Leavers has become a part of the Year 12 social calendar. It can be a fun and exciting time for teenagers as they celebrate the end of their schooling and move into a new phase of their life.
What is Leavers week?
Leavers is a four-day celebratory period that marks the completion of Year 12 and transition into independent adulthood for students in Western Australia.
Referred to as Schoolies in other Australian states, such events have become increasingly popular over time, providing an opportunity for students to celebrate and socialise with their peers.
While Leavers can be an exciting time for teenagers, they may experience situations they haven’t been in before. There is a high chance that teenagers will find themselves in environments where alcohol is being used, despite all official Leavers activities being alcohol-free.
Tips for Parents
Here are some things you can do to help your child have a safe, positive and memorable Leavers experience:
Talk to your child about your expectations for their behaviour during Leavers week, and make sure they understand any consequences of breaking the rules.
Make sure they know the laws that relate to young people and alcohol, including supplying alcohol to somone who is under 18 years of age, and drinking in a public place.
Make sure your child has a way to contact you at all times and make an agreement about checking in with you each day.
Work with your child to plan their accomodation and plans in advance. Make sure they have a safe and reliable way to get around.
Let your child know that you're there to support them, no matter what happens. Encourage them to reach out to you if they need help or advice.
Make sure they have a plan in case of an emergency, and that they know how to contact emergency services.
Leavers week and alcohol
Many young people attend Leavers expecting to use excessive amounts of alcohol and engage in other risky behaviours.
Not drinking alcohol is the best way to ensure Leavers celebrations are positive and memorable, however students attending Leavers are both 17 and 18 years of age.
If your child is planning to use alcohol during Leavers week, here are some tips to help them stay safe and well:
Don’t get in a car with someone you suspect has been drinking or is under the influence of other drugs.
Take care of yourself – stay hydrated, eat regularly and have a good sleep each night.
If you are going to drink, eat first, space out your drinks and drink water or non-alcoholic drinks.
Look after each other. Don’t let your friends go off alone.
Organise a safe, public place to meet if you get separated.
Stay out of the water (no swimming) if you've been drinking.
If you or a friend are feeling unwell, get help from the medics.
Call 000 in an emergency.
Research conducted by the Royal Life Saving Society of Western Australia in Dunsborough, reported almost 80% of leavers who attended official events between 2016 and 2018 reported drinking alcohol. Of those, approximately 65% reported drinking at levels considered risky in the short-term for adults, and 20% reported drinking 10 or more standard drinks on a typical drinking occasion.
This equates to more than eight x 330mL full-strength pre-mix spirit drinks, or 10 x 375mL mid-strength beer cans.
In 2018, half (50%) of all presentations to the Leavers medical area were related to alcohol.
Illicit drugs can also be associated with Leavers’ celebrations. In 2018, illicit drugs accounted for almost 1 in 10 (9%) presentations to the Leavers medical area.
1 in 15 (6%) was alcohol and other drug related. Get the facts about illicit drug use and information about staying safe at Leavers at Drug Aware.
Page last updated7 December 2023