1200px -Flag _of _Tasmania .svg  Home Education in TASMANIATas _map

 

LOCAL SUPPORT:

Facebook page for Tasmania

Facebook group for Tasmania:

Some other home education Facebook groups in Tasmania (not affiliated with the HEA):

 Note: new Facebook groups are continually being formed and sometimes older ones fall into disuse.

REGISTRATION INFORMATION

LEGISLATION:

FOR MORE DETAILED INFORMATION ON HOME EDUCATING IN TASMANIA:

  • See the HEA’s ”Everything you need to know about home educating in Tasmania” (available soon)

LEGALITIES IN TASMANIA (SUMMARY)

Home Education is a legal option in Tasmania and Tasmania has the highest rate of legally registered home educators in Australia. Home educators choosing to register in Tasmania must be Tasmanian residents and are required to submit their proposed home education program to the Education Registrar for approval. The Office of the Education Registrar is a statutory office, established by the Tasmanian Education Act 2016. It is independent of the Department of Education, but reports to the Tasmanian Minister for Education. The Tasmanian Home Education Advisory Council [THEAC] also has input into the registration process in Tasmania.

A combination of part-time home education and part-time school enrolment (up to the equivalent of 2 full days per week) is also a legal option in Tasmania, although schools have the discretion to refuse part-time enrolments if the school lacks the resources or capacity to accommodate the part-time student.

Tasmanian home educators are not required to adhere to any particular education curriculum.

The registration process requires parents to put together a separate home education program for each child.

Registration is granted for a maximum of one year and a new program should be submitted annually. Each program, (called a Home Education Summaryand Program, or HESP), is required to address the 10 standards for approved home education programs as outlined in Regulation 5 of the Education Regulations 2017. For a more detailed explanation of these, see the HEA’s  “Everything you need to know about home educating in Tasmania” Pack (available soon). 

Home educators requiring support or assistance with the registration process may approach the Home Education Association (HEA) in Tasmania. Contact tasmania@hea.edu.au.

How the Tasmanian registration process works (summary)

A Registration Officer from the Office of the Education Registrar will review the parent’s proposed home education program and will confer with two members of the Tasmanian Home Education Advisory Council [THEAC] before granting a family provisionalregistration (see below for more about THEAC). Once provisional registration is granted a family can legally commence home education.

Before full registration can be granted, the family will be visited by a registration officer who will talk with the parents and the children about their program and look at the resources the family is using, as well as looking at what each child has been making/doing. In Tasmania, the registration officers usually have home education experience themselves and are generally highly regarded by home educators and children alike. In some cases, the registration visit can be conducted away from the family home – for example, at the Hobart or Launceston office of the Education Registrar, or by teleconference if the family is travelling for an extended period. (However, the teleconference option cannot be repeated in the subsequent year).

After the registration visit, the registration officer makes a report to the Registrar which includes recommendations relating to whether the application for registration be granted, whether the proposed home education program be amended and then granted registration, and whether any grant of the application be subject to conditions.

THEAC retains the power to check and advise on all home education applications and can read and comment on the registration officers’ reports to the Registrar. In practice, THEAC will mainly focus its attention on first-time applications, but any other HESP which registration officers assess as not clearly satisfying the required standards will also be referred to THEAC for further deliberation.

In deciding whether or not to grant registration, the Registrar takes into consideration both the registration officer’s report and any comments or recommendations by THEAC.

All decisions made by the Education Registrar can be appealed in the Magistrate’s Court, (Administrative Appeals Division). Before deciding to deny or revoke registration of a home education program, the Registrar is required to consult with THEAC and will also seek a report from a second registration officer (requiring a second visit to the family concerned).

Discussions between the Registrar and HEA representatives in May 2017 indicated that the Registrar intends to take an enabling and supportive approach to the registration process with the emphasis on helping families to reach the required standard, rather than rejecting outright those applications which do not initially meet the standards.

Families can amend their home education programs during their registration period. However, major amendments need to be approved by the Registrar. Major amendments include: a change in which parent is delivering the program, a change in pedagogy (for example, from a curriculum-based approach to an unschooling approach), or a change to or from part-time school enrolment. Minor changes, like a change in maths text book or a change from one phonics curriculum to another, do not need prior approval by the Registrar, but should be discussed in the next Home Education Summary and Program the family submits to the Registrar’s office.

