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Leaving School Early IS AN OPTION

If you hate school, leaving IS AN OPTION. There is no point hanging around at school if you hate it.

Leave School Early

If you are worried that you won’t ever get into uni, you need to know that only 26% of uni students go straight there via the ATAR pathway.  Most university students get there through some other pathway.

If you are worried that you won’t ever get a well paid job, you need to find out about modern trends in lifelong learning and careers.

Good things about leaving school

Happiness is leaving school


  • You will feel better.

  • You will make new friends.

  • You will discover new things to enjoy.

Don’t jump too quickly

Don’t wait until you are ready to leave to start preparing. (If you are in Year 9 see the tips below.)

As soon as you start thinking of leaving school, talk to a career advisor. They  can help you to:

  • Do career quizzes and narrow down the jobs you would like.
  • Explore different jobs through VET courses and work experience.
  • Develop your work readiness and job application skills through part-time work and volunteering
  • Link you with appropriate support services that can support you as you leave school.

If you don’t have a school career advisor, go to a Jobs and Skills Centre for free career advice.

If you live in the Wanneroo or Armadale areas, engage with the Industry Training Hub. 

Each Training Hub is managed by a full-time Career Facilitator, providing an on-the-ground presence while delivering Training Hub services.

Career Facilitators work with and encourage young people to build skills and choose occupations in demand in their region, creating better linkages between schools and local industry, repositioning vocational education and training as a first-choice option. 

They mainly focus on year 11 and 12s but if you are in Year 10 you may be able to engage with their services. 

How to leave school

  • Arrange a full-time job, enrol in a full-time course or organise a combination of both. 
  • Get your parents to fill out and sign a Notice of Arrangement which details what you will do if you get permission to leave school.

The Notice of Arrangement is forwarded by your school to the Minister for Education for consideration. 

You will be informed of the Minister’s decision. It won’t be a straight “no”. You will either have your application approved, or you will be told what extra things you need to do in order to get approval. 

How old do I have to be to leave school?

In Western Australia you must stay at school until you finish Year 10, then you can get special permission to leave school before you finish Year 12 if you have:

                  1. a full time job or
                  2. full time study

Or a combination of both.

  1. Job

In most cases you need to be 15 to be employed or 13 to work in a fast food outlet. (There are exceptions to this. You can see details of the exceptions HERE.)

Tell people you want a job.

You can get a job through family and friends, through volunteering and impressing employers, through work experience and through part time work. 

2. Study

    • No OLNA or English Qualification?:

There are foundation and introductory courses at TAFE that do not have any English or maths requirements. You can be accepted into some of these courses while you are still of school age.

Go to a Jobs and Skills Centre for information about the courses that are available and which course would be best for you.

    • Year 11 or 12:

If you are okay academically but don’t want to go to school, go to a Jobs and Skills Centre and do an aptitude test, talk to a counsellor and get advice about your study options. 

3. Work and Study

If you get an apprenticeship or traineeship you will be doing on the job and off the job training.

You may be able to start studying a part time VET course now, and combine your study with a part time job. 

Common pathways from school

You can end up ahead of your friends who complete their WACE if you start a VET course early. You can do a Certificate II in Health Support Services and follow through with higher studies in the health sector.


Common pathway from school

You can’t go wrong with qualifications in computing, particularly if you have a detailed, problem solving brain.


Middle School

If you are in Middle School and you are hating school:

  • Talk with your friends about what to do
  • Check with a career counsellor 
  • If you care for a family member, get support from Young-Carers
  • Go to your closest Jobs and Skills Centre to find out about alternatives to school in your area. They have information about courses and about jobs.

Year 9

The new Career Taster Program in WA schools gives Year 9s the chance to learn about opportunities after school. Through the Taster Program you will meet workers who will tell you about what their work involves. 

Through your contacts you may get additional volunteer experience, or a part time job. 

Summing Up

If you want to leave school early, don’t just jump. There are people and services around to help you to smooth your path into a life that you find much more fun than school.

  • Start to check out possible jobs. 
  • Investigate some of the services about in the mind map.
  • Start to talk to people who will help you to start your new life.

Good luck with your new adventures. 

Discover More

There are outstanding teachers in all disciplines in Western Australia, but great teaching doesn’t lead students to make great career choices.  Career Educators are the light on the hill that students and families need. 

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Bev Johnson Director, In Focus Careers