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Western Australia Home School Laws

Western Australia Education Code For Homeschooling

This is not intended to be legal advice and is distributed for information purposes only. Check for updates at your public library.

Effective: 1 June 2006

Contents

1       POLICY

2       BACKGROUND

2.1       RATIONALE

2.2       DEFINITIONS

3       RELEVANT LEGISLATION / AUTHORITY

3.1       RELEVANT DOCUMENTS

PROCEDURES

.1       APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION

.2       EVALUATION OF PROGRAM AND EDUCATIONAL PROGRESS.

.3       THE MEETING STRUCTURE

.3.1    OBTAINING INFORMATION.

.3.2    ENDORSEMENT, ADVICE AND GUIDANCE.

.4       THE MODERATOR’s REPORT

.4.1    Following a meeting the moderator is to:

.4.2    The report will include the following:

.5       RE-EVALUATION

.6       CANCELLATION

.7       REVIEW OF CANCELLATION

 1                         POLICY

Parents have a right to choose from a wide diversity of learning approaches in providing their children with home education in the compulsory years of schooling.

District Directors are responsible for appointing home education moderators (“the moderators”) and for deciding whether the programs offered and children’s educational progress are appropriate according to the Curriculum Framework.

Procedural fairness will be observed in evaluating programs and progress.

2                         BACKGROUND

2.1                    RATIONALE

The School Education Act 1999 provides for parents to exercise educational choice, one means of which is registration as home educators who assume responsibility for their children’s education during the compulsory years of schooling.

All educators in Western Australia, including home educators, are required to implement the curriculum framework in accordance with the Curriculum Council Act 1997 and the School Education Act 1999.

Through their contact with the moderators, home educators will fulfil their obligations for implementation of the framework.  Each home educator will be given a reasonable amount of time to understand the framework and to develop ways of providing learning experiences best suited to their child’s achievement of those outcomes.

Continuing registration is dependent upon a positive evaluation of the child’s educational program and progress.  The evaluation is conducted by a moderator on behalf of the delegated educational authority (the District Director on the Director General’s delegation).  The report of the evaluation will indicate whether the program and progress is considered to be in accordance with the curriculum framework.

One of the key principles of the curriculum framework is flexibility.  It is intended that the framework be used flexibly in the delivery and evaluation of home education.  Parents who choose home education do so for a variety of reasons, and the forms of education that they wish to provide to their children are diverse.  In implementing the framework, home educators structure learning opportunities according to their children’s particular needs. Monitoring and reporting on the program and progress by the home educators will also be approached in a number of ways.  Consistency is also important.  The Curriculum Framework provides the learning outcomes expected of all students and for assessment that is fair and contributes to continued learning.

The curriculum framework is established under the Curriculum Council Act 1997.

The School Education Act 1999 s53 (2)(a) refers to the progress of a child in accordance with the curriculum framework as one of the criteria to be considered in the decision to cancel a home educator’s registration.

2.2                    DEFINITIONS

“Educational program” means “an organised set of learning activities designed to enable a student to develop knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes relevant to the student’s individual needs” (School Education Act 1999, Section 4).

“A child of compulsory school age” means a child who under Section 9(1) is required to be enrolled in an educational program during the compulsory school age period.

Home educators must be registered during the child’s “compulsory education period” that is, from the beginning of the year in which the child reaches the age of 6 years and 6 months; and until the end of the year in which the child reaches the age of 16 (School Education Act 1999, Section 6).

“Home Educators” are parents or guardians (hereafter “parents”) who are registered under section 48.

“Moderators” are persons appointed by the District Director to provide a report on their evaluation of programs and progress to the District Director.


3                         RELEVANT LEGISLATION / AUTHORITY

School Education Act 1999 Part 1 – Preliminary

Section 4 – Definitions (“chief executive officer”, “child of compulsory school age”, “education program”, “parent”)

School Education Act 1999 Part 1 – Preliminary

Section 6 Definition of “compulsory period”

School Education Act 1999 Part 1 Division 3 – Attendance

Section 25 – Non-attendance for a reasonable cause

The School Education Act Part 1 Division 6 – Home education

Section 46 – a definition of a “home educator”

Section 47 – application for registration

Section 48 – Registration

Section 49 – Home Educator to advise of changes

Section 50 – Home Education Moderators


Section 51 – Evaluation

Section 52 – Requiring Evaluation

Section 53 – Cancellation of Registration

Section 54 – Review of Cancellation

The School Education Act Part 6 Division 4 – Administration

Section 241 – Advisory Panels

The Curriculum Council Act 1997

Section 10(2) (a) and (b) of the Curriculum Council Act 1997 – implementation and accountability obligations

Section 11 – exemptions

Interpretation Act 1984 (WA)

Section 50

3.1                    RELEVANT DOCUMENTS

Home Education Advisory Panel, 2000

4                         PROCEDURES

4.1                    APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION

a)         An application for registration as a home educator must be made within 14 days of the last day on which the child attended school or would have enrolled at school for the first time.

b)         The application will be made on the form provided by the local District Education Office, where possible, and returned to the District Education Office.

c)         The applicant will provide the following information:

  • the child’s date of birth as shown on the birth certificate or any registration of name change and any court orders that relate to the child;
  • the names of the child and the child’s parents;
  • the usual place of residence and the place at which the educational program/s will primarily be delivered (if different from the child’s/children’s usual place of residence);
  • where applicable, the name of the school at which the child is enrolled or was last enrolled; and
  • any documentary evidence in support of the information which may be required to complete registration.

