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About home education - your rights and responsibilities

Home education legislation and procedure

Home education in Queensland is regulated by the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006. The Home education in Queensland procedure External Link provides an overview of registration for home education in Queensland and outlines the process of registration.

What is home education?

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

When choosing to home educate, parents accept responsibility for planning, implementing, and monitoring their child's learning progress. 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 and report on their child's educational progress.

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 contemporary 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 research. 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 registered 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.

Who is eligible for provisional registration, or registration, for home education?

A child is eligible if:

  1. the child will be at least 5 years and 6 months on 31 December in the year the provisional registration takes effect and
  2. the child will be less than 18 years on 31 December in the year the provisional registration or registration takes effect.

What is the compulsory school age?

Compulsory school age in Queensland means the child is at least 6 years and 6 months 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.

From 8 September 2016 there are new legislative requirements for enrolment in Year 1 at state or non-state schools which make the preparatory year the compulsory first year of schooling.

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 certificate of achievement, senior statement, 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 be engaged full-time in an eligible option, or be registered for home education or working full time.

I would like to home educate my child and we live in Queensland. Is registration required?

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 registration for home education must be granted. Each state and territory has its own regulation regarding registration for home education.

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 (HEU).

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

Yes. However this person must be a registered teacher.

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.

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 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 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 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 surrender your home education registration.

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 HEU within 14 days. 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 subsequent 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 a School of Distance Education (SDE) 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 05 Jun 2018

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