Under the School Education Act 1999, parents may exercise educational choice to register as home educators, thereby assuming responsibility for delivering education during their children's compulsory years of schooling. The Home Education policy provides more details of the legal issues.
The Home Education Advisory Panels Guidelines provides details of the appeals process where a parent's home education registration is cancelled.
You must register as a home educator if:
From 1 January 2014 the compulsory education period is from the beginning of the year in which the child reaches the age of 5 and 6 months until the end of the year in which the child reaches the age of 17 and 6 months or the child reaches the age of 18, whichever happens first.
Parents must inform the education office within 14 days of removing their children from school (or 14 days after the child would have commenced school in this State). The parents are then issued with a certificate of registration as the child's home educators. The School Education Act 1999, provides further detail of the legal provisions.
An application form is available from the education offices and should be lodged there, rather than being sent to the Central Office of the Department or to the Minister for Education. You will need to produce a copy of each child's birth certificate or extract, and any extant court orders.
If you are not the natural or adoptive parent of your child, it will also be necessary to provide documentation that demonstrates your legal right to apply for registration. You may like to phone the home education officer ('moderator') in the education office to discuss what should be done.
Contact your nearest Regional Education office and ask for the Home Education Moderator.
A non-residential parent will be provided with copies of reports on request to the home education moderator, provided there are no court orders that prevent this.
When all the required information has been provided, a certificate of registration will be sent to you. You will be responsible for the child's home education from the date of registration shown on the certificate until the end of the year in which the child completes their compulsory education period, unless you decide in the meantime to enrol in a school or your registration is cancelled under the School Education Act 1999 (s.53).
The legislation is available through the following link to the State Law Publisher. More information is available in the Home Education policy. Information regarding the compulsory years of schooling is available in the Enrolment policy.
Some parents like to apply for registration as a home educator well in advance of the date when a child is to leave school or would otherwise need to be enrolled in a school. This has the advantage of giving time to arrange for a smooth transition from school to home education.
Sometimes, however, advance application is not possible and the application is made after the child has ceased to attend the school.
If your child has been attending a school, you will need to:
If you have any problems in meeting this timetable, contact the moderator at the education office or the principal of the school your child last attended for advice on how to comply with the legislation.
The home educator is fully responsible for the child's education program (planning the program, obtaining materials, delivering and monitoring the program).
The home educator also demonstrates to the moderator what progress has been made by the child. For new home educators the first evaluation takes place as soon as possible within 3 months of registration.
The Director General has delegated responsibility for home education evaluation to the Regional Executive Director in each education office.
Addresses and telephone numbers for each education office are shown in the telephone book under
'Department of Education'.
Regional Executive Directors appoint home education moderators who arrange to visit to monitor the educational program being provided to each child. Moderators prepare an evaluation report for the Regional Executive Director about the program and the child's progress based on evidence provided by home educators who are provided with a copy of the report.
If there are concerns about the program or the child's educational progress, the moderator will include advice in the report and will arrange for an evaluation to ascertain whether the concern has been addressed. Further information on addressing concerns is provided under Regional Executive Director's Expression of Concern.
The Department's responsibility, under the School Education Act 1999, is to report periodically on the home education program and whether educational progress has been demonstrated. In order to do this the moderator meets the home educator at home or another appropriate venue at a time that is mutually convenient. The home educator receives a written report from the moderator after the meeting. Typically, the report might include an evaluation of the program, links to the curriculum and courses in Western Australia developed by the School Curriculum and Standards Authority, an indication of the child's achievement, areas needing attention, suggestions for strategies and/or resources to move the child on and answers to any questions raised at the meeting.
Evaluation meetings are required at least once each year and in the first year, within three months of the registration date. The twelve-month evaluation period will normally be taken to equate with the school year.
The home educator is required to give the moderator at least 21 days' notice that the twelve month period is due to expire. For practical reasons, the moderator will often be the person to contact the home educator to arrange a meeting suitable to the convenience of both parties.
Home educators' input to meetings is most important as they are aware of the progress that has occurred and if there are any learning problems to be addressed.
The focus is on what the child can do, has achieved, and can understand, rather than just the 'work' that is completed. This is often a comfortable focus for home educators because it is the needs and achievements of their children that are, for many, the reason for doing home education.
Typically, home educators will demonstrate educational progress in some or all of the following ways:
The home educator will decide how to demonstrate progress; however the moderator must be satisfied that the program and progress are satisfactory and will indicate the kind of evidence they need in order to make that judgement in their report.
There are two main components of an appropriate educational program. One of the first things effective home educators do is to establish what their children can do and what they need to learn. Next they determine what resources and experiences they can provide that will enable their children to learn what they need to learn. They also regularly determine the educational progress that has been made by their children. Most home educators are able to discuss these issues during the meeting.
Some home educators like to prepare a report outlining the child's program and progress before the moderator visits. Reports of this kind can be included with the moderator's report because they are regarded as a significant statement on the child's progress.
The School Education Act 1999 provides for sanctions to ensure the effective operation of home education programs, just as there are checks in place for school programs. If the Regional Executive Director has a concern about a child's program or educational progress in home education, the following steps may be taken:
Following the evaluation the moderator is to provide a report to the Regional Executive Director and a copy to the home educator, advising whether the concern has been adequately addressed.
Prior to the stage where an expression of concern becomes necessary, it is usually possible to address any concerns informally. Moderators provide appropriate advice to home educators to allow any problems to be addressed. In most instances this approach is effective and the registration is maintained.
Further information about registration for home education is available from the education offices. Addresses and telephone numbers for each education office are shown in the telephone book under 'Department of Education'.
The program and progress will need to be in accordance with the School Curriculum and Standards Authority Act 1997. For more information refer to Educational Programs.
A decision to cancel registration may be taken for several reasons: one is that the educational progress of the child is not satisfactory. The School Education Act 1999 sets out the various grounds for cancellation of registration (s.53).
The legislation is available through the State Law Publisher.
The home educator may seek a review of a decision to cancel registration through a submission to the Minister for Education who will refer the appeal to a Home Education Advisory Panel to report on the matter. The School Education Act 1999 and the Home Education Advisory Panels Guidelines provide further detail of the legal provisions.