This information has been updated from an article written for Otherways magazine by a home educating lawyer in 2006 when registration became a legal requirement in Victoria. Note that a penalty unit is $155.46 (2016/17) and increases annually.
- The law requires it. It is a serious thing to break the law.
- Victorian home education law remains among the least restrictive regimes in Australia.
- Registration is straight forward.
- The regulations and processes are not intrusive.
- You will be required to provide regular and efficient instruction that broadly addresses the eight Key Learning Areas (KLAs), but do not have to follow the state curriculum or VELS. Note that you are not required to cover all the KLAs every year e.g. you could not do languages and still be considered to be complying with the regulations.
- You are also required to teach in accordance with the ‘Australian values’ recited in the Act, which are expressed very generally, and include openness, tolerance, freedom of religion, acceptance of democratic principles and the rule of law.
- You do not have to submit lesson plans or any kind of curriculum for approval. You can home educate using any method you choose, including natural learning. You will not be told what to teach your children.
- There are no home visits.
The powers of the VRQA are limited
- The VRQA will only seek to review a household’s programme (including inspection of materials, etc.) if it has reasonable grounds to believe that there is non-compliance. This process will be triggered by specific complaints which must be in writing. It is anticipated that parents will be notified of any concern in writing and will have an opportunity to respond (and, if necessary, rectify any non-compliance). At this point, it would be of great assistance to be able to demonstrate compliance by records made by the parent.
- Suspension or cancellation of registration should only occur once these opportunities have been given. The decision to suspend or cancel registration can be reviewed in VCAT if the parent disagrees with it.
Other benefits of registration
- Registered home educators are exempt from the Mutual Obligation requirements.
- Registered home educators will be in a better position to promote home education to others, and in public forums.