Note: an application may relate to more than one child.

d)         A certificate of registration will be issued as soon as possible to the parent (hereafter “the home educator”).  From the date of issuance, the home educator is responsible for the child’s educational program and progress during the compulsory school years unless the registration is cancelled or relinquished.

e)         The home educator is responsible for the early advice to the District Director of any change to the information provided in the application or of a decision to enrol the child at a school.

4.2                    EVALUATION OF PROGRAM AND EDUCATIONAL PROGRESS

a)         Persons with the experience, skills or qualifications to effectively evaluate educational programs and educational progress will be appointed as home education moderators (hereafter “the moderator”).  Moderators will be provided with certificates of appointment, which they will be required to produce on request during home visits.

b)         An evaluation meeting is required within three months of the registration date and at least once in each year (depending upon when compliance with the curriculum framework is achieved).  In addition in the first year, an introductory meeting may be arranged with the agreement of both parties.

c)         The home educator is to give the moderator at least 21 days’ notice that the first visit or annual visit is due.

Note: The District Director may exercise discretion in deciding that, for logistical reasons, it is more appropriate for the moderator to contact the home educator to discuss arrangements for a visit at a time suitable to both parties.

d)         The place of meetings will be agreed between the home educator and the moderator, taking into account that it will sometimes be necessary to evaluate the effect of the physical learning environment.

4.3                    THE MEETING STRUCTURE

There are two outcomes of a meeting:

  • the moderator obtains information; and
  • the home educator receives, as appropriate, endorsement of current practice or advice and guidance regarding the program.

Note: While each meeting will vary to meet the needs of the individual family, there is an underlying structure that provides a basis for consistency.

4.3.1                OBTAINING INFORMATION

Information must be collected so that the moderator is able to report on two areas:

  • the educational progress that is demonstrated; and
  • the effectiveness of the program in providing for the educational needs of the child.

The Curriculum Framework describes -the ways that learning might progress at four overlapping phases of development”.  It is recognised that each student develops and achieves in different ways, at different stages and at different rates, and that particular sorts of curriculum experience are appropriate at different phases of development. (Curriculum Framework 1998, pp29-32).

4.3.1.1           OBTAINING INFORMATION ABOUT EDUCATIONAL PROGRESS

The home educator’s input to the meeting is most important because the home educator should be aware of the progress that has occurred or where any learning problems have arisen.

Note: Home educators may demonstrate educational progress in some or all of the following ways:

showing the child’s work sheets used in planning a project or in identifying;

  • the areas to be researched for some topic;
  • showing some first draft notes on a report, story, letter or other project;
  • showing some completed projects that incorporate learning achievements;
  • that have occurred;
  • showing a diary or other records of the activities where learning
  • achievements have occurred;
  • describing or permitting the student to describe some home education;
  • experiences and achievements;
  • describing an experience that has not necessarily any tangible evidence but; or
  • which was an occasion for a child’s personal achievement or discovery.

The moderator is deemed to have the power to request to see tangible evidence of the home education program and progress (Interpretation Act 1984 (WA), Section 50).

Effective home educators monitor educational progress as a normal part of the program.

Note: Examples of relevant monitoring may be identified during the meeting and these can be drawn to the home educator’s attention as valuable elements in good teaching.

4.3.1.2           OBTAINING INFORMATION ABOUT THE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM

Moderators usually find that they are able to gain a sound overview of the program through discussion about learning and assessment processes while they are seeking information about the students’ educational progress.

Note: Some of the major areas that are usually covered during a meeting include:

  • the curriculum experiences the student might need at each of the four overlapping phases of development as set down in the “Scope of the Curriculum” in the Curriculum Framework 1998 (Curriculum Framework 1998, pp29-32);
  • the importance of ensuring that literacy and numeracy are a primary focus;
  • the resources available and the learning activities being undertaken;
  • the home educator’s intended outcomes for the child’s learning program; and
  • the home educator’s understandings of how to assess progress and to what extent the monitoring process is outcomes-based.

