Senior secondary


When a young person stops being of compulsory school age (16 years) or completes Year 10 they enter their senior phase of learning—Years 11 and 12.

During the compulsory participation phase, a young person must participate in an eligible option.

An eligible option is participation on a full-time basis in one of the following:

  • approved education or training (including registration for home education)
  • paid employment
  • a combination of approved education, training and paid employment.

Eligible options for education or training are provided by learning institutions such as schools, universitites, TAFE institutes or registered training organisations.

If your child is registered for home education and turns 17 during the year they will be able to remain registered until 31 December of that year, providing the standard conditions of registration, such as reporting, are met.


 Frequently asked questions

What is the Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE)?

The QCE is a qualification awarded to young people at the completion of the compulsory participation phase, usually at the end of Year 12 (or later if not complete by then). It confirms a student has:

  • achieved a significant amount of learning
  • achieved a set standard of achievement
  • met literacy and numeracy requirements.

Please note: The home education program created by the parent does not attract points towards the QCE. Points for the QCE can only be earned if the part-time study has been through an accredited learning institution such as a school or TAFE, or is part of an accredited Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) course.

Can my home educated child receive a Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE)?

The individual work undertaken by a student in their own home under the guidance of their parents is not transferable to bankable credit points. However, there are other ways to attain the 20 credit points and the literacy and numeracy requirements for the QCE. These can include TAFE subjects, music board exams, vocational education, Senior External Examinations, negotiated projects and preparatory courses. Certificates and awards in areas such as music, dance, drama, sport, and community development can count towards the QCE if they meet the quality criteria. These courses of study are usually offered by an organisation other than a school and results are quality assured by an organisation other than the QCAA e.g. Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB).

The Home Education Unit (HEU) can provide some information about studies which meet the QCE requirements. Parents should consult the QCAA website for more information about attaining credit points and achieving a QCE.

What is a learning account?

If your child is registered for home education, the Home Education Unit (HEU) will open a learning account for your child when they enter their Year 10 equivalent year.

All learning, undertaken within the guidelines related to a Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE), is recorded in a learning account with the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA). These achievements then convert into credits. As activities and studies are completed, the credits are banked and the learning account grows. When it reaches a total of 20 (with 12 of these coming from 'core studies') a student is eligible for the QCE. A learning account remains open for seven years after Year 12 or equivalent is completed and it closes as soon as a QCE is awarded. Points can be banked even after the young person has left the school or home education environment.

Will my child receive an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) if they continue to home educate to Year 12?

No. If you want your child to receive an ATAR, contact a school of school of distance education, state school or non-state school and enrol your child for Years 11 and 12. This does not mean your child cannot seek entry to tertiary institutions via alternative pathways.

Will my home educated child be able to access a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship?

Yes. All arrangements are made directly by the parent with a registered training organisation (RTO), the employer and the Home Education Unit (HEU). The manager of the HEU signs the Australian Apprenticeships School Notification form in relation to the arrangement. Components of a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship can contribute towards a student's learning account.

Can my home educated child work part-time?

Yes. However, when and how long they can work is governed by the Child Employment Act 2006.

Are home educated students eligible for Youth Allowance?

You should contact the Services Australia to discuss any questions you have regarding this.

As my child turns 16 are there changes to family payment entitlements for home educated students?

There may be. You should contact the Services Australia with specific questions about your situation.

Last updated 18 February 2021