NSW Draft Homeschool Registration 2017 – Comments

NSW  Draft Homeschool Registration

NSW  Draft Homeschool Registration 2017 – Comments

The NSW Draft Homeschool Registration guidelines from the NSW Educations Standards Authority (NESA – formally BOSTES) were released a little over a week ago. You can find the document here.

Consultations are occurring throughout NSW and I encourage you to attend a meeting if you want input. This will not only help current homeschoolers but it will help the next generation of homeschoolers. For homeschool consultation dates look here.

I’ve read through the draft and here are my comments.  At times I will be referring to pages and sections in the document so if you want more clarification please refer to the NSW Draft Homeschool Registration document yourself.

These are my opinions and they may differ to yours. I have not picked up all the issues but these are my current thoughts. Please feel free to contribute or comment on my points.

NSW Draft Homeschool Registration – Comments

Section 5 – Assessment Process

Re-registration under the NSW  Draft Homeschool Registration
Since “the focus of the Authorised Person’s [AP] assessment during the home visit is the educational program” (p.11) are they wanting to compare the plan from the previous registration with the current plan.

After reading through the Section 5, I am wondering if the AP intends on using the previous educational plan used for registration to assess if someone met the registration requirements. I don’t believe our renewal should be linked strongly to our previous plan.

Question: Will we need to show our last plan on re-registration?

Plans change over a 1-2 year period. Homeschooling parents need to understand that it is the record of learning that NESA are looking at not necessarily the previous year’s educational plan – this is particularly true with new homeschoolers who are finding their feet.

Further evidence of this intention is shown in these two quotes:

“For applications for renewal of registration, the Authorised Person will consider whether the available information demonstrates that the requirements for home schooling registration were met during the past or current period of registration and whether the requirements for registration would be met if a further period of registration were to be granted.” (p. 11)

“In relation to the period of registration, the recommendation is based on the assessment of the Authorised Person and consideration of factors such as:

  • whether it is a first period of registration
  • the availability of records from a recent period of registration clearly showing how the educational program was implemented
  • records to show how the requirements for registration were met in a previous period of registration, if relevant
  • the demonstrated planning for a future period of registration.” (p.13)

The Certificate of Registration

Most people do not realize that they can apply for registration as primary or secondary and that they do not need to apply for an actual stage or grade.  This should be made clear.

The certificate specifies the conditions of registration, that is, the child’s name, the child’s home address, the curriculum being implemented and the period of registration.” p.13

What does curriculum being implemented mean? I know it is possible to register for primary or secondary /grade or stage. I’m assuming that it what the above statement is referring to.

Section 6 – Internal Review and Appeal

Most people are successful in the application to homeschool. However this section starts with an inference there is a good chance for refusal. This alone will stop people registering. If they want people to register then they need to approach this section with a more positive friendly sentence.

This would be less aggressive:
“It is uncommon for people to be refused registration however if the Authorized Person does recommend your refusal here are your pathways and options.”

Section 7- Curriculum Overview

The differences between the Australian Curriculum and the NSW Syllabus should be discussed to help parents understand they are very similar. I know this is briefly addresses in the FAQ but I feel it would be helpful here.

There are a range of resources that comply with the Australian Curriculum and parents need to know that in general these resources will comply with the stage statements of the NSW syllabus.

The definitions on: objectives, outcomes, stage statements, content, cross curriculum priorities are helpful on page 18-19.

I would also suggest you define:

  • syllabus and curriculum in context with “The curriculum must be based on and taught in accordance with NESA syllabuses.” p.4

Section 9 – Curriculum For Secondary Education.

The confusion on Technology needs to be cleared up. On page 26 it says it is two of the four electives that can be used as part of the curriculum. On page 29 it indicates Technology is mandatory.

Section 10 – Curriculum For Senior Secondary Education – Year 11 & 12

It is not compulsory to follow the HSC syllabus and even if a home schooled child follows the HSC syllabus they will not be eligible for an HSC. This should be made clear. Homeschool parents should also be told that those not wanting to follow the HSC syllabus have an option for registering their curriculum as Year 10 extension or simply high school until the child turns 17. After they apply for the Completion of Year 10 certificate is this still an option?

Section 11 – Completion of Year 10 Certificate

Inform them the completion of year 10 certificate is not compulsory and after a Year 10 Certificate of Completion is allocated they are required to follow the HSC syllabus or be educated by the other options listed (p. 34) until they are 17.