4.3.2                ENDORSEMENT, ADVICE AND GUIDANCE

In order that the operation of the program continues to be appropriate, the moderator will discuss all or some of the following:

  • effective use of the curriculum framework;
  • understanding the process of learning and how to implement learning;
  • developing skills in monitoring student progress; and
  • the range and relevance of resources and strategies employed within the program.

Note:

Initial meeting – The focus is on whether the educational needs of the child have been or are being identified, and on the potential of the educational plan to meet those needs.

Conducting an Evaluation Meeting – It is recognised that parents will need time to acquire the necessary skills.  The meeting provides the opportunity for a positive, professional dialogue to be established.  It also provides the home educator with the opportunity demonstrate the educational program and progress.

Section 52(1) meeting – The focus of a Section 52(1) meeting conducted under the requirements of Section 52 is to determine whether a concern identified by the District Director has been adequately addressed.

4.4                    THE MODERATOR’s REPORT

4.4.1                Following a meeting the moderator is to:

  • report on the child’s educational program and educational progress, referring as appropriate to criteria outlined in section 53(2) of the Act; and
  •  provide a copy of the report to District Director who will forward a copy of the finalised report to the home educator.

Note: In cases where the moderator considers a re-evaluation will be necessary, the report will be forwarded to the home educator after the District Director has decided what further action is to be taken.

4.4.2                The report will include the following:

  • an indication of whether the program identifies the educational needs of the child and provides relevant learning experiences and resources for meeting those needs;
  • an indication of whether educational progress has been demonstrated; and
  • a summative comment including:
    • any concerns and reasons for concern requiring changes to the program or the reporting of progress;
    • a notice period within which, or as soon as possible thereafter, any re-evaluation will need to occur; and
    • advice, if appropriate, that Section 52 may be invoked if concerns are not adequately addressed within the set timeframe.

Note: Some home educators prepare a report at the time of the evaluation meeting.  Such a report may be regarded as a significant statement of the home educator’s perception of the child’s progress and or program.  Such a report will usually be attached to the moderator’s report.

4.5                    RE-EVALUATION

A meeting is arranged with the home educator within the notice period or as soon as possible thereafter.  The Home educator must provide evidence to enable the moderator to report on the areas of concern identified at the previous meeting.

If a re-evaluation visit reveals that concern/s in the moderator’s report have not been addressed, the District Director will exercise discretion in deciding to:

  • send a further written notice to the home educator, or
  • requesting the Executive Director to cancel the registration.

a)         A further written notice will:

  • describe the concern and the reasons for the concern;
  • provide information about the period within which specified action is to be taken to address the concern;
  • give notice of the period by which any further re-evaluation will occur;
  • advise that Section 52 of the School Education Act 1999 may be invoked; and
  • unless the concerns have been adequately addressed within the set timeframe.

b)         Following a re-evaluation in which it is established that a concern has been adequately addressed, the moderator will provide a report to that effect to the home educator and the delegated education authority.

c)         Following a re-evaluation in which it is established that a concern has not been adequately addressed, the District Director will decide whether to proceed to requesting the Executive Director to cancel the registration.

4.6                    CANCELLATION

a)         The District Director may request the Executive Director to cancel a registration if:

  • the child’s progress is not satisfactory;
  • the home educator has not arranged an evaluation as required;
  • the evaluation has been hindered or obstructed;
  • the parent has failed to notify any change of registration details; or
  • the child is enrolled in a school.

b)         Before deciding whether a child’s educational progress is not satisfactory, the District Director will exercise discretion in deciding to take into account:

  • whether the child’s progress is in accordance with the Curriculum Council Act 1997;
  • the effect of the physical learning environment on the child’s educational progress; or
  • any other matter that is considered by the District Director to be relevant to the child’s education.

c)         The home educator is to be provided with written notice of the decision to cancel registration, the reasons for the decision and the Home Education Advisory Panel policy and procedures.  Cancellation will be for the period covering at least the current school year but must be for no longer than 12 months.

d)         Cancellation of registration is not to take effect until the time has passed for lodging an application against the decision, or if an application is lodged, until the Minister’s response to the application has been made known.

4.7                    REVIEW OF CANCELLATION

a)         The home educator may apply in writing to the Minister for a review of the cancellation, provided the appeal is lodged within 14 days of written notice of the cancellation being received.

b)         The Minister will refer the matter to a Home Education Advisory Panel (“the Panel”) for a report and recommendations under the procedures set down for Advisory Panels appointed under section 241 of the School Education Act 1999 and related procedures and according to the Home Education Advisory Panels, 2000 policy and procedures.


c)         The Advisory Panel will give the applicant the opportunity to be heard.

d)         The Minister will provide the applicant with a copy of the Advisory Panel’s report and recommendations and with a copy of the decision including the reasons for the decision.

e)         The District Director will contact the parent to arrange for the implementation of the Minister’s decision.

Home Education Procedures
Print out for full policy for homeschooling your child. From the WA Department of Education and Training.

Return to Western Australia homeschooling information.

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