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About home education - your rights and responsibilities

What is home education?

Home education is a recognised and lawful education option available to Queensland parents and guardians when making decisions about the best form of education for their children.

When choosing to home educate, parents accept responsibility for planning, implementing, and evaluating their child's learning program. Parents who choose to home educate provide a suitable learning environment within the family home. They also provide the resources necessary to support their child's individually tailored program. A parent choosing this educational option is required to provide a high quality education for their child.

What's the difference between 'home schooling' and 'home education'?

The term 'home schooling' gives the perception of a 'school at home' and learning only in the home. The more modern term 'home education' encompasses a broader concept of educational experiences based in and beyond the home. Essentially there may be no difference in the two terms and they are often interchanged in current conversations and readings. Indeed, home education programs are enriched by accessing a wide range of community resources such as local libraries, museums, sporting clubs, Scouts and other facilities which offer learning opportunities.

What's the difference between home education and distance education?

With home education, parents develop or adapt their own program for the child. The parent or a teacher engaged or employed by the parent, is the educator of the child. The educator plans, implements and evaluates the child's learning from one year to the next. The parent whose name appears on the application form is legally responsible for ensuring that their child receives a high quality education, irrespective of whoever else may assist with the child's education.

With distance education, a parent enrols their child in a school of distance education and a school program is provided by that school for the child. Teachers are available to help monitor the child's learning and a teacher from the school reports on the child (as in mainstream schools). The parent is the supervisor or home tutor to the child within their home. There are state schools and accredited non-state schools of distance education.

Do I have to register my child for home education if we live in Queensland?

Yes. If you wish to home educate your child and they are of compulsory school age or they are in the compulsory participation phase, you must apply for, and they must be granted, a home education registration. Each state and territory has its own regulation.

What is the compulsory school age?

Compulsory school age in Queensland means the child is at least 6.5 years of age and less than 16 years of age, or has completed Year 10, whichever happens first. All children in Queensland must be either enrolled in a state or non-state school, or be registered for home education during their compulsory school years. Year 1 is the first year of compulsory education.

When would I register my Year 1 child?

It would be usual to register a child for home education from the beginning of the year in which they would usually start Year 1 at a school. A child can be registered for home education from the year they turn 6 years of age by the 30 June of that year. They need to be registered by the time they turn 6.5 years of age.

Can I register my prep aged child for home education?

No. Prep aged children are not registered for home education as they are not of compulsory school age.

What is the compulsory participation phase?

The compulsory participation phase starts when a young person stops being of compulsory school age and ends when the person gains a senior certificate, certificate III or certificate IV; or has participated in an eligible option for two years after compulsory school age; or turns 17 years. Queensland children who are in the compulsory participation phase must be enrolled at and attend a school or engaged full-time in an eligible option, or be registered for home education or working full time.

If I'm not a registered teacher and I do not employ a registered teacher, can I still teach my child at home?

Yes. It is your right to educate your child at home provided you have applied for, and successfully registered, your child to be home educated.

Who can home educate a child?

A parent of a child has the right to choose to home educate a child instead of enrolling them at a school. With this right comes the responsibility of registering the child through the Home Education Unit, Department of Education and Training.

Can my child be taught, each day, by someone else?

Yes. However this person must be a registered teacher.

Can I employ someone else to teach my children while I go to work?

This would be unusual. As the child's parent you are taking on the responsibility of educating them. Ultimately you are responsible for the child's home education program. If you were employing a registered teacher for some time, it may be possible to have this time to yourself.

Can my child be taught, each day, by a registered teacher, in a group with other children?

No. There may be some group situations such as a weekly swimming lesson or a community art lesson that may be included in your child's program without you having to be the teacher. It is possible that a registered teacher setting up group learning for home educated children could be regarded as a 'school' and require accreditation for this situation.

I am the carer of my grandchild. Can I home educate them?

Yes. The definition of 'parent' is broad and covers a variety of carers. If you are the permanent carer of your grandchild you can apply to register them and be responsible for their education. You would need to supply the Home Education Unit (HEU) with certified copies of any documents that confirm your carer status.

If I want to enrol my child in a school of distance education, am I also required to apply to register my child for home education?

No. A child enrolled at either a state or non-state school of distance education cannot also be simultaneously registered for home education.

Can my child attend some learning activities at a school and still be registered for home education?

This may be possible. A child cannot hold simultaneous enrolment at a school and also be registered for home education. However, on occasions, an agreement may be formed between the school, parent, and child allowing the child to access some activities or facilities at school. Such an agreement is at the total discretion of the school's principal. The school may require that you pay a fee for any access. Any participation at a school can only be minimal. If you consider your child needs to attend a school for more than a few hours per week then you should discuss an enrolment or flexible enrolment with the school and hence leave the registration system.

Can my child study some subjects at a learning institution and still be registered for home education?

Yes. Non-school forms of education such as TAFE may be accessed part-time without affecting registration. To access a TAFE component the child would need to be eligible under the institution's enrolment conditions. For more information, contact your local TAFE.

Can I enrol my child in a state or a non-state school at any time?

Yes. You can surrender the registration and enrol your child at a state school at any time. The school's enrolment procedures would apply. Non-state schools may not be able to accommodate the new enrolment part way through the year. If you choose to discontinue the home education registration, you must return the child's registration certificate to the Unit. This is a legal requirement.

Can I close my child's registration, enrol them at a school and at a later date apply to register them for home education again?

Yes. However, chopping and changing between school and home education is neither recommended nor desirable. There is an expectation that a parent intends to comply with the conditions of registration when they apply. If there were difficulties with the first registration, then this may influence the granting of another registration.

Our family wants to travel around Queensland and spend some time in other parts of Australia. Can we apply to register our child for home education during this time?

To be eligible for registration for home education, amongst other requirements, a child is required to be usually resident in Queensland. Therefore, if your family intends travelling outside of Queensland, you may be requested to provide additional information regarding your long-term intentions. Additional conditions on the registration may also be imposed.

Our family lives either in another state or overseas. Can we register them for home education in Queensland?

No. The Queensland Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 relates to the compulsory education of children in Queensland. It is not appropriate for a child living overseas or in another state or territory to be registered under this legislation. You may wish to enquire with the Brisbane School of Distance Education (BSDE) about their overseas program. A child living outside Queensland who is to be registered for home education should be registered with the appropriate authority for that state, territory or country.

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This page was last reviewed on 22 Mar 2016 at 12:38PM

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