Board and managing home education registration with advice from the Tasmanian Home Education Advisory Council – Non-Government Schools and home educators.

School Associations:

  • Recognising the important role that School Associations play in the operation of Government schools, School Associations automatically become incorporated under the Act  – Government Schools.
  • Any School Associations undertaking any restricted activities will need to apply to the Secretary. This includes; employing persons, holding or dealing with property, borrowing or loaning money or entering into contracts of more than $5000. This reflects that under the Act they will have protection from legal liability – Government Schools.

Dress code and Uniform:

  • Government schools may continue to choose whether they wish to develop a dress code for their students, in addition to having school uniform for Prep to Year 10 students– Government Schools.

Religious education:

  • Government Schools may continue to provide non-compulsory religious instruction if they choose to. There is no requirement to offer religious instruction and it must not be compulsory. Schools will require parents to notify the Principal in writing whether or not their child is to attend and they may withdraw at any time – Government Schools.

What are the future Education Act changes?

  • From 2020, thirteen years of compulsory schooling (from Prep to Year 12).
  • From 2020, raising the education and training leaving requirements so that students must participate in education and training until they complete Year 12, attain a Certificate III, or they turn 18 years of age (whichever occurs first).
  • From 2020, the exemption from the requirement to participate in education and training for employment increases from 25 hours an week to 35 hours a week.
  • The Working Together for 3 Year Olds initiative will be available for eligible children with the greatest need, with access being guided by a set of criteria to include children who are three years old by 1 January in any year from 2020 (i.e. the year before Kindergarten)
  • Government School Intake Areas (home areas) to be determined by the Department for Education, Children and Young People Secretary and published on a five year basis. Schools will be consulted on proposed changes to intake area boundaries. Enrolments from outside a school’s intake area will continue where there is ability to take further enrolments at the school.

Education Act Implementation Project

An Education Act Implementation Project Team is supporting a change management, staged transition with ongoing consultation and support being provided to schools and areas impacted by the policy changes under the Act.

There will be regular updates on implementation of the Act and if you have any questions or feedback, contact