In Victoria, teenagers are required to be at school or registered for home education until the age of 17. Home educated students who are aged 17 or over can apply to TAFE directly so long as they meet the prerequisites for the course.
All students are required to complete a Language Literacy and Numeracy test, which for certificate courses requires approximately year 9-10 English and maths. Some certificate and diploma courses have prerequisites, so it pays to research course options in advance. Look at the courses of interest and then establish which have the best pathway options. Will the student need to provide a portfolio or meet age or previous study requirements? If so, how can this best be achieved?
The situation for students under 17 is more complicated in Victoria. If the course is full time, they will be required to provide a Exemption from School Attendance form during the enrolment process. This form has to be signed by the local Regional Director of Education and is effectively giving permission for the student to ‘leave school’ early. See DET’s exemption process information here.
For instructions on how to complete the form, phone your Department regional office and ask to speak to someone about a transition from school enquiry. You can find your nearest regional office here: https://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/contact/Pages/regions.aspx
Once put through, explain you have a student registered for home education who wishes to transfer to a TAFE course, that you are completing a Transition from School Form and need specific instructions on how to fill it in and submit it to the Regional Director.
The course needs to be considered full-time for the transition to be approved. DET (Department of Education and Training) defines full-time as 25 hours per week. This process is messy and can be slow. HEN is working very hard on having it changed, but in the meantime, if you encounter difficulties please contact us for support at firstname.lastname@example.org
Unlike enrolled school students who are able to complete a part time certificate course through VET in Schools, home educated students under the age of 17 are not able to access funding for part time courses. This is a result of the Skills First funding which is designed to prevent ‘double dipping’ – a student being subsidised at TAFE and school at the same time.
Home educated students are excluded from both types of funding,: they cannot ‘single dip’, let alone ‘double dip’. Many students choose to undertake TAFE courses as a component of their home education, so the impact of the Skills First regulations is significant. HEN is working on having this arbitrary discrimination changed.
Whether your teen is considering TAFE, university or work, the HEN publication Other Ways to Uni and Careers is full of useful information, advice and personal stories.