Alternatives to full-time schooling

Alternatives to full-time schooling

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

The most common alternatives which may be approved are as follows:

  • If a child wishes to leave school before the end of Year 10, parents or legal guardians must obtain the Minister for Education's approval for an exemption from full-time schooling.
  • If a child wishes to leave school during Years 11 and 12, parents or legal guardians must obtain the Minister for Education's approval for a Notice of arrangements.
  • A child in Years 11 or 12 at school may attend a community based course. Younger students 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 a child to pursue an alternative option to full-time schooling - usually a combination of education, training or employment such as an apprenticeship. The child's parent or legal guardian must apply for the exemption.

Exemption for students enrolled at a public school

If the child is enrolled at a public school, advice should be sought from the child's school principal or Education regional office.

Exemption form for students enrolled at a non-government school

If the child is enrolled in a non-government school, the form below must be submitted to the Director General of the Department of Education. The exemption must be recommended by the Principal of the school the child is attending.

Application for Exemption from School Enrolment (Non-government schools)​

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 a Year 11 and 12 student). If a child wishes to leave a public or non-government school before the end of Year 12, the parent or legal guardian must complete and submit a Notice of Arrangements form 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.

What happens if the approved option changes?

Parents must notify the Minister for Education through the Department if the 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.

Who can enrol in a community based course?

Children in Years 11 or 12 at school 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, parents or legal guardians must obtain the Minister for Education’s approval for a 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.