Last month changes to the homeschooling NSW registration process were released by the NSW Board of Studies in their revised Home Education information package. This has caused a great deal of angst for many homeschooling NSW registration parents because they essentially added extra documentation requirements to homeschoolers in what was already the most difficult place in Australia to get registered. I think the Board of Studies are surprised at the uproar because they just think they are clearing up a few grey areas.
Changes To Homeschooling NSW Registration
As far as I’m concerned the most significant change is to follow the NSW syllabus (which was always a requirement) and linking the learning with outcomes of the syllabus to your lessons. This is a very cumbersome requirement. Before we could just say we were following the syllabus and give examples of how we were doing this.
After talking this over with Don Carter, the Inspector, Registration & Accreditation at the Board of Studies he wrote back to me with this:
“ The outcomes for each stage of learning in each syllabus are intended to describe learning for a period of two years (except for Early Stage 1, which is Kindergarten). It is not expected that every outcome would be addressed with every learning activity undertaken by a home schooled child. Rather, it could be the case that at the conclusion of a series of learning experiences (for example, if the child had been learning about Ancient Rome for 4 weeks), that the parent could refer to the outcomes and identify which outcomes had been covered. Alternatively, a parent in planning a series of learning experiences might consult the outcomes and determine that the learning experiences would have regard to specific outcomes.
Also, how a parent records what has been delivered re the learning program is up to that parent. As we discussed on Wednesday, the example on p. 32 of the Information Package is only intended to provide one model and is not intended to suggest that this is the only approach. Thank you for pointing this out.
As we also discussed, if a parent were to photocopy the outcomes in the syllabus and tick them off/or initial/or date, as the learning program was undertaken or at its conclusion, this would be valid. It is not intended that on a daily basis, a parent would be referring to and recording specific outcomes. But again, how the recording of the program is undertaken is up to the parent.” (emphasis mine).”
Now the absolutely stupid thing about this requirement is there are about 80 requirements per stage (which usually lasts 2 years) and these requirements are not set out in an easy way. You have to sift through the NSW Board of Studies website and documents picking them out. This useless piece of red tape (that your approved person will probably only glance at) is still annoying me. It is not set up to help us. Its effect is to scare homeschoolers, adding an extra burden to our already busy schedules.
These outcomes are not content based. What I mean by that is that most of them don’t refer to specific topics but are more general. For example a Year 1 outcome is, “Engages in writing texts with the intention of conveying an idea or message.” It doesn’t tell you what to write but rather that your child wrote something (anything) and their writing had a purpose. Sure we can tick off a requirement that this is what our child can do but why do we honestly need to. So if you are concerned that the Board of Studies will try to stop you using your particular curriculum, that is not what they are trying to do (yet). The biggest hassle is that we have to take our perfectly good curriculums and spend hours working out how to match them up with the educationally jargoned outcomes.
Now if I have scared any of you with my tirade I’m sorry. I know you don’t need extra work. However I do encourage you to not lie down and take it. Please if you feel passionate about the unfairness of this new document I encourage you to send an email (if you haven’t already) to the Home Education Unit and Adrian Piccoli the NSW Minister for Education.
Minister for Education NSW Adrian Piccoli
Home Education Administrative Officer
homeschooling@Board of Studies.nsw.edu.au
I’ll let you read the rest of the package yourself. You can find it here and an FAQ document that is supposed to appease us is there. http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/parents/home-schooling.html
UPDATE June 2014
Help For Documentation
Here is some more help for homeschooling in NSW.
I’ve had numerous conversations with the NSW Board of Studies and have discussed the fact that the outcomes only need to be BASED on the NSW Syllabus. So if you chose to write your own outcomes this should be perfectly acceptable. I have now heard of a few people being registered since the new documentation. Some are asked for outcomes – others are not. It still seems a very grey area. I was registered last month and showed my own outcomes BASED on the syllabus and was passed for registration.
A petition with 10000 signatures was tabled in the NSW parliament to complain about these changes. A parliamentary inquiry was established with requests for submissions from interested parties.
For info see www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/homeschooling
For anonymous submissions see
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Email submissions to HOVA by TUESDAY 5TH AUGUST 2014
Update October 2014