By Sue Wight
We started the year campaigning against the new regulations, and we end the year explaining them.
While this might seem incongruous, what has happened in the meantime is a testament to our success: we campaigned strongly, we’ve been listened to, and we’ve had real input into the details as a result.
When we assessed the draft regulations in January, we noted four significant areas of concern:
- The vagaries of what a learning plan would consist of;
- What reviews would entail;
- Who would judge both plans and reviews;
- The risk to children during the 28-day approval period.
All of these concerns have now been satisfactorily resolved.
In January our assessment indicated that defeating the regulations outright was highly unlikely. We also knew that sitting quietly and hoping for consultation would be ‘optimistic to the point of foolishness’.
While we all liked the 2007 regulations, the reality is that they sunsetted and can’t be brought back.
Our over-arching goal was a reasonable legal regime and I believe that, through our campaign, we’ve achieved that objective: a legal framework whereby we can continue home educating in our own way, albeit with some increased accountability.
- As home educators, we will only have to demonstrate that we are educating our children and substantially covering the eight learning areas.
- We do NOT have to use the Victorian Curriculum, nor be measured against it.
- We do NOT have to align with school year levels, nor be measured against them.
- We have had significant input into what learning plans and reviews will entail, plus the formation of the Home Schooling Policy and new Guide to Home Education in Victoria.
- Empathy for home education is part of the criteria for employment in the new VRQA positions.
- The hire and training of VRQA staff for the Home Schooling Unit is being informed by home education experience.
- We have now established a good working relationship with DET and the VRQA and have a Victorian Home Education Advisory Committee (VHEAC) which will run through to at least mid-2019, providing home education input on the mid-cycle review foreshadowed in the Regulatory Impact Statement.
- On a political level, we demonstrated that home education spans the political spectrum and that home educators are a motivated, organised and politically-aware community.
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