Navigation Menu
Show Breadcrumbs

Home Schooling in NSW Information Package – questions and answers

Purpose

Overview of questions

  • Q1. Why has the Information Package been updated?
  • Q2. Does the updated Information Package require me to change the way I home school my child?
  • Q3. Does the updated Information Package mean that the unique nature of home education is no longer recognised?
  • Q4. How can I access Program Builder?
  • Q5. Does the home schooling educational program need to be based on NSW Education Standards (NESA) syllabuses?
  • Q6. Can I select the content for my child’s educational program?
  • Q7. Will the Authorised Person still discuss my application with me?
  • Q8. Can I develop a program to meet my child’s individual learning needs?
  • Q9. Is it new to expect that the child will be present in the home during a home visit?
  • Q10. Do I have to seek approval when working above the Years of schooling recorded on my child’s certificate of registration?
  • Q11. Can I continue to plan learning activities outside my home?
  • Q12. Can I continue to plan group learning?
  • Q13. Does the Information Package restrict my home schooling to ‘school hours’?
  • Q14. What might prompt a monitoring visit?
  • Q15. Have the requirements for record keeping increased?
  • Q16. Was there consultation on the updated Information Package?
  • Q17. How can NESA syllabuses be used by home schooling parents when developing an educational program for their child?
  • Q18. Has the requirement that parents engage with NESA syllabuses increased the workload for home schooling parents?
  • Q19. Can home schooling parents continue to teach multi-age groups, use common themes or topics, or provide educational experiences beyond the confines of the home?
  • Q20. How does an Authorised Person decide on the recommendation for a particular period of registration?
  • Q21. Where can home schooling families access information about government financial assistance?
  • Q22. Can I seek registration for my child beyond the age of 17 years?

Q1. Why has the Information Package been updated?

The main reason for updating the Information Package is to provide information for parents about the new syllabuses developed by NESA to be implemented commencing from 2014.

The updated Information Package also provides clarification and more explicit information about the requirements and processes for home schooling registration.

For home schooling families who were meeting the requirements for registration prior to the publication of the updated Information Package, the clarified and more explicit information has not created a need to change the approach to home schooling. The requirements for registration have not changed.

Q2. Does the updated Information Package require me to change the way I home school my child?

No. For parents who were meeting the requirements for home schooling registration prior to the publication of the updated Information Package, there is no need to change your approach apart from commencing to implement the new NESA syllabuses from 2014.

Home schooling parents can continue to:

  • adopt an approach that integrates learning across a range of subject areas
  • provide common topics or themes for children of multiple ages
  • select content that is relevant to the child’s learning needs
  • design projects, choose resources and provide meaningful and engaging learning activities
  • address individual learning rates and interests
  • adjust the educational program according to factors such as the child’s progress, the need for extension or revision, local events, new resources and/or emerging areas of interest
  • build on the learning opportunities that arise naturally in the home on a day-to-day basis
  • plan learning times to suit the family.

Q3. Does the updated Information Package mean that the unique nature of home education is no longer recognised?

No. The unique nature of education in the home and the commitment, energy and time home schooling parents give to educate their children continue to be recognised. The diverse range of strategies, philosophies and approaches parents have for educating their children also continue to be recognised and valued.

The Information Package does not prescribe any particular approach to home schooling, nor does it preclude any particular approach.

Q4. How can I access Program Builder?

To access Program Builder, home schooling parents need to establish a ‘Scootle’ account. Scootle is a content discovery portal containing more than 16,000 teaching resources. Access to the NESA's Program Builder assists in planning and organising learning content and resources.

The process for creating a Scootle account is to email the Home Schooling Unit <homeschooling@bos.nsw.edu.au> to request information about creating a Scootle account. Please provide your name, home location and the names of your registered children in this email.

On receipt of your emailed request, the Home Schooling Unit will confirm the home schooling registration of your children and send a return email providing details of how you can establish a Scootle account.

Parents may also be interested in the website www.tesaustralia.com, which was launched by TES Australia in partnership with NESA. The website provides a comprehensive range of teaching and assessment resources that relate to the NSW syllabuses. Home schooling families can register at this site to gain free access to over 500,000 digital resources.

The Information Package refers to the information in this question and answer.

Q5. Does the home schooling educational program need to be based on NESA syllabuses?

Yes. The Education Act 1990 provides the minimum curriculum for all children in NSW. The minimum curriculum is the relevant NESA syllabuses. For children in NSW, the educational program must be based on and taught in accordance with NESA syllabuses.

