Alternatives to full-time schooling

Alternatives to full-time schooling

During the compulsory education period​, you may consider that it is in your child's best interests to participate in education or training options other than full-time enrolment in a school.

There are 3 common alternatives to full-time schooling that may be approved.

Exemption from full-time schooling

If your child wants to leave school before the end of Year 10, you (the parent or legal guardian) must get the Minister for Education's approval for an exemption from full-time schooling.

Notice of arrangements

If your child wants to leave school during Years 11 and 12, you must get the Minister for Education's approval for a Notice of arrangements.

Community-based courses

Your child in Year 11 or 12 may attend a community-based course. If they are younger than Year 11 or 12, they may also take part in community-based courses as long as they remain enrolled at school.

An exemption is only available for students in (or about to begin) Year 10 or above or who will reach the age of 15 years 6 months or more in the year for which an exemption is sought.

An exemption permits your child to pursue an alternative option to full-time schooling – usually a combination of education, training or employment, such as an apprenticeship. You (parent or legal guardian) must apply for the exemption.

Exemption for students enrolled at a public school

If your child is enrolled at a public school, seek advice from your child’s school principal or education regional office.

Exemption form for students enrolled at a non-government school

If your child is enrolled in a non-government school, submit the Application for exemption from compulsory school enrolment (non-government schools) form​ to the Director General of the Department of Education. The principal of your child's school must recommend the exemption.

A 'Notice of arrangements' is an approval for a child to participate in an alternative combination of activities that equate to full-time participation in schooling. It applies to children in the final years of the compulsory education period​ (typically Year 11 and 12 students).

If your child wants to leave a public or non-government school before the end of Year 12, you (parent or legal guardian) must complete and submit a Notice of arrangements form.

You can choose to either:

If you decide to complete the paper form, send it to:

Participation Unit
Department of Education
151 Royal Street


An alternative education programme prior to Y​ears 11 and 12 requires an exemption from full-time schooling. Follow the instructions in the section titled 'Exemption from full-time schooling'.

Changes to an approved option

You must inform the Minister for Education through the Department if your child's approved option changes.

Community-based courses are an approved alternative to attendance at school during the compulsory education period. These courses allow children to develop literacy, numeracy, social and life skills.

Eligibility to enrol in a community-based course

If your child is in Years 11 or 12 they may attend a community-based course.

Younger children may also take part in community-based courses as long as they remain enrolled at school.

To enrol in a community-based course, you (parent or legal guardian) must obtain the Minister for Education’s approval for a Notice of arrangements. Follow the process in the section titled 'Notice of arrangements'.

Community based course providers
Course Provider Location Telephone
Anchor Point Youth Futures WA 1 Kingfisher Avenue, Ballajura 9300 2677
Anchor Point Youth Futures WA Steel Blue Oval, corner of West and Guildford Roads, Bassendean 9300 2677
Anchor Point Youth Futures WA 19a Sundew Rise, Joondalup 9300 2677


Enrolment and attendance requirements, applicable to both public schools and non-government schools, are covered in ​​Part 2 of the School Education Act 1999 and Part 2 of the School Education Regulations 2000.

Participation options

Understand your child's alternatives to full-time schooling.

A combination option includes school, training or a job (or both) rather than full-time school. For example, your child could go to school part-time and also go to a TAFE college or private registered training organisation part-time.

All combinations need to be approved by an Engagement and Transitions Manager.

You, and if applicable, your child's part-time employer will need to complete and submit a Notice of arrangements form.

An apprenticeship involves full-time or part-time work with an employer who provides an opportunity to learn all aspects of a trade. This is a structured program with a combination of on the job and off the job training at a TAFE college or another registered training organisation (one that has been approved by the government).

The difference between a traineeship and an apprenticeship is that a traineeship can be either a full-time or part-time employment-based training arrangement, usually for around 12 months (apprenticeships usually last for three to four years) and is generally in a non-trade related area.

Some of the benefits of an apprenticeship or traineeship are that a young person can:

  • earn a wage while you train
  • learn on the job skills combined with off the job training
  • gain hands-on skills and work experience
  • improve employment prospects
  • receive a nationally recognised qualification
  • start valuable steps towards a rewarding career.

Find out more about apprenticeships and traineeships from the Department of Training and Workforce Development’s Apprenticeship Office.

A parent or carer will need to complete the relevant paperwork with your child's employer. This will then be processed by the Apprenticeship Office who will inform the Department of Education.

An apprenticeship or traineeship can be started while a child is still at school. They will be considered to be in school full-time and there are no extra forms to complete other than the apprenticeship or traineeship documentation.

The Western Australian Government has a list of registered training organisations (RTOs) to provide training for apprentices, trainees and other general training, such as Information Technology. 

Find out more about registered training organisations from the Apprenticeship Office on 13 19 54.

If your child chooses to do a full-time course with a private RTO, you will need to complete and submit a Notice of arrangements form.

The Minister for Education’s delegate must approve a child to leave school and get a full-time job. Generally approval will be given if the full-time job has long term prospects.

You and your child's employer will need to complete and submit a Notice of arrangements form.

Contact your school or education regional office if you need advice on the options available.