Background to SEAM

Note: SEAM ceased effective 31 December 2017. The Australian and Northern Territory Governments remain committed to supporting families and communities to get their children to school every day and to improve school attendance in remote communities. Despite the cessation of SEAM, Northern Territory Government Truancy Officers will continue to monitor attendance in select communities and DHS social workers will continue to visit remote communities as part of their general work.


SEAM is an Australian Government initiative to encourage parents (or those with responsibility for a child) to ensure that their children of compulsory school age are enrolled in and attending school regularly.

The legislation to support a new model of SEAM in the Northern Territory as part of the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Package came into effect from 1 July 2012. The reformed SEAM model (implemented from term 1, 2016) seeks to streamline processes, which will allow the engagement of more parents.

SEAM aims to increase the enrolment and regular school attendance of compulsory school-age children whose parents are receiving a schooling requirement payment (1.1.S.52), by placing conditions on the parents' receipt of such payments. To help parents with any difficulties that they may be facing with their child/ren's enrolment and attendance, parents are provided with the offer of social work and other support services.

Parents who do not comply with their requirements under SEAM may have their schooling requirement payment suspended. Other payments such as FTB and child care benefit (CCB) are not affected by a SEAM suspension period.

SEAM does not reduce the primary responsibility of state and territory education authorities to respond to attendance issues. It is intended to provide an additional tool to help resolve intractable cases of no enrolment or poor attendance. DHS may provide referrals to relevant support services for parents. SEAM currently operates in selected locations in the Northern Territory.

SEAM applies to parents whose home address is in a SEAM location AND who are receiving a schooling requirement payment AND who have care of a schooling requirement child who is required to be enrolled at or attend a school.

SEAM consists of 2 main components, an enrolment component and an attendance component.

Last reviewed: 5 February 2018