Having recently witnessed an application to a TAFE smart and skilled course of an unregistered 16 year old homeschooler I know that TAFE did not require any such documentation.

I am also surprised to see the below statement in the document. I suspect it isn’t true.

“If a home schooled child who is not yet 17 years of age has a signed full-time apprenticeship or traineeship contract, the parent may apply to NESA for exemption from the child having to be enrolled in and attend school whilst the child is undertaking the full-time apprenticeship or traineeship. An application for exemption in these circumstances is assessed by an Authorised Person in discussion with the parent. A copy of the signed full-time apprenticeship or traineeship contract and a training plan proposal is required.” p.36

Section 12 – Notifications to NESA

The notification requirement for changes in the curriculum to be should/must be removed. (p.38)
This is too general and a homeschooling parent makes many changes to their curriculum. It can be addressed at next registration. The following example demonstrates how silly this requirement.

“If you see a need to change your child’s certificate of registration to record that the child is studying alternate NESA curriculum, please provide details of the change. For example, you may want to change from ‘secondary education’ to ‘Years 9 and 10’.” p.38

Such a notification is just semantics. This requirement leaves too much open to interpretation and is unnecessary.

Section 13 – Resources and Support

Program builder is mentioned twice and this is not available until you are registered. If this is such a great planning tool newly applying home schoolers should be given temporary access prior to registration.

The NAPLAN is not compulsory this needs to be stated.

Section 14 – FAQ

Please add question: Do I need to keep a daily diary?
Answer: No a daily diary is not required but some do find it helpful to keep a record of learning.

Section 15 –Example Records

Remove Example 9. This is far too detailed and a person may have written a lesson plan like this but it isn’t necessary.

What Can You Do?

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  1. Karen  March 13, 2017

    Hi Michelle
    I also went to a meeting in my area. Also poorly attended – however it was just days after the draft was released. Like Cathy, I also felt they were actually listening this time, and the whole process was much less adversarial than last time. I also had a quick read through your comments – they are very similar to my own comments.
    Wouldn’t it be great if they get the same feedback across the state?


    • Michelle  March 19, 2017

      I went to my meeting the other day not that many went either. I think they were trying to rush our feedback because we were bogging them down with details we wanted to change or add. They may have been listening but they made it clear they weren’t making any promises.

  2. Cathy N  February 28, 2017

    Hi Michelle
    I attended the first of these meeting today, in Dubbo. Just some feedback for those considering attending other meetings –
    It was attended by 3 APs – 2 from Sydney and my local AP. They were all very friendly and attentive to what I and the only other homeschooler who attended. Even though we were 2 homeschoolers to 3 APs, I was never intimidated or uncomfortable. They listened well to us, asked us good questions and accepted all our comments and thoughts. We were freely given time to speak and ask questions. So much so, that we ran out of time!

    We went through the whole draft in-depth. So now is the time for us to speak out about any concerns we have with this draft. They also welcomed any comments about any other problems we have, being homeschoolers, with anything else e.g. TAFE enrolment, record keeping, curriculum etc. Anything really – they want to hear us!

    I’m repeating myself here – BUT – They stressed that they want us to attend, they want us to speak up, and they want to hear what we have to say. They also want to hear what we have to say about everything to do with registering and homeschooling – not just about this new draft guidelines document.

    It was a very good and worthwhile experience. I was surprised by how good it was. PLEASE homeschoolers – go to a meeting near you. If not fill in a survey – have your say!!

    • Michelle  February 28, 2017

      Thanks Cathy that’s so good to get such positive feedback from the meetings. I will be attending the Newcastle one.

      • Cathy N  March 1, 2017

        Great! Please encourage others to go. Michelle there is something else that was said in the meeting, I will write it below. You can leave it in or out of your comments on this blog. Just thought I’d alert you to it.

        One other thing that came up was when Lindsay, the person leading the discussion, explained the name change to NESA. He explained it as, because the education authority is now an Education Standards Authority, that in the future things will change, i.e. education standards. I didn’t fully grasp all that he was saying, and sort of read between the lines a little, but I think he mentioned testing as well. I had previously told him that I was near the end of homeschooling, so when explaining the name change, he looked at me and said I might get out in time to miss the changes.

        Thinking about it all now, I think we homeschoolers may need to be on guard so to speak, a bit wary. Maybe someone, at their own meeting, could get more of explanation about the name change than I received? I don’t want to alarm anyone, especially if it isn’t necessary, but I just thought there may have been something implied about the future of education in NSW, which ultimately affects us homeschoolers.



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