What you need to know about school policies

Sometimes it can be hard to keep up with the policies in place at your child's school, particularly if you're relying on your child for information. To help, we provide a brief overview of the types of policies likely to be in place at your child's school.


Most schools in Australia have some form of uniform, but policies vary greatly between schools. In general, independent and Catholic schools tend to have stricter uniform policies than government schools. Some schools have different uniforms for day-to-day studies, sport, formal occasions or different seasons, while others have a standard uniform to be worn at all times. Some also have specific hats, shorts, shirts, dresses, ties, socks and other items that need to be worn (usually available for purchase at the school uniform shop).

Uniform requirements may include:

  • hair restrictions (boys' hair is to be kept short and should sit above the collar, while girls' hair is to be tied back neatly often with a ribbon in school colours)
  • no piercings (except for the lower ears on girls), make-up, brightly coloured hair, nail polish, jewellery (with the exception of watches, religious tokens or simple earrings for girls), facial hair (for boys) or tattoos
  • plain black or brown school shoes (polished, with the colour determined by the uniform) and predominantly white running shoes for sport
  • length requirements for girls' skirts or dresses (below the knee, for example)
  • wearing of blazers, stockings, ties, formal school hats and badges.


Your child's workload will increase as they progress through school. In the early years, homework tends to be limited to things like spelling, sight words, maths worksheets, reading and occasionally small research projects (making a poster on a chosen topic, for example). As students move into late primary and early secondary years, essays, reports and other written assignments will start to become more prevalent, as will exams. In their senior years, homework will likely be replaced by exam preparation and study, as well as lengthy reports, assignments and portfolio work for assessment. In Years 11 and 12, teachers may start to shift responsibility to the student as a way to prepare them for tertiary study leaving it up to the individual student to stay on top of their homework and study, rather than checking it at the start of class and punishing them for not completing it.

Assignment submissions

Assignment submission guidelines tend to get stricter as students move into their senior years. In younger years, schools tend to be a bit more flexible when it comes to handing in work allowing students to submit assignments the next school day if they are away on the due date, for example.

Assignment submission in Years 11 and 12 follows strict guidelines. If your child is away from school on the due date, they will usually need a medical certificate or an approved extension. Failure to submit an assignment by the due date can result in a fail mark.


There are now strict ˜anti-bullying' policies in place in most Australian schools. This includes procedures for handling instances of bullying, as well as programs to try to prevent bullying from the outset. Increasingly, schools are finding that they need to address instances of cyberbullying, where bullying takes place online, most commonly on social media. See What can I do about bullying? for more information.

Drugs and alcohol

Schools take a ˜zero tolerance' approach to drugs and alcohol, and any students found with these substances can face immediate expulsion. In instances where students are found with illicit drugs, some schools may even choose to involve the police.

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