June 1, 2023

National Curriculum guidelines

Here is a letter from the Ministry saying Home Educators do not need to follow the National Curriculum Guidelines, the list of subjects on the Exemption Application. Use them if you like, but you are free to change them around to quite an extent. Dennis Hughes and Derek Miller of the Ministry of Education in Wellington answered the following question for me on 15 June 2000:

Question: Are any of the National Curriculum objectives required for home educators in order to get their exemptions? My understanding is that none of them are?

Answer: You are correct. There is no requirement that homeschoolers follow the National Curriculum. The only requirement is that homeschooling students are taught ‘at least as regularly and well as in a registered school.’

The Ministry’s interpretation of this phrase is contained in the statement which forms part of the information pack that accompanies the homeschooling application form. Among other things, this says that. Ministry officers will look for some evidence of planning and balance that we would expect would be a feature of curriculum organisation in any registered school.

The National Curriculum is useful to the Ministry as a standard reference when determining whether a homeschooler’s programme is a balanced one. Homeschooling offers an opportunity for greater organisational flexibility than is possible in many schools, and Ministry staff would normally be understanding if a homeschooler adopts a holistic approach to curriculum management. But if, for example, a homeschooling programme gives free reign to a student’s interest in computer-related studies but appears to give limited time to the development of communications skills and physical skills, then a Ministry official would be right to ask for a more balanced programme.