Registering for home education
Home education in Victoria is covered under The Education and Training Reform Act 2006 and The Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017.
Home educators are required to register with the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA). The VRQA is the government regulator responsible for home education.
For comprehensive information on how to register, including advice on how to prepare the required learning plan, please read HEN’s Registration support page.
Please see our page home education registration around Australia for advice on states and territories other than Victoria.
HEN also has a document with a summary of legal requirements: Excerpts from the Act and Regulation where you can view the information relevant to home education.
A brief visual guide to the Victorian home ed regulations can be found here.
Registration age requirements
Registration age in Victoria
Registration is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 17.
FOR CHILDREN AGED 5:
If your child is five in 2020 but will be six in 2021, you can register them for 2021 now.
Registration is not a legal requirement until their sixth birthday, so you can choose between registering for the start of the year, or just in time for their birthday (around a month beforehand is recommended). The advantage of registering later is that their registration will not be included in the review pool for 2021, where 10% of home ed registrations are drawn for review each year. This draw happens in February and includes anyone registered at that time.
So if your child turns six in May, you can register them in March if you like.
Remember, home education can commence any time, registration is only required as at their sixth birthday i.e. registration and education are two different things. Your home education is what you’ve been doing since they were born, so just continue on the way you have been.
FOR CHILDREN AGED 6-16 registration is compulsory – see details below.
Registration is no longer required by law, but optional registration is available through to age 18.
When a 17 year old is registered and turns 18 during the year, their registration remains current until 31 Dec that year and then expires.
FOR 18-YEAR OLDS: It is not possible to register someone aged 18 or over but if they were aged 17 on registration, their registration remains current until 31 Dec that year and then expires.
Documents the VRQA requires for registration
When you send in your home education application to the VRQA you must include the following:
- A learning plan (one for each child)
- Proof of the child’s name AND date of birth on the one identifying document (e.g. passport, birth certificate)
- Proof of your parental responsibility (e.g. Medicare card, Centrelink statement stating you are the parent)
- Written consent or court order where there is shared parental responsibility
Copies of the required documents are what you provide, not originals. The name of the child must match the name you use on the application form.
If you do not have proof of the child’s name AND birth on one document, you can contact the VRQA and ask about sending in your application with learning plan for the time being, while you obtain supporting documentation. For example, sending in the application and learning plan while you wait for a birth certificate.
In the case of a court order that affects your ability to register for home education, you must provide a copy of that court order with your application. The VRQA will consult their lawyer in these cases. If the court order states there is equal shared parental responsibility then both parties need to provide evidence of their consent. This could be both parties signing the application form, or including written consent from the other party with your application.
If you have questions regarding any court orders and home education, we recommend you call the VRQA directly on 9637 2806 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org . The VRQA staff are very helpful and can advise you.
Waiting for your registration approval
The VRQA takes up to 28 days to approve an application for home education. Children are required to stay in school during the approval period. However, if your children would be at risk by remaining in school, request the principal’s approval to remove them and remove them immediately (with or without approval). If your school gives you trouble, HEN can provide advice in most cases.
If your child has previously attended a school, it is considered a matter of politeness to inform the school that you will be home educating from now on, and that you have registered with the VRQA according to the regulations. School staff might request a copy of your VRQA letter to complete their paperwork. You do not require the school’s permission, approval or a transfer form in order to home educate.
If your registration is rejected by the VRQA you can reapply or appeal. In such cases however, the VRQA will have attempted to contact you to ask for clarification or missing information.
Your ongoing requirements
There is no legal requirement to follow the state curriculum and there are no compulsory home visits in Victoria.
You may home educate in any manner you choose as long as you substantially address the eight learning areas, taken as a whole.
It is your responsibility to renew your registration each November. Renewal involves notifying the VRQA of your intention to continue. No new learning plan is required. The VRQA sends out a courtesy email reminder that you simply respond to.
You are required to notify the VRQA of any change of name or address and if you cease home education.
Partial school enrolment with home education
Partial school enrolment is when a home educated student attends a school for classes in a specific subject/s or period of time during a school week. The school can be either a private school, or a neighbourhood government school. The arrangement is unique to the student and the school, and is negotiated between the parents and school.
For more information on how to arrange partial school enrolment, please visit our advice page on partial school enrolment.
For other states and territories please see our page on partial enrolment around Australia.
Withdrawing from school for home education
It is a parent’s legal right to choose home education for their children. In Victoria, a school aged child must be enrolled in a school OR registered for home education.
For more informing on withdrawing a child from school for home education, please see our advice on exiting school.
Travel and home education
Travel is permitted under Victorian home education registration as long as you have a Victorian residential address and intend to return to Victoria. The VRQA need to be informed if you intend to be away for months, so it is best to speak with them directly.
Separation and divorce
The most common reason for home education to come up in court cases in Australia is in divorce proceedings. Basically, it is like two separated parents having opposing views on which school a child should attend (see The Age: Kids lose as divorcing parents ‘slog it out’ over public v private schools), and the court having to make a decision.
Here is an extract from an Otherways magazine feature on the issue: Home ed and marriage separation