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Statement from the HEA on changes to the NSW Guidelines for Home Education Registration

15 December 2021

The update was sent by email to key stakeholders, including home educating parents.

The updates consist mainly of small changes to wordings, aiming to increase clarity and with no real alterations to the substance or meaning. It is pleasing to see that the requirements for HSIE in secondary stages have now been corrected so that it is clear that any one of the five options will meet the requirements.

While the changes to the Guidelines were minimal, the process of consultation left much to be desired.

The update follows consultation which took place over 12 months ago and took the form of two surveys. The first survey was conducted in November 2019 and had 254 respondents, the second was in September 2020 and had 75 respondents. There were 5906 registered students in 2019 and 7032 in 2020. There were three demographic questions, one open-ended question, and one question about reasons for home educating. The remainder of the questions (22 questions in 2019 and 17 questions in 2020) asked the respondent to rate the clarity with regards to specific pages in the guidelines - essentially the same question repeatedly.

Despite the lack of meaningful consultation, many in the home education community took the time to write comments about the guidelines wherever possible. It is disappointing that NESA undertook no consultation on the substance of the guidelines rather than the clarity.

The HEA notes, with concern, that one update has been added after the very limited consultation and seems to have been included to retrospectively authorise changes NESA has already made to registration processes during the pandemic.

“​​If there is a need for NESA to vary the assessment process temporarily, such as a pandemic or natural disaster, the changes will be published on the NESA website.

NESA has policies and procedures in place for the security and privacy of personal information. This includes limiting access to certain information to relevant staff only. All NESA staff are subject to NESA’s Code of Conduct.

The HEA calls on NESA to commit to best practice and directly communicate with home educating parents whenever changes are made, and to only make such changes after effective consultation with stakeholders as is required by the NSW Better Regulation requirements.

The HEA has ongoing concerns regarding the current practice of having parents submit documentation for review prior to the registration interview. This practice is not supported by the Guidelines - either the update or the previous version. Moreover, the above statement does not tell parents how these documents will be held and used.

You can access the reports on consultation, and the updated Guidelines, and a tracked changed version, via NESA’s website. The HEA has an ever-increasing number of resources available to support home educators in NSW, including webinars, samples, and templates

The Home Education Association, Inc. (HEA) is a member funded not-for-profit registered Australian charity.

Proudly supporting home educators across Australia since 2001.

HEA President - Karen Chegwidden

HEA NSW Registration Support - Vivienne Fox

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