Despite the fact that registration is required by law, some home educators decide not to register. Anecdotally, this is much less common in Victoria than in other states. This information is provided so that you can assess the risks and possible consequences of not registering.
Under the terms of the Education Act, if you are suspected of unregistered home education, you would initially be asked whether you were registered. If in doubt, the Regional Director has the authority to check with the VRQA. If you aren’t registered, you would be told to register and sent a School Enrolment Notice if you did not.
A facsimile of the School Enrolment Notice is included in the Home Education in Victoria – Legal situation. If one were issued to you, you would have 28 days in which to register and return the form indicating that you had done so. In that case, there would be no further action taken. If you did not register, the notice would be followed up with a reminder and then an infringement notice. For some unregistered families this just means, if you were caught, you’d have plenty of opportunity to register before further action was taken. For those families who would refuse to register on conscientious grounds, they would have to be prepared to face the possible court proceedings that could result.
If you refuse to register, you are breaking the law and are liable to be fined and have a conviction imposed. Apart from the financial burden, a criminal conviction can lead to other difficulties, such as in some employment contexts. Any fine would be based on a calculation of one penalty unit per day of non-compliance although, depending on the number of days and the financial position of the family, it may be reduced.
The pre-2006 defence of providing ‘efficient and regular instruction’ is no longer available. The primary requirement of the law is the obligation to register.