This requirement has not changed with the updated Information Package. For parents who are currently using NESA syllabuses to plan an educational program for their child, the updated Information Package does not create a need to change the approach being taken by the parent.

The curriculum guidelines in the previous package were not, and are not, the minimum curriculum in NSW. The updated Information Package makes this clear. This clarity was requested by parents.

Q6. Can I select the content for my child’s educational program?

Yes. The updated Information Package continues to provide for a home schooling parent to choose content that is relevant to the child’s learning needs. This may be syllabus content, content developed by the parent or content drawn from a range of other sources.

Q7. Will the Authorised Person still discuss my application with me?

Yes. The purpose of a home visit by an Authorised Person is to assess an application for home schooling registration. The Information Package confirms this purpose. Discussion between the parent and the Authorised Person continues to be part of this process.

Q8. Can I develop a program to meet my child’s individual learning needs?

Yes. It is expected that in planning an educational program, a parent will consider his or her child’s individual learning needs and will incorporate specific learning activities and content to address those needs.

Q9. Is it new to expect that the child will be present in the home during a home visit?

No. The expectation that the child will be present in the home during a home visit has been part of the home visit process for many years. The updated Information Package makes this expectation clear.

Q10. Do I have to seek approval when working above the Years of schooling recorded on my child’s certificate of registration?

The additional information in the Information Package means that it is only if a parent is seeking to change the Years of schooling on a child’s certificate that the parent needs to notify the Home Schooling Unit. (Note: A certificate of registration may record ‘primary’ or ‘secondary’ education.)

Home schoolers may recall that Years of schooling information was only added to registration certificates when the minimum school leaving age was increased in 2010.

Parents can continue to provide work to extend their child’s learning or to assist a child with learning difficulties.

Parents do not need to seek approval to select content, learning activities and resources that are relevant to the educational program that has been developed to address the child’s individual learning needs. Parents do not need to seek approval to adjust an educational program, for example by providing extension work, spending more time on a topic, repeating an activity or progressing towards learning a new skill.

Addressing the individual learning needs of a child is part of home schooling. It is also part of meeting the registration requirement for the educational program to be suitable for the identified learning needs of the child.

Q11. Can I continue to plan learning activities outside my home?

Yes. Many home schooling parents incorporate learning outside of the home as part of an educational program. Activities such as community events, visits to the library, travel to local regions, trips to museums and participation in sporting groups may all contribute to a child’s educational program.

The updated Information Package has not changed with regard to the inclusion and recognition of such activities as part of a child’s educational program that is primarily implemented in the home.

Q12. Can I continue to plan group learning?

Yes. Many home schooling families come together to share resources, provide support, and contribute particular talents. The Education Act 1990 states that home schooling means schooling in the home. This does not preclude parents from planning group learning activities as an aspect of the educational program that is primarily delivered in the child’s home.

The updated Information Package has not changed this aspect of home schooling. The requirement of the Education Act 1990 has not changed.

Q13. Does the Information Package restrict my home schooling to ‘school hours’?

No. The requirement relating to the time to be allocated for home schooling has not changed. The updated Information Package continues to recognise that home schooling parents plan learning times according to the schedule of the family. This may be across all days of the week and at times that are outside of a typical school day.

Q14. What might prompt a monitoring visit?

A monitoring visit may occur if the Office receives information causing concern that is relevant to home schooling registration. If this occurs, the Office would first write to the home schooling parent to provide notice of the monitoring visit prior to the monitoring visit taking place.

A monitoring visit may also occur if an Authorised Person has recommended monitoring during the next period of registration. In this case, the parent would be notified of the recommended monitoring visit and would receive written advice of the visit prior to the monitoring taking place.

NESA has no plans for ‘unannounced’ home visits.

Q15. Have the requirements for record keeping increased?

There are no additional requirements for record keeping. The updated Information Package does not require parents to keep any more records than were required previously. Section 2 of the Information Package states the requirements for home schooling registration.

Q16. Was there consultation on the updated Information Package?

The main reason for updating the Information Package was to provide information about the staged implementation of new Kindergarten to Year 10 NESA syllabuses in English, Mathematics, Science and History from 2014.

