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Discovering Alternative Paths: What to Do When Your Child Doesn’t Want to Go Back to School?

Going back to school can be a challenging experience for some students, especially if they are not engaged or motivated by the traditional education system.


If your child is struggling with the idea of going back to school, it’s important to understand that there are alternative paths to a successful future. This article explores different options on how to Handle a Situation When Your Child Doesn’t Want to Go Back to School. From homeschooling and distance education to apprenticeships and traineeships, there are many ways for students to gain valuable skills and experience to help them achieve their goals and aspirations. By approaching the situation with empathy and an open mind, you can help your child find a path that is right for them.


When Your Child Doesn’t Want to Go Back to School!

Most kids have to go to school until they are 16 to 18 years old. But, it depends on where you live. If your child doesn’t like school, you can try different ways to learn and start a career, like doing an apprenticeship in Australia. If your child still wants to learn, but not at their current school, you can switch schools or find a different place to learn, like TAFE or a college. It’s important to talk to the school to find out all the options for your child.


South Australia

In South Australia, kids have to go to school starting at 6 years old until they turn 16. When they are 16 to 17, they have choices to continue learning, like staying in school, doing TAFE or college classes, doing an apprenticeship, or a mix of both. They have to keep learning or training until they turn 17 or get a special certificate from an approved program. Even after 17, it’s good to keep learning to have more job choices later. But, in special cases, they may be allowed to leave school early before the 10th year. Additional information can be found, here



In Victoria, kids have to go to school from 6 years old until they are 17, which includes homeschooling. When they finish 10th grade but are still under 17, they can choose to keep learning by staying in school, doing classes at TAFE, doing a traineeship or apprenticeship, working full-time for at least 25 hours a week, or a mix of work and classes. They have to spend at least 25 hours a week either working or learning. To take advantage of any of the options available, parents and the child’s school must complete a form.

The school can allow a student to leave school and do approved education or training, full-time work, or both part-time work and education/training. The school will make this decision based on what is best for the child, their interests and motivation, and if they will stick to their plan. In very special cases, they may be able to leave before 10th grade. To do any of these things, they will need to get their parents and school to fill in this form.


Western Australia

In Western Australia, people have to stay in school until they finish 10th grade, turn 18, or reach the end of the year when they are 17 and a half years old. If you need more information, you can get help from the specified resources.

After 10th grade, people must do full-time work, full-time education or training like TAFE, apprenticeships, or a mix of both. While still in school, they can do part-time study and apprenticeships with permission from their parent or guardian. To get more information about how to apply, you can ask for help from the specified resources.


Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory, kids have to go to school from 6 years old until they finish 10th grade or turn 17. After 10th grade, they must do approved education or training, work full-time if they are over 15 years old, or do both part-time work and education/training for at least 25 hours a week, until they turn 17. For more information on these options and how to apply, visit the NT Department of Education website.

In special cases, they can get approval from the Minister for Education to leave school before completing Year 10.


New South Wales

In New South Wales, school attendance is mandatory from the age of 6 to 17 or until completion of Year 10. After Year 10, students must engage in education, training, or full-time work or a combination of these. To leave school before Year 10 and start an apprenticeship, special permission must be obtained. Parents can face fines if their children do not attend school or complete Year 10 without a valid reason. During school hours, police or education officers may verify student details in public places and escort them to school or home.


Australia Capital Territory

In the ACT, students are required to attend school from the age of 6 until they complete Year 10 or reach 17 years old, whichever occurs first. If they have completed Year 10 but haven’t turned 17, they can continue in school or leave for full-time education, training, or employment. To leave school before 17 for work, training, or apprenticeship, an Approval Statement from the ACT Department of Education and Training must be obtained.



In Queensland, children are required to attend school from age 6 until they complete Year 10 or turn 16, whichever comes first. After that, they must either continue their education or participate in work for a minimum of 25 hours a week until two years have passed since they finished Year 10, they turn 17, or they have earned a certificate of achievement. They can continue their education through high school, TAFE, apprenticeships, university training courses, or full-time work. To find more information click here



 In Australia, young people must participate in education or training until they complete Year 12, attain a Certificate III, or turn 18 years old, whichever comes first. After Year 10, they have the options of completing Years 11 and 12, a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification, an apprenticeship or traineeship, or full-time employment.


To figure out the issue, you can try the following steps:

  • Have an open conversation with your child, listen to them without interruption and let them speak freely.
  • Meet with your child’s school, including the year coordinator, deputy principal, wellbeing staff, or careers adviser.
  • Consider other factors outside of school such as boredom, lack of interest in the traditional learning style, issues with specific teachers, or external factors such as family or personal issues.


If school is not working for your child, there are other options for them to continue their education. You can look into home schooling or online classes through the Education Department in your state. Another option is getting a job through an apprenticeship or traineeship program, where your child can learn on-the-job and earn a salary while getting a special type of education called Vocational Education and Training (VET). They can choose full-time, part-time, or school-based apprenticeships and when they finish, they will have a nationally recognized certificate that is valuable in Australia and other countries.


Before starting an apprenticeship in Australia, it’s important to think about these things:

  • Take a class to learn more about what an apprenticeship will be like.
  • Check if your child has the right reading and math skills for the job they want by using the AAPathways website.
  • Know how long the apprenticeship will take. It can take up to 4 years.
  • Find out about the type of work they will be doing and if there are job opportunities in that field. They must have a job while they are studying.

This will help your child understand what they need to do and make a good choice about their apprenticeship.

Benefits of an Australian Apprenticeship:

  • Get paid while learning new skills and knowledge.
  • Get practical experience at work and in the classroom.
  • Get a certificate that is recognized all over Australia.
  • Meet people who work in the industry.
  • Learn skills that can be used in other jobs.
  • Use the apprenticeship as a step towards more education.
  • Boost self-confidence and feel good about themselves.

If you and your child want to do an apprenticeship, these are the steps to follow:

  • Look into different jobs and industries.
  • Find a job.
  • Sign up with a company that provides apprenticeships.


Australian School-based Apprenticeships (ASbA) let students learn by doing a job while still in high school. They can earn money, get real work experience, and work towards a certificate all at the same time. If your school doesn’t have ASbA, there are other ways to learn a trade in school like taking classes or other programs. After finishing an ASbA, students can go to college, keep learning, or start their own business.

To start an Australian School-based Apprenticeship (ASbA), follow these steps:

  • Get permission from a parent or guardian if the student is under 18.
  • Talk to the school to make sure they offer ASbAs.
  • Choose an approved ASbA in your state.
  • Find an employer who is willing to take on the student as an ASbA.
  • Have someone from the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network help enroll by talking to the employer, school, and parent/guardian (if needed).


In conclusion, if your child is not interested in continuing their education in a traditional school setting, there are alternative paths available. Consider home schooling or distance education, as well as apprenticeships and traineeships, to provide hands-on learning and practical experience. By approaching the situation with empathy and understanding, and exploring the options available, you can help your child find the right path that aligns with their interests, skills, and future career goals. Whether it’s continuing their education in a non-traditional way or entering the workforce, the goal is to support your child in finding a fulfilling and successful career.

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