By Sue Wight
The Education and Training Reform Regulations have now been ‘made’ but there is no need to panic.
Here, we provide the department’s Fact Sheet and answer the questions it doesn’t cover.
So, are the Regulations now law?
Yes and No. The 2017 Regulations are now law, but the Home Education section does not come into force until 2018, so there is no change until next year.
Does this mean our fight against the regulations is over?
No. The Regulations had to be made, gazetted and tabled in both Houses of Parliament before a disallowance motion could be put. They have now been made and gazetted and tabled in the Upper House. They will be tabled in the Lower House between 8-10 August. The Liberal Nationals will propose a disallowance motion after that. Its success depends on cross-bench support. So the campaign against the regulations is not over yet. Stay tuned.
The questions below are ONLY relevant if the disallowance motion does NOT succeed.
My child will be six next year, should I register now to be under the old regulations?
No, the old regulations will be gone. The new regulations affect everyone as of 2018. You could register in November for 2018 and not submit a Learning Plan, there is no need to register now and a registration for 2018 probably won’t be accepted this early.
Don’t the new regulations only apply to new home educators?
No. The new regulations affect everyone as of 2018. The only difference is that you don’t have to submit a Learning Plan for 2018 for children who are already registered.
I have children already registered but have a child who will be six next year, do I have to submit a Learning Plan for them?
If you register them in November this year for 2018, you won’t have to submit a Learning Plan. However, if you register them next year, a Learning Plan will be required – the fact that your other children are already registered is irrelevant. Each child is a separate registration and all registrations for new children will require a Learning Plan from 2018.
I have a child who won’t be school age until 2019 (or after) can I register them now?
If I am currently registered and my child tries school, will I need to submit a plan to re-register?
Yes, your registration will be treated as a new one and WILL require a Learning Plan.
What will be required in an Individual Learning Plan and a Review?
We don’t know yet, but there will be information materials developed by the VRQA. They plan to do a ‘Roadshow’ of information sessions later in the year to explain the new requirements.
Do I have to follow the Vic Curriculum?
Not necessarily, the regulations require you to cover the 8KLAs, NOT follow the Vic Curriculum. However, the VRQA already conduct reviews against the Australian Curriculum so you will probably need to report against it. This will be clearer after the ‘Roadshow’. In the meantime, there is no need to panic. Some people already record their home education against the Vic Curriculum for their own information and HEN can show you how to do that without necessarily changing what you do.
Will HEN provide assistance for members to meet the new requirements?
Yes, but we see no cause to panic or to change what you are currently doing. Wait and see what they require and then look at how to report what you currently do against that.
Will the VRQA come to my home to do the review?
Not unless you agree to that. Reviews should be mainly a matter of paperwork and can include an interview, but that does not have to take place at your home. The Education Act 5.8.4 (1b) forbids them from entering your home without your consent.
Will the assessors be experienced and knowledgeable in home education?
We keep asking this question and being fobbed off with non-answers, so it appears the department has no intention of ensuring assessment is done from a base of home education knowledge and experience. We’ve explained that home education is different to school, we’ve explained that there are many people with ‘dual experience’ but the most they say is ‘that’s interesting’. We will keep pushing this issue.
Is HEN working with the Department to develop materials etc?
No, the VRQA will develop all forms, guidance material and procedures. This work has already commenced and HEN will not be invited to contribute.
Is HEN working with the Department to develop policy?
No, they want our input on how to run their information sessions and committee but, considering work has already commenced on forms, guidance materials and procedures, the policy has clearly already been decided.
What role will the promised committee of home educators play?
It looks very superficial. It will only provide feedback. This indicates all decisions will be made by DET and VRQA . The committee will have no authority and not be consulted in the development phase. Considering DET’s version of ‘consultation’ matches the general population’s understanding of ‘feedback’ what they mean by ‘feedback’ is probably even less than the word suggests.