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Your Rights

Attendance

Do I need to go to school?

If you are between the ages of 6–16, and you are living in NZ as a citizen, or hold a residence class visa, you must go to school.

Once you reach the age of 16, you can choose to leave school. You may be able to leave school at 15, but you need to get an “early leaving exemption” from the Ministry of Education.  You can find out more about early leaving exemptions from the Ministry of Education website here.

Your right to attend school

If you are enrolled at a school, you have the right to attend school for all the hours that the school is open.

Exceptions to full-time attendance

You don’t have to attend school full-time if you have:

  • A well-being plan, OR
  • A transition plan, OR
  • You attend secondary-tertiary programmes and have multiple timetable arrangements.

Transition and Well-Being Plans

If full-time attendance at school will not be good for you, you or your caregivers can ask the school to create a well-being plan to reduce your number of hours at school.  A medical practitioner must also agree that a well-being plan is necessary.  A well-being plan cannot be for longer than 6 months.  However, when the 6 months is over, if you or your family think you need more time, the plan can be renewed or extended, one more time, for another six months.

If a student is 5 years old and enrolled at a school, the family and the school can create a transition plan.  The aim of the plan is to help the student transition into school.  A transition plan cannot be longer than 6 months.

If a well-being or a transition plan is made, the student must attend school in accordance with that plan.

Can I still attend school if I’m pregnant or have a baby?

Yes, if you’re pregnant or have a baby, you can still attend a mainstream school or do correspondence.  You can’t be refused enrolment simply because you are or will be a parent.  Some schools provide special units for pregnant students, and young mothers and fathers.

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