Home educated children in Tasmania have access to the equivalent of school-based apprenticeships and should discuss this option with their registration officer if interested.

The Tasmanian Home Education Advisory Council [THEAC]

THEAC is an advisory body consisting of members appointed by the Minister of Education. From 1993 until 9 July 2017, THEAC managed home education registration on behalf of the Minister. Under the Tasmanian Education Act 2016, which came into effect on 10 July 2017, the management of registrations became the responsibility of the Office of the Education Registrar.

According to the advice on the Registrar’s website, THEAC continues to be responsible for:

  • Providing advice to the Registrar in relation to applications for approval of a home education program;

  • Providing the Minister and the Registrar with advice in relation to home education generally;

  • THEAC still provides a reference point for queries, responds to community concerns and maintains liaison with other agencies about home education.

Under the Education Act 2016, THEAC is required to have a minimum of five and a maximum of seven members with a majority of the members having skills in, or experience in or related to, home education. At least one member must be an employee or officer of the Department of Education. Before appointing a person as a member of the Tasmanian Home Education Advisory Council, the Minister is required to call for expressions of interest in the appointment by advertising in at least 3 Tasmanian daily newspapers.

THEAC members serve on the council in a voluntary capacity, although they may receive an honorarium. The council’s Chair is traditionally chosen from one of the home education representatives on THEAC. Whereas previously, THEAC had its own office and was the “front door” for registrations in Tasmania, all applications and enquiries will now be handled by the Office of the Education Registrar and THEAC’s important work may be less visible to the general home educating community.  However, the council’s ability to continue providing a home education perspective in the assessment of home educators’ applications and HESPs, will depend on the continuing presence of home educators on the council. In the interests of protecting home education in Tasmania, it is important that home educators consider volunteering to serve for a term on THEAC at some point in their home education journey.

Further information about the Council may be found at www.theac.tas.gov.au.

Historic note on the uniqueness of the Tasmanian system

THEAC was established in 1993, as an outworking of the research and recommendations contained in the Ministerial Working Party Report “Home Education in Tasmania” released in October 1991. The working party was chaired by Miss Alison Jacob (Senior Superintendent, Special Education and Distance Education) and included: influential home educator Mr John Barratt-Peacock of the (historic) Home Education Movement, Mrs Kathleen Carins (home educator and coordinator of the Australian Christian Academy), Mr Alistair Home (Principal of the School of Distance Education), Ms Kate Shipway (Lecturer in Special Education at the Centre for Education, University of Tasmania) and Mrs Georgie Holderness-Roddam (convenor of a support group for families interested in home education). Even with the changes introduced by the Tasmanian Education Act 2016, including the creation of the Office of the Education Registrar, which took over much of THEAC’s responsibilities, Tasmania’s home education system has retained much of its uniqueness and THEAC itself has been protected under the Act. This uniqueness exists because home educators (including THEAC members, HEA representatives and independent home educators) have actively contributed to the evolution of the regulatory framework in Tasmania, through their advice and lobbying. Whilst, at times, holding different views about the way forward, Tasmanian home educators have historically been actively engaged in protecting their freedom to home educate and their right to a voice in the regulatory oversight of home education in Tasmania. The HEA is working to provide a united voice for Tasmanian home educators and their children into the future. 

HEA Lobbying documents relating to Tasmania

Here is the submission Tasmanian HEA representatives made to the state government’s Education Review in 2016. It is an example of the hard work that the HEA has done in the past to ensure that government decisions are well-informed and that legislation is best tailored to the needs of home educators.

13-05-2016: HEA Submission to the Review of the Tasmanian Education Act 

For more on how the HEA has worked to protect home education in Tasmania, see the HEA’s document,Everything you need to know about home educating in Tasmania” (available soon). 

For more specific information on your application to home educate in Tasmania, read the HEA's "Everything You Need To Know About Home Educating in Tasmania" ( link available soon). Tasmanian home educators may also like to look at the HEA's registration packs for other states to get some general tips on what to say in their application.