Back view of elementary students raising their arms on a class.
Back view of elementary students raising their arms on a class.

Home-schooling association slams regulatory inequality

THE Home Education Association has slammed the NSW Education Standards Board for their changes to regulations surrounding home education.

The regulations apply to parents who choose to home school their children instead of conventional schooling, and not parents providing home education during COVID-19.

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NESA recently scrapped face-to-face visits for virtual visits in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, as a result home educators are facing different renewal periods which sees four-month initial registrations, and six months for renewals instead of the usual 12 months and two year periods, respectively.

Meanwhile, members of the home education community have received six-month extensions to teach from home without any explanation, according to the HEA statement.

President of the Home Education Association, Karen Chegwidden, said that changes are creating hardship at a time when home education is most needed.

"On one hand we've got the Prime Minister saying that school options need to be flexible and let's get through the pandemic but on the other hand, we've got NESA saying 'unless you're a homeschooler in which case the regulations will be harder."

"You are required to resubmit for re-registration three months ahead of time so you could be applying for your (next) registration within days of receiving your current one (under the new regulations)," Mrs Chegwidden said.

NESA said that the reviews are ongoing and being taken upon a case-by-case basis, considering several factors.

"Currently, NESA is granting shorter periods of registration given the temporary cessation of home visits. NESA is reviewing these on a case-by-case basis, considering the experience of homeschooling parents," a spokesperson for NSW Education Standards Authority.

Mrs Chegwidden said that the home education community felt let down by the lack of communication and transparency by NESA in announcing these changes.

"There's been no communication around why they've picked those terms, other than they've said it's a 'risk based assessment'."

NESA said in a statement that they will be in direct communication with parents in consideration for the application.

"Parents do not need to apply for home schooling registration for their children to learn from home as supported by their school during the outbreak of COVID-19."

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