New education laws for Norfolk Island

New laws are being introduced on Norfolk Island to underpin a greater range of education services at the Norfolk Island Central School.

The new laws will be based on New South Wales legislation, with some changes made by the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (the Department) to reflect the circumstances of Norfolk Island.

The effect on the community of these changes will be limited, based on the Commonwealth Minister’s Legislation Consultation Framework.

The new laws are planned to begin in early 2018 and will not change the day to day running of the school.

As the representative of the Australian Government on island, I seek feedback from the Norfolk Island community on the proposed changes, including:

  • Children will need to begin school once they turn six and stay at school until they complete Year 10.
  • To support the existing high retention rates at the School, after Year 10 and until they turn 17, students will need to attend:
    • school; or
    • full-time approved education or training; or
    • full-time paid work if they have turned 15; or
    • a combination of paid work and approved education or training.
  • There will be special arrangements for students who turned 15 before January 2018. For more information, please see the attached explanation sheet.
  • The P&C will continue as they are in their important role with extra responsibilities in promoting the recreation and welfare of students and encouraging parent and community participation in curriculum issues. For more information, please see the explinations below.
  • Arrangements for the teaching of the Norf’k language and Norfolk Island culture will not change.
  • Arrangements for overseas students enrolled at the school will stay the same.

The new laws will be based on the Education Act 1990 (NSW), the Education Regulation 2017 (NSW), and the Education Standards Authority Act 2013 (NSW). To avoid confusion, the new education laws will replace the Norfolk Island education laws (the Education Act 1931 (NI) and the Education Regulations (NI)).

If you would like to make any comments or ask questions about these changes, please contact me at office.administrator@infrastructure.gov.au before 24 November 2017.

These changes are expected to be made by ordinance in December, after which they will be available on the Federal Register of Legislation at legislation.gov.au/Home.

The Department will provide further information to the community about these changes in early 2018.

Eric Hutchinson
9 November 2017

Explanation of new education laws

Compulsory school age

Under the new laws, a child must begin school once they turn six and stay at school until they complete Year 10. Under the current laws, a child must begin school once they turn six, so there is no change.

After Year 10 and until they turn 17, students will have to attend:

  • school; or
  • full-time approved education or training (e.g. TAFE, traineeship, apprenticeship); or
  • full-time, paid work, if they have turned 15; or
  • a combination of paid work and approved education or training.

In anticipation of more options becoming available in the future, the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (the Department) is making it possible for students to leave school after Year 10 and start work or other training.

The current school-leaving age on Norfolk Island is 15 years. To help with the move to the new compulsory school age, there will be special arrangements for students who:

  • turn 15 before 1 January 2018 and were enrolled in Year 9, 10, 11 or 12 at the school in 2017; or
  • turned 15 before 1 January 2017 and were enrolled at the school.

These students will not need to stay at school until they turn 17, or to go back to school if they have already left. All other students at the school will be subject to the new laws.

Parents’ and Citizens’ Association

The P&C Association on Norfolk Island will continue to exist under the new laws and will be able to make rules for its business and affairs under the new laws.

The P&C’s objects and functions will include:

  • promoting the interests of the school by bringing parents, citizens, students and teaching staff into close co-operation;
  • assisting in providing facilities and equipment for the school and in promoting the recreation and welfare of the students at the school;
  • encouraging parent and community participation in curriculum and other education issues;
  • if asked by the Commonwealth Minister, reporting on the material needs of the school and advising on the maintenance of the school and on alterations and additions to school facilities;
  • assisting and co-operating with the teaching staff in public functions associated with the school; and
  • assisting in any other matters in which the Commonwealth Minister may ask the association to co-operate.