June 24, 2019

Home Education Supervision Allowance

“Home educators are eligible for the home education supervision allowance. It is calculated on the number of children you are home educating. The annual total paid per child is as follows:

  • first child $743.00
  • second child $632.00
  • third child $521.00
  • subsequent children $372.00

‘The allowance is paid in instalments twice annually – in June and December each year – for the preceding 6 months. The first payment for a child new to home education will cover the period from the date of the issue of the Certificate of Exemption until the next payment round, either in June or December of that year.

“You must continue to meet the requirements of your Certification of Exemption to keep receiving the allowance.  You must complete a declaration to confirm this in April and October each year.

“It is important that the Ministry has your current address to post the declarations to you.

“A child can continue to receive the supervision allowance up until the end of the year in which they turn 19 provided their exemption certificate was issued before their 16th birthday and the declaration continues to be completed and returned to the Ministry.”

This is from the MoE link: https://parents.education.govt.nz/secondary-school/secondary-schooling-in-nz/home-education/?fbclid=IwAR1mfJz8luMJALVLg1RI4aA7l4mf6Fqy3163gmiNNsVFWChCWaktd6QXpG0#canigetanyfinancialsupport

The allowance comes up regularly in discussion groups on Facebook in NZ by those wanting to see it increased because there has been no increase in the allowance since it was introduced in 1990.  I have developed a post that I post each time the allowance comes up.

This is something that has been discussed a lot among home educators over the years. There has always been no agreement among home educators. There are those who would like more money and those who don’t receive the allowance at all. When we first started home schooling we didn’t receive any allowance – over 30 years ago in 1985 unofficially (Our oldest is 39 fully home educated).

The allowance just started coming in 1990 after the implementation of Tomorrow’s Schools in the 1989 Education act for no reason at all.

No home educator asked for it. Here is what Craig wrote in his “A Brief History of Home Education in New Zealand” part 2 http://hef.org.nz/about-us/a-brief-history-of-home-education-in-new-zealand-by-craig-smith/  

“1990 saw the introduction of the Home Schooling Supervisory Allowance, under then Minister of Education Phil Goff. This writer knows of no home educators who were lobbying for it: it appeared as a suggestion in the 1988 Picot Report and was picked up and instituted by the Tomorrow’s Schools policy document of 1989.”

When we looked into it we found that the Correspondence School people had lobbied for it. The Picot report lumped home schoolers in with the Correspondence school and decided that it would be good for home educators to get it too. Craig wrote to every new Education Minister to confirm that there were no strings attached to the allowance. So far there have been no strings attached to it. It is an allowance for supervising our children’s education. NOT an allowance for resources. We can spend the money on whatever we like – a new hairdo, drinks out with friends, a new washing machine etc.

We have always weighed up very carefully what battles to fight and when it is best to lie low. I know many people don’t agree with me but Craig (used to think) and I and many others think that this is an issue, at this time, especially under the current economic and social times, best left alone.

Yes, it would be nice to get more money – most of us are struggling to make ends meet. But we need to look at the issues.

1. Who owns the children? NOT the government, not even us. We have been given them to nurture and bring into adulthood where they will be their own person. The Government is more and more acting like they own our children. There are so many Govt compulsory things that effect our lives and our children’s lives – we don’t want to give our children over to the Govt any more than we have to. If we beg the Govt for more money then we are giving over a bit more of our children to the Govt.

2. As others have already mentioned we have opted out of the State Schooling system. Why would we want to opt in again?

3. If we ask for more money there could well come obligations with it. Look at what is happening to the Beneficaries. They have to work for 20 hours a week when their youngest turns 5 and 30 hours a week once their youngest turns 14. They are meant to be using a govt approved curriculum for their 3-5 year olds. With the way the govt is going at the moment I can’t imagine them giving out more money without obligations.

What might these obligations be:

A. A govt approved curriculum

B. Immunisations – fully immunised or no allowance

C. More paperwork – having to write reports on our children. The MoE wanted us to do this a few years back. We fought it and won. Otherwise we would all be having to write reports on our children twice a year.

D. More monitoring – more invasive monitoring to make sure we are keeping to the govt approved curriculum – schools

E. We could loose what we are already getting if we bring this to the authorities attention.

F. And possibly other things that don’t come to mind at the moment.

We need to be very careful about this. We need to have a united front. NCHENZ understands this and are walking a tightrope in some of their meetings with the MoE and home educators. We need to all support NCHENZ – get onto their committee, if we need to do that, so we can understand all the issues.

The govt wanted to save money so they looked around to see where they could make cuts. The MoE said that Home Educators were a low risk group so they cut the ERO reviews from about 600 a year to 35 a year (infact they are doing about 14-16 or less a year not the 35 budgeted for). Based on that it seems like we would be unlikely to get more money.

PLUS as mentioned by many home educators, who have been teachers or whose spouse is a teacher, the school teacher does not get all that comes to the school to spend on each child. It is there for the infustructure of the school – quoting Deborah “He said schools are given money for buildings, transport, teachers, admin and other things and they are not allowed to spend that money out of these accounts on children they are to spend it on the buildings etc. He said maybe if you added it all together it would be $6,000 dollars but don’t forget you have all this other stuff to pay for as health and safety is a issue in schools which you don’t have at home. Plus he said there can be money sitting at the end of the year in the building account and they can’t do anything with it but spend it on buildings. The schools are also audited to check where their money has gone so they can’t sneak money out and put it somewhere else. We don’t have near the costs at home that they do at a school and what is required in up keep to MoE for buildings and other stuff. He said that is why teachers ask for money for things for children at school because they are not given enough to cover students. The funding for class room resources is not enough he thinks. I know teachers myself who pay for stickers and other things for their children out of their pocket as they don’t get a massive class room allowance in some. One teacher said other than the resources that the school buy they maybe give $70.00 for the whole class for the year so if they want to do something different then they have to pay out of their pocket.”

