Ever get confused with what laws you're supposed to follow as a homeschool parent starting out?
Here are the Australian homeschool laws laid out in simple English so they're easy to understood. Each state and territory in Australia has outlined homeschooling into their laws. Some have, in their legislation, been more specific than others. Below is an overview of the laws regarding this subject in the Australian State's Education Acts. If you still have questions by the time you have read through this document, contact your local education department, and they will clarify the issues in question. Happy reading!
Homeschooling Laws in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
ACT homeschooling laws
Chapter 5 of the Education Act (2004) ACT outlines the legal requirements of homeschooling in the ACT. Under s130, parents must register children with the authorities. Once the application has been received the child is provisionally registered for 6 months until their application is approved. Under s131, the application is made in writing to the director-general. Then the application may be approved for up to two years if authorities are satisfied. The decision to approve a homeschooling application is made when a homeschooling inspector inspects the homeschooling property and homeschooling materials being proposed for use. Under s132, parents must provide high-quality education and must document educational ‘opportunities’ offered to children and strategies parents use to encourage their child in learning. The educational programs, materials and other records used for home education must be available for review by the home education inspector. When the application is made and approved, the Director-General will award parents with a certificate of registration for their child. Application for renewal must be given before expiry of the previous certificate. The Director keeps the child’s name on a register of homeschoolers. Every year parents must give the Director an educational progress report. The Director may cancel registration if they think parents have contravened the condition on which they were approved to homeschool. Before the registration is cancelled, however, the Director must give parents a written notice outlining why registration is to be cancelled. The parents then have an opportunity to respond to the allegations put forward by the Director. Then the Director must consider this response before cancelling registration. If the parents have rectified the contravention and say they’ll comply with regulations, registration may be reinstated.
Homeschooling Laws in New South Wales (NSW)
NSW homeschooling laws
In Part 7 of the Education Act 1990 (NSW) parents must apply in writing to the Minister. The Minister will check there are no objections to registration (such as previous records of unfit homeschooling) before registering the child on a state Register of homeschoolers. Parents may simultaneously register more than one child in the family. Upon approval of the application, the Minister produces a certificate and writes to parents telling them of his or her approval. Children are registered for two years. The child must be instructed so they meet ‘the relevant requirements of Part 3 [of the Education Act 1990 (NSW)] about the minimum curriculum for schools.’ These are outlined below: · Key Learning Areas for Primary Education are English, Mathematics, Science and Technology, Human Society and its Environment, Creative and Practical Arts, Personal Development, Health and Physical Education.
o Australian study is to be done in Human Society and its Environment o Art and music are to be in Creative and Practical Arts o Courses of study in a key learning area are to be based on and taught in accord with a syllabus developed or endorsed by the Board and approved by the Minister.
· Key Learning Areas of Secondary Education (Years 7-10) - English, Mathematics, Science and Technology, Human Society and its Environment, Languages (besides English), Technological and Applied Studies, Creative Arts, Personal Development, Health and Physical Education.
o ‘6 out of 8’ key learning areas are to be provided for each child according to s10. o English, Mathematics, Science and Human Society and its Environment must be studied each year. o A parent can apply to the Board to modify the syllabus so long as the Board considers the syllabus incompatible with the educational philosophy or religious outlook of the homeschool. · Key Learning Areas of High School Certificate candidates
o Year 11 and 12 students must study English and a broad range of study. See s12 for more information.
Registration may be cancelled if parents fail to instruct children according to the law, refuse entry to homeschooling inspectors or breach any condition of their registration. A registration certificate must be given in writing, at which time the parent can make an application to the Tribunal within 30 days for a review.
Under s75, a parent can tell the Minister they don’t want to be registered as they are a conscientious objector to registration on religious grounds. The Minister will then decide if he will accept this objection and tell parents in writing thereof. Again, an appeal can be made to the Tribunal to have the decision overturned. If accepted, the Minister must write a certificate of exemption which expires after 2 years.
Homeschooling Laws in the Northern Territory (NT)
NT homeschooling laws
Parents must apply to the CEO before homeschooling with details of their proposed home education under s20E of the Education Act (NT). Approval is for one year only, and inspections are compulsory.
