2021 has seen a surge in Victorian registrations for home education, alongside significant challenges that have curtailed many of our activities and opportunities. As a result, it’s likely that some of those who receive a notice of review from the VRQA will be concerned about whether you will have enough content to pass a review.
A few review facts:
10% of registered homeschoolers are selected for review each year.
Review notices are sent via email, or mail if no email address is recorded.
If you have multiple children, you can select the one whose education is covered in the review.
The review is of the education provided, not the child’s progress, though you can choose to show progress, or examples of work, if you wish.
You will be assigned a review date, but can change that if it’s inconvenient by emailing the VRQA. This is a good option if you have just started, as it will give you time to find your groove. Reviews will run into the first half or 2022.
You are required to show that you are ‘substantially covering the 8 Key Learning Areas’, this means that if there are a couple of areas you don’t feel you have covered, that’s not an issue.However, when HEN run review support sessions, 99% of people have actually covered every area, but are sometimes unaware that some of their activities come under certain KLAs.
You are also required to demonstrate regularity of education. This doesn’t mean you need a timetable, or a certain amount of coverage of each subject per week, just that the education takes place regularly through the year.
The time period covered by the review is not specified. you can select a week, a month, or a year (or any other period of time), and you don’t have to share the time period selected with the VRQA unless you wish to.
You can select a telephone or desktop review.
You will not be reviewed against your plan, even if you registered recently.
There is no expectation that your child will be at a set grade level, or have covered particular grade-based curriculum topics.
The VRQA staff are knowledgeable, understand all styles of home education, and have no preference for one style over another.They approach reviews in a positive and supportive way, and will simply request additional information if your review is lacking in any area.
The VRQA provide excellent information, including videos, about the review process They have also introduced four optional templates for desktop reviews – only use one template.If in doubt, the VRQA recommend the Report Template by Learning Area as they have found this has the highest pass rate without requiring additional information to be provided.
If you select a telephone review, expect it to take 30-40 minutes. The phone call continues until you have provided enough information, so if you have bullet points for each KLA it will probably be even shorter.
Templates are optional, but are a good indication of the amount of information required.The VRQA do not want to see a ten-page report.
You may submit examples of your child’s work or photographs if you wish.The VRQA prefer that photographs do not feature the child, as they have to delete these after review, which can cause issues with report formatting.
The VRQA will not normally request to see samples or photographs, the exception is if you are unable to provide descriptions (verbally or written) of activities you have provided.
The VRQA do not wish to see personal medical information.If you wish to share that your child’s condition impacts their home education, please do so in a general way.You do not need to provide proof in the form of letters from a specialist.
Ensure that you include a clear link between each activity and the KLAs covered.One activity can be used to cover multiple KLAs.
You will not be penalised because an activity you had intended to use to cover a learning area has not happened, or has not been as regular as you anticipated due to Covid restrictions.
So, if the VRQA email appears in your inbox, please don’t worry. There is lots of help available from the VRQA, HEN and the wider community.
When HEN collected feedback relating to reviews, most people said that it was far less stressful and difficult than expected.All respondents said that that the VRQA staff were helpful, supportive, and genuinely interested in their home education journey.
Most importantly, nobody has ever failed a review. The bar is set at a very achievable level, and if your initial review does not provide enough information, the VRQA will make it clear what you need to add to pass.