What is a review?
A review checks that you are complying with the Victorian home education regulations by providing regular and efficient instruction that substantially addresses the eight learning areas. 10% of families are randomly selected for review each year, for one child in the family. You get to choose which child.
You choose a period over which you can demonstrate the education. That could be anything from details of a week to a report on your child’s year (but don’t submit a year’s worth of work or records!)
There are no mandatory home visits in Victoria.
What to expect
The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) is the government department that regulates home education by processing registrations and performing reviews.
First, watch the VRQA videos on reviews and what to expect.
Around August, the VRQA selects the random 10% of families for review. If you are selected you will receive a review notification. Your review notification will specify a month when your review will take place, but you can nominate another month if you prefer.
You choose the method of review. We’re finding that the quickest and easiest form of review is by telephone but you can choose between:
- a phone review
- a desktop review
- a video conference review
At the conclusion of a satisfactory review, all children in your family are exempt from a review for two years.
What if your child is in the school recovery phase? That’s fine, you just need to report on how you are meeting the regulations in the context of your child.
What if your child has specific learning needs that mean you aren’t covering all eight key learning areas? Again, that’s fine: you need to report on how you are meeting the regulations in the context of your child. You can choose any reporting method, state your child’s circumstances (no medical evidence is ever required) and report accordingly e.g. the spreadsheet report is for a child with Down Syndrome.
Unschooling is recognised as a valid method of home education. You’ll need to elaborate on the learning opportunities and resources provided and could provide photo evidence etc.
When considering what to include in your review, think about:
- online courses
- holiday programmes
- after school activities
- conversations that sparked learning
- books read
- articles for Otherways
- household responsibilities
There is no mandated form of review. It is up to you how you demonstrate your child is receiving an education that, taken as a whole, substantially addresses the eight learning areas.
You may wish to commence record keeping when you receive notice of a review, or you may choose to make a regular habit of it so you have some fond memories to look back on. You may also choose to simply write a report when your review comes up: it is up to you.
If however the VRQA assessor determines you have not provided enough detail, they have the legal authority to ask for more information. Don’t be alarmed, it’s a simple ‘fix’ to rectify this. This is where records can be beneficial as they can also help jog your memory and remind you of a great activity your kids did which you may have forgotten.
There are optional templates available to help you with putting together your review. As you can see, the amount of information expected is similar to a learning plan. You do not need to list everything you have done over the last year, show marks or test results, or a list of every book you have read. A few examples of books, excursions, conversations, activities, or websites is enough.
- Report by Learning Area (available in doc and PDF formats).
- Report by Activity (available in doc and PDF formats)
Some ideas follow with links to samples prepared by home educators:
- Report with photos. See example
- Report with work samples. See example
- Spreadsheet format. See example
- Blog format. See example
- Journal excerpt. See example (includes VRQA feedback).
- Report from a recording App (e.g. KeptMe, GoogleKeep etc)
- Work Samples
- Photo record/scrapbook
- Facebook page (can be private/secret)
- Calendar notes
- Annotated photos/scrapbook
- Prepare Google docs and share those with the VRQA. You can withdraw the share invitation once the review has been completed.
Don’t stress. HEN is here to help
The HEN team has put in a lot of work liaising with the VRQA to ensure reviews are not stressful, onerous or intimidating. Routine reviews have been done since 2018 and no one has failed.
To assist with reviews, HEN has run sessions on Zoom helping people through the process.
The home educators on VHEAC have prepared sample review materials and individual support is available to HEN members as required. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your HEN membership name and number.
HEN’s Guide to Reviews
You can find more detail in our Guide to Reviews.
We have also produced a guide for natural learning/unschooling families on how to prepare for a review.
This article provides information as well as encouraging feedback from families who have been through the review process. What is a Home Ed Review Like?