Homeschooling Laws in Victoria (VIC)
Under s4.3.9 of the Education and Training Reform Act (2006) VIC, parents must register their children for homeschooling in Victoria. Registration may be cancelled if parents refuse inspectors access to review their children’s educational program, material or other records or if parents fail to comply with the rules of registration. Children must be registered by age 6. Failing to give children adequate educational instruction is an offence. The offence carries a fine (2.1.2A).
Homeschooling Laws in Queensland (QLD)
QLD homeschooling laws
Parents must make an application for homeschooling registration under Part 5 of the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (QLD). The child will be provisionally registered after the application is received. This ends after 60 days. Each application applies to only one child. The application must include, ‘a summary of the educational program to be used, or learning philosophy to be followed, for the home education; and any other documents, identified in the approved form, the Chief Executive reasonably requires to decide the application.’ This information must be verified by statutory declaration. If the Chief Executive finds parents do not comply with a requirement, the Chief must give 28 days where parents can try to rectify the requirement and tell them thereof. This period may be extended if the Chief Executive is agreeable. An example of a failed requirement is insufficient information provided or a statutory declaration not provided.
Registration may be cancelled if false or misleading information is given, if conditions are not adhered to or if the executive is not satisfied with a child’s educational progress. If the Chief Executive believes grounds exist for registration cancellation, they must give notice in writing which state the reasons (s222). The parent has 30 days to respond to the allegations. The chief must consider these in his response. If registration is cancelled, parents must return the certificate of registration to authorities within 2 weeks of cancellation. A parent is obliged to surrender registration if they stop homeschooling and must make an application to a school for the child’s schooling. Simultaneous enrolment in homeschool and another school is prohibited.
If the Chief Executive is satisfied, they’ll approve the application and notify parents in writing. A certificate will also be issued stating as much. If the application is not decided within 90 days of receiving the application (or within 90 days of receiving further information), the application should be taken to be refused.
According to s127, parents must ensure children receive high-quality education and give the Chief Executive a written report of educational progress. This report must be given at least two months, but not more than three months, before each anniversary of registration. If moving, parents must tell authorities of their new address. The executive can impose conditions as he sees fit.
Homeschooling Laws in Western Australia (WA)
WA homeschooling laws
ss46-54 of the School Education Act 1999 (WA) contain legislation about home education in WA. Parents must apply to the Chief Executive for permission to homeschool. Information supplied may have to be backed up by documentary evidence. An application can relate to more than one child. Once the Chief Executive is satisfied with an application, he must issue the family registration and a certificate. Registration is for an indefinite period, meaning annual or biannual registration is not necessary. Inspectors can inspect educational programs of children for sufficiency. The first inspection comes within three months of being first registered and, thereafter, annually. An appointment time is to be made between the parent and the inspector at the child’s home. After the inspection, the inspector will make a report, a copy of which will go to the parents. Registration may be cancelled if conditions have not been followed or if parents have hindered the inspectors. Before deciding a child’s educational program is not satisfactory, the Chief Executive must take account of the School Curriculum and Standards Authority Act 1997 (WA) and the learning environment’s effect on a child’s educational progress and anything else of relevance. Parents can write to the Minister to review the Chief Executive’s decision to cancel registration within 14 days of receiving notice from the CE.
Homeschooling Laws in South Australia (SA)
SA homeschooling laws
The Education Act 1972 (SA) does not explicitly reference homeschooling like the other states. SA Education Department was consulted for clarification. A departmental spokesman had the following to say:
While South Australia’s Education Act does not specifically reference home schooling, Section 81A allows for exemptions from compulsory attendance to be granted.
Parents can apply for an exemption so they can educate their children at home.
In order for this exemption to be granted, parents need to demonstrate they will provide:
· An appropriate learning program
· Resources to support the learning program
· A suitable learning environment
· Opportunities for social interaction
If an application is successful, an exemption from attendance at school is usually granted for a period of 12 months.
The exemption can be renewed on an annual basis by participation in a review of the home education program.
Homeschooling Laws in Tasmania (TAS)
TAS homeschooling laws
Children must be registered for homeschooling from ages 5-16 years. Division 3 of theTasmanian Education Act 1994 (TAS) says parents must make an application to the Minister for registration. Registration is valid for two years. Cancellation can occur if the Minister deems the child’s best interests are served best with cancellation.
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