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We all have bad weeks.

Maybe you’re feeling tired in class all the time. Falling behind on a subject. Got in trouble with a teacher. Your friends have started acting weird. You don’t feel like getting out of bed.

The good news is that usually those bad weeks don’t last more than just that – a week.

But if there’s something in your life that’s feeling like a mountain in your way, one that’s making school feel too much, it makes sense to want to put school on pause while you figure out how to get over that mountain.

If that’s you, you’re probably wondering if you can stop school and then start again later.

The short answer is yes, but it depends on a number of things including your personal circumstances and what kinds of measures your school has in place.

The one definite thing is that you’ll need to open up, and let your school know what’s happening.

As a first step, try speaking to a guidance officer, teacher or someone else you trust. They may be able to help you with some solid advice or other support to help you get through without hitting pause on school.

However, if you’re still feeling like things are too much and you need to take some time away from school, here’s what you need to know, and what you can do.

Main things to know about pausing school

girl with leg in the air with the caption 'i need my school to be as flexible as me'

See what options are available at school

There are times where attendance breaks are OK and timetable flexibility will be offered (e.g due to illness) but you need to open up to your school and find out what options are available based on what’s happening in your life.

If you think your school isn’t set up to meet your needs, talk to them about options to transfer to another school that might be better suited.

Remember, depending on your age, you need to be at school, earning or learning if you’re 16 or 17, so it’s a good idea to chat to school before you leave.

Continuing your education at the same school

If you leave, there’s a record of what you’ve attained so far, and if you return to school while school age, you should be able to pick up where you left off.

Group of people blowing confetti with the caption 'just my friends welcoming me back to school'
young boy in an oversized outfit with the caption 'realising that school doesn't fit me right'

Suss out other options outside of school

Maybe you’ve decided that school isn’t the right fit for you, but you still want to get an education. If that’s the case, depending on your age, there’s a range of options for learning available.

Stay in touch

Staying enrolled and in contact with your school is your best chance at being able to go back, but you need the school to understand why you need the break.

If you’ve already stopped going (and didn’t let the school know your reasons), contact the school (they’ve probably already tried to call/text your mum 3 times!) and let them know what’s going on.

detective with a board covered in photographs with the caption 'when your school tries to find where you are'

While your old school is probably still keen to chat; if you don’t feel comfortable speaking with your old school, try your regional office, they can help you out.

truck that's half hanging off a bridge and half in the water with the caption 'trying to get back into school after leaving on a bad note'

Don’t burn your bridges in case you want to go back

This is the big one. Leave on a good note, and leave with a plan. That starts with opening up and talking to someone at school about everything that is going on so they can work out a plan for you.

Remember, if you’re feeling like the mountain is too high to climb alone, be sure to open up and reach out! Start by speaking to the people you trust or someone at your school. If that feels too daunting, you can also try looking at some of the support channels we recommend.

Big important thing to remember:

As a minor, you can’t enrol or un-enrol yourself in school, you’ll need a parent or guardian involved in approving your decision, and the school or regional office may ask to speak with your parents directly rather than yourself.

If you need help to find more options go to our support page