New Legislation For Homeschooling in Canberra

This post highlights a few of the changes that occurred November 2019 for homeschooling in Canberra (ACT).

In the ACT home education is regulated through the Education Act 2004.  A couple of years ago amendments were put forward to the Act and over that time there has been consultation between the government and home education representatives. Home education interest groups and individuals have done a great job to better inform government officials and Members of Parliament about homeschooling during this process.  In late November 2019 amendments to the Act were passed.

1. Provisional Registration

Under previous arrangements families applying for homeschooling in Canberra were automatically provided provisional registration for six months. Then they had to go through a process for full registration which could be given for up to two years.  This meant that potentially families could apply repeatedly for provisional registration and that registration was a two-step process.

With the new changes to the Act, there will be no provisional registration.  This means that registration is a one-step process.

2. Education Plan for Homeschooling in Canberra

Once an application for registration has been submitted, the Education Directorate needs to make a decision whether to grant registration within 28 days. Families will be able to receive full registration if they can show they have a good educational plan appropriate to the needs of their child. For those families new to homeschooling, the amendments also allow for a three-month grace period to prepare and provide an education plan.

My Homeschool is a complete syllabus for Australian homeschoolers that has been used for registration by ACT homeschoolers. Families wishing to apply for homeschooling in the ACT can use the registration plan provided for each of the grades in My Homeschool to make this application process smoother. Our range of materials and resources are designed to support homeschooling parents develop the skills and understanding to home educate well and to provide a high-quality education to their children. Our plans have been linked to the Australian Curriculum and codes have been provided in the scope and sequence.  You’ll find more information in our Getting Registered Course.

3. Annual Reports

In the ACT homeschooling families need to provide reports annually to the Director-General on the progress of their homeschooled children. The amendments to the Act ensure there is a provision for the Education Department to prescribe requirements for these home education reports so all families are aware of what is expected.

A sample of what a good ACT home education report can look like will be available to the My Homeschool community shortly, demonstrating how our new Year 8 course can meet the requirements for this reporting. We like to support our lovely My Homeschool community to make homeschooling easier. You’ll find this in our Getting Registered Course.

4. Up To Date Register and Living In ACT

The amendments also reflect the need to keep the home education register in the ACT up-to-date and clearly state what information is to be kept in the register. They also make it clear that children registered for home schooling in the Canberra must actually live in the ACT, yet, still provide flexibility for families who normally live in the ACT but may be living away temporarily, such as for extended travel.

A Few Questions Answered

Do I need to register for homeschooling in Canberra?
If you live in Canberra and plan on homeschooling your child then it is a legal requirement to register to homeschool from ages 5 to 17;- if your child is not enrolled in distance education, or at a school.
Can I homeschool part time?
Yes, this is an option for homeschooling in Canberra. However, this needs to be discussed with individual schools.
Does a good educational plan need to follow the Australian Curriculum?
At this stage, you are not required to follow a particular curriculum. Although it is not compulsory to follow the Australian Curriculum the Liaison Unit does encourage parents to “become familiar with the Australian Curriculum”.

Looking For a Support Groups for Homeschooling in Canberra?

CHEC – Christian Home Education in Canberra

HENCAST – Home Education Network of Canberra and the Southern Tablelands

My Homeschool subscribers can also access information on fellow My Homeschool members through our Community Hub.

Thanks To Our Advocates

Many thanks to all of those who have been involved in the consultation process for these legislative amendments. We appreciate the time and effort involved.

Any Questions or Comments?

If you wish to discuss the changes further simply log into our Community Hub to keep the conversation going.

Author Jo Lloyd.

As a lawyer I am hardwired to find legislative aspects intriguing and I appreciate all the effort that goes into drafting good legislation.  It can be a long process! I can well remember how long it could take a team just to have minor changes to regulations accepted.  Now, I know not everyone will have the same level of interest in this topic as me, but it is worth a look when home education legislation is amended.

At My Homeschool we endeavour to keep you informed of current legislation in homeschooling so this is our updated version of the homeschool registration requirements for ACT home educators as of November 2019.

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