What age can I Leave School?

From the 1 January 2014, you can legally leave school:

  • At the end of the year in which you reach the age of 17 and 6 months;
  • When you reach the age of 18; or
  • At any age if you have completed the minimum requirements for graduation from secondary school.

This does not mean that you must stay at school to complete Year 11 and 12 if completing school is not the best option for you. However, you are required by law to be participating in full time approved education, training, employment or a combination of these options during the last two years of school.


To leave school during Year 11 or 12, you need to get permission to either:

  • Attend a polytechnic college (formerly called TAFE) or other registered training organisation;
  • Gain an apprenticeship or traineeship;
  • Work in a job which will improve your job prospects; or
  • A combination of these options.


You need to get approval from the CEO of the Department of Education.


It is an offence for a young person of school age not to attend school. For more information, see our fact sheet ‘School: Attendance’.


More Information

Department of Education: Information for Young People

Department of Education: FAQs

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Please note: Laws are subject to change. Last updated November 2015.

Important: This general information is not the same as legal advice. You should speak with a lawyer about your situation. The information is based on a Western Australian context.