School enrolment and attendance

When may a principal excuse a student from mandatory attendance?

A principal may exempt a student from attendance in the following three situations:

  • a student needs to be released for part of the school day for offsite tuition
  • a student needs to to go home early
  • a student was or will be absent for a justified reason for a period of up to five days.

Education Act 1989 section 25B and 27 – Legislation website 

Exemption from mandatory attendance for specified periods

  • A principal may release a student from school if they are satisfied the student will receive acceptable outside tuition, and the parent(s) of the student have agreed to the outside tuition. The arrangement should include adequate time for travel between the school and the place of outside tuition.
  • The principal may also release a student who has been at school for at least four hours in any school day to go home early, where they are satisfied there is good reason for the student to leave early.
  • The third situation (under section 27) covers longer periods of release and may be retrospective or prospective. The principal can only grant this type of release for a maximum of five school days at any one time, and the principal must be satisfied the absence was or will be justified. The practical effect of this provision is that it releases the parents of their obligation to ensure mandatory attendance.

If the principal wants a student to leave the school for disciplinary reasons, or wants a parent to remove a student from school for disciplinary reasons, they can only do this by standing-down or suspending the student. 

Contact NZSTA for more specific information or advice about your situation.

Updated: October 2011

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