School enrolment and attendance

Under what circumstances can a student be precluded from attending school?

The principal of a school may preclude a student from attending because they believe on reasonable grounds that the student is not clean enough to continue attending the school, or that they may have a communicable disease within the meaning of the Health Act 1956. All actions should be taken in good faith and with reasonable care.

Education Act 1989 section 19 – Legislation website

When precluding from attendance due to health reasons

  • Before precluding a student the principal should seek advice from NZSTA and may wish to consult with the local public health unit.
  • Immediately after precluding a student, the principal must take all reasonable steps to explain that the student has been precluded, and why, to the board, the student’s parents (unless student is 20 or older), and in the case of a suspected communicable disease, to the Medical Officer of Health.
  • The board is then charged with investigating the preclusion, and either confirming or rejecting the principal’s decision. In the event the decision is confirmed, the student must not attend school until either the principal deems the student clean enough, or until the board receives a medical certificate stating that the student is clean or healthy enough to attend school.
  • Under the Health Act 1956, communicable disease is defined as including any infectious disease, tuberculosis, venereal disease, and any other disease declared by the Governor-General, by Order in Council, to be a communicable disease for the purposes of this Act.
  • The local Medical Officer of Health may also have powers to prevent students and staff attending school in certain circumstances. Your local public health unit will contact you in such cases.

Health Act 1956 – Legislation website

Updated: October 2011

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