Hanlie also mentioned in the earlier post: “I would be REALLY careful not to rock the boat on this one people. What we get is small change, but the reality is that if the attention is drawn to it or it becomes a burden they may reconsider it. You need to understand how the MoE functions and how they think and I think you can pretty much trust NCHENZ on this. My hubby is a small rural primary school principal and I can just say that it’s an accepted fact that the MoE does not even see them as a priority, their buildings are falling into disrepair, they have to make do with what they have and his non-contact hours are being cut further this year, which means many hours of recharging and family time not happening due to the increasing load of admintrative work he is required to do. They are investing millions in city decile 1 and 2 schools and in the leadership of the so-called school communities of learning. If the system or the MoE failed some of our children at school we have to be realistic, they aren’t going to fix that by increasing/updating our allowance. Also, they are not going to give us the same amount for each child, and after all people re-use resources, siblings work together, help each other etc. so it doesn’t really get double or multiple times more work to teach a whole family! Teachers don’t get paid more for every additional child in their class either.”

More comments from Facebook:

  1. I suppose when you weight up what you have to pay the school with fees, books, stationary, random fees and ‘school donations’ you technically gain at least another $1000 in what you don’t have to find per student.
  2. yip, I calculate it to be more than that with travel costs and lunches (for us) always end up costing more packed than made at home.
  3. From Corinne: Plus extra money spent on testing to have a ‘diagnosis’ so the school might finally have more realistic expectations and stop stressing your child so much, which – with or without testing – has emotional cost on all the family one way or another, and possible mental mealth treatment costs further down the line too…..
  4. From Courtney: There are many countries which don’t allow homeschooling, lets be grateful we can, and currently with minimal reporting to authorities. I understand its hard, but we knew that getting into it. I’d rather have nothing then rock the boat with MOE, especially given what’s currently happening with ECE.
  5. From Lara: If we were to get more money it has to come from somewhere. The schools can’t afford to have less funding they struggle as it is. It may feel unfair but at the end of the day the harder way isn’t always easy but well worth it in the end. The government struggles to pay for services and health and schools as it is, I am not keen on pushing it further for our gain.
  6. I can confirm a lot of the school budget part too btw, used to be PA and BOT secretary at a large urban primary school. It always seemed crazy how year after year all this money would come in, but maybe 1% would land in the “curriculum ?esources” part of the budget, and 1% at best for “professional development”. Funding for SEN was even lower, and already well over-allocated by the time my child’s needs were recognised. That’s a major reason why I didn’t stay and fight for in-school support: it became very clear that this would disadvantage others and not help her at all.
  7. From Erin: As you’ve seen from the multiple posts and replies there are two “camps” on this issue. What may not be aware of, is that the majority of people cautioning against pushing MoE for more money are the veteran homeschoolers. Not all, obviously, but most homeschoolers who have been involved in govt liason positions and/or homeschooling for 15-20 years, are cautious of bringing attention to something that could easily go in the opposite direction to what is being asked. 
    Strangely, (in my mind anyway!), Labour has historically been less favourable towards homeschooling than National so for a start, the issue shouldn’t be pushed (IMO) during a Labour govt. Secondly, you need to weigh up your costs of bringing a community of 6500 children and families to the government and media’s attention. Do you realise that most people have no idea that we can homeschool with no qualifications, checkups, or exams? That is unusual worldwide and the fact that we receive any allowance (and a totally unregulated one at that) is pretty spectacular compared to other countries.  
    So yes – school gets more and it would be good for us to get it too. But the cost of asking the government to look into it, could be far greater than most of us are prepared to pay.
  8. And from another teacher: As a primary school teacher I have spent a huge amount of my take home pay on classroom/teaching supplies and resources. Don’t be fooled thinking that the schools get heaps. Yeah they are allocated funding to purchase resources but usually this budget allocation decided on by a small number of senior staff and/or BOT and I can assure you in many (or most schools) very little is allocated to individual teachers for expenses in their own classrooms. Multiply costs by 20-30 and it can end up very expensive. While I understand what you are trying to Express in your letter, I think it’s a sentiment shared by all educators, home and school, and as a (now) home educator I’m just happy to have my children home with me.
  9. England gets nothing and they are currently going through a process of screwing home educators over in terms of requirements and expectations, whereas previously the argument in England was; don’t ask for money bc that comes with loss of freedom. Now freedom is being lost still without money at the moment.
    And the majority would choose no money with freedom rather than money without freedom. 
    I’d caution bringing any attention to it whatsoever bc you don’t want them to start looking into their policy and following suit from England.

Another thought… it is hard for all of us to get by on a diminished income due to home educating… even middle income families struggle more and more in the current economic climate but most of us can do something to help ourselves. Be innovative – begin a family venture and get the children to help plan and do it, let’s teach them the value of entrepreneurship while we have the golden opportunity of being at home with them. Schools do this all the time to raise money for the classroom – fundraising drives selling chocolates etc, fairs etc

AND Parents have to pay heaps to keep their children in school.

PLUS most Countries in the world do not get the Home Schooling allowance.

NCHENZ are looking into this and are listening to all our comments. They want what is best for home educators. They are constantly monitoring the situation.

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Needing help for your home schooling journey: http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading

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