There was extensive and open consultation during the development of the new syllabuses. Information about the development and publication of the syllabuses has been available on the BOSTES’ website for over a year. In August and November 2012, the Home Education Association provided information for families about the development and publication of the new syllabuses. Authorised Persons have been discussing the new NESA syllabuses with home schooling families for over a year.

The more explicit information contained in the updated Information Package addresses requests from home schooling parents to clarify aspects of home schooling registration and clarify what is expected. For parents meeting the requirements for registration, the updated Information Package has not created a need to change their approach to home schooling.

Ongoing discussion with home schooling parents and representatives of home schooling groups has demonstrated the need to provide further information to home schoolers to address any areas that may continue to be unclear or misunderstood. Such further information will take the form of additional questions and answers published on this page.

Q17. How can NESA syllabuses be used by home schooling parents when developing an educational program for their child?

There are a number of ‘entry points’ to NESA syllabuses for parents in developing the child’s educational program. For example, a parent may demonstrate engagement with NESA syllabuses through the integration of syllabus outcomes into the educational program. Alternatively, or in addition, a parent may use the syllabus stage statements as the basis for planning the educational program; or the parent use syllabus content to demonstrate that the educational program is based on relevant NESA syllabuses.

Q18. Has the requirement that parents engage with NESA syllabuses increased the workload for home schooling parents?

The requirement of the Education Act 1990 that the educational program be based on, and taught in accordance with, the relevant NESA syllabuses was stated in the previous Information Package and is repeated in the current Information Package.

Q19. Can home schooling parents continue to teach multi-age groups, use common themes or topics, or provide educational experiences beyond the confines of the home?

Parents may continue to provide learning activities for their children in multi-age groups, using common themes or topics; parents may continue to adjust the pace and/or content of the educational program in response to the identified learning needs of their children. Activities such as community events, visits to the library, travel to local regions, trips to museums and participation in sporting groups may all contribute to a child’s educational program. The updated Information Package has not changed with regard to the inclusion and recognition of such activities as part of a child’s educational program that is primarily implemented in the home.

Q20. How does an Authorised Person decide on the recommendation for a particular period of registration?

Authorised Persons assess each application on its individual merits. The process for making a recommendation for home schooling registration is based on the professional discernment and on-balance judgement of the Authorised Person.

An Authorised Person considers a range of factors in recommending a specific period of home schooling registration. Importantly, the Authorised Person will review the evidence provided by the applicant in relation to the requirements for home schooling registration as detailed in the Registration for Home Schooling in NSW – Information Package(see page 10). Guidelines to assist Authorised Persons in making recommendations can be found in Appendix B of the Registration for Home Schooling – Authorised Persons Handbook.

Q21. Where can home schooling families access information about government financial assistance?

The Department of Human Services has published A guide to Australian Government payments.

This online guide is updated regularly and provides information about current Centrelink allowances and the eligibility requirements necessary to receive assistance.

The online guide can be accessed at:

<https://www.humanservices.gov.au/corporate/publications-and-resources/guide-australian-government-payments>

Information about contacting Centrelink is provided on the Department of Human Services website <https://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/contact-us> or by telephoning 132 468.

The NESA is not a funding authority.

Q22. Can I seek registration for my child beyond the age of 17 years?

A recent decision by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) recommended children up to the age of 18 years be eligible for home schooling registration.

Given the decision by NCAT, NESA has decided to register children up to the age of 18 years where parents are seeking such registration and all other requirements are being met.

It is now open to parents to apply for home schooling registration for children up to the age of 18 years.

The Information Package will be amended to reflect this change as part of the current revision process.

Parents may seek home schooling registration for children up to the age of 18 years by submitting an application through the normal process or, in the circumstances described below, by making a request for consideration.

Request for consideration

NESA notes that there are children with a current period of registration that expires when they turn 17 years of age. These children were not eligible to be registered beyond the age of 17 years at the time their registration was granted.

If the parent of a child in this circumstance wishes to seek an additional period of registration for the child up to the age of 18 years, the parent may write to NESA accordingly. The request may include any information the parent considers to be relevant such as the history of the child’s registration and the current and planned curriculum for the child.

NESA will have regard to the individual circumstances of any such request as relevant to home schooling registration. An assessment by home visit may be part of the NESA review process, depending on the individual circumstances.  

A request for consideration may be mailed to the NESA Home Schooling Unit, GPO Box 5300, Sydney, NSW, 2001 or emailed to <homeschooling@bostes.nsw.edu.au>. 

See the information pack and information about registration.

Complementary Content
${loading}