July 24, 2014

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Changes in the MoE

The MoE has recently had  some major changes.

“These new positions will be our key local leadership roles from 1 July, responsible for coordinating all Ministry services and support to their local communities. The aim is to have more senior leaders closer to the sector geographically and to have one senior person coordinating Ministry services.  This will ensure greater responsiveness to local needs.”

There are now 10 areas. So new exemption applications need to be sent to your nearest MoE office:

Director of education for: Appointed:
Tai Tokerau Hira Gage
Waikato Paula Rawiri
BOP/Rotorua/Taupo Ezra Schuster (12 months)
Hawke’s Bay/Gisborne Marilyn Scott
Taranaki/Whanganui/Manawatu Jann Marshall (6 months)
Wellington Pauline Cleaver
Nelson/Marlborough/West Coast Erika Ross
Canterbury Coralanne Child
Otago Southland Julie Anderson (start date 4 August)

The recruitment process for the Director of Education for Auckland


 still underway, and we’ll update you on that once an appointment is  confirmed.

The other new appointment that concerns home educators is Jim Greening

(Group Manager, Schools and Student Support). Home Education is one of his responsibilities.

This link has the profiles of all those mentioned above: http://www.minedu.govt.nz/NZEducation/MinistryBulletinSchoolLeaders/Issue9/~/media/MinEdu/Files/EducationSectors/MinistryBulletin/Issue9/Keyleadership.pdf

                                                                                                                                                               Those in the MoE Head Office in Lower Hutt who are responsible for Home Education are:

Jim Greening (Group Manager, Schools and Student Support)


                                                                                                                      Lucy Ambrose (Senior Advisor, Learner Engagement)


Preparation for the MoE discussions

Mireille Consalvey of the Ministry of Education has contacted a number of people in the Homeschool community who may be interested in contributing to the project called ‘The Red Tape Cluster Buster’, which aims to ‘reduce or stop those “red tape” activities that deliver little or no value; and to streamline and improve existing processes’. This will include looking at forms and online templates, with the intention of simplifying them.

This is a great opportunity for us to have input in an area that directly affects all of us.

One home education mother on FB said to me:

Barbara, can we all just share our thoughts and ideas with yourself and NCHENZ, rather than lots of Groups contacting this lady? And you can compile and present to them to the MoE? The thing with policy people (I used to be one!), is that the more opinions (especially differing ones) that are received, the more likely there is to be increased regulation as the policy people end up uncovering what they consider loopholes and gaps in the current implementation of the legislation. For example, one major issue our homeschooling community has is the subjectivity of assessors across the regions with regards to obtaining exemptions. It just depends who you get, right? If we gripe about this, we are more likely to end up with a checklist of things we must cover in our exemption (which the assessors use, thus achieving the consistency we apparently want), taking the ‘as well and as regularly as school’ legislation further than what we want. We definitely do not want prescribed checklists of what we must include in our exemption (ie. in our curriculum plans). If we present a united front, we are much more likely to get what we want!

PS. I realise this is about forms and not an overhaul of the regulations. But the forms should reflect what is actually required, and nothing ‘more’ added in. Less is more! It has been suggested that as well as different homeschooling support groups having direct input to the Ministry of Education in this, we also, as the homeschool community of NZ, co-ordinate some discussion and united response. This option might be particularly of interest to those that are part of the larger support networks HEF and NCHENZ, and wish to have their viewpoints expressed via these vehicles.

The advantage of having a co-ordinated approach and discussion,  is that we avoid the potentially dozens of different viewpoints from every angle that then have to be considered by policy-makers. The final result may in fact limit choices or impose a prescribed approach on the homeschool families (particularly with regards to exemptions), as creators of policy attempt to find consistent implementation of the primary legislation. For example, with an intention of providing consistency and simplicity, what we don’t want is some form of ‘checklist’ that takes the current primary legislation too far, and assumes or requires homeschool families to meet certain prescribed curriculum guidelines in their exemptions.

Although this is not an overhaul of regulations as such, we desire the forms and processes to best reflect the current primary legislation which is simply that children are taught ‘as regular and as well” as a registered school. Regular and Well are not defined by the MoE and we do not want them to define these terms.

Simplifying would certainly be a welcome outcome whereby only what is actually required is included in the forms and processes.

So if you have heard from Mireille or your support group would like to meet with Mireille please contact either Meredith of NCHENZ  govtliaison@nchenz.org.nz or myself barbara@hef.org.nz so that we can add you into the discussions. I think what would be best is an email discussion where we all reply to “reply to all” so that we all get the discussions. (not everyone has Facebook, not everyone wants to sign into yahoo). So this is probably the best option.

Here is an opportunity to express all of our views with regard to this – to have discussions and understand others points of view as well. Anyone can join this group even more so if you are not a part of a support group and want to have your voice heard. Now I understand the impossibility of what I am asking. No two home educators think alike – we have found that out in the past. But if we can at least have discussions together then we will be a little more unified than if we all have individual meetings not knowing what others are saying.

So once again if you are a home educator (or looking into home education or have finished home educating your children and are thinking about your up and coming home educated grandchildren) or if you are a support group committee member and would like to have a say and are meeting with the MoE “The Red Tape Cluster Buster” for a meeting and want to have a unified voice with other home educators then please contact Meredith or me so that you can begin to get the emails:

Meredith of NCHENZ govtliaison@nchenz.org.nz

Barbara of HEF  barbara@hef.org.nz

To read more on this please check out this link: MoE discussions



MoE discussions

There has been a reshuffle in the MoE. It seems like this could be a very good reshuffle – time will tell.

Today I received this email. I would love any comments you have to make.

Good afternoon,

I hope that this finds you well.

Lucy Ambrose at the Ministry of Education (MoE) provided me with your details. BUT first introductions.

My name is Mireille Consalvey and I am helping to coordinate a project being led by Megan Reid here at MoE. The aim of this project – called the Red Tape Clutter Buster – is to reduce or stop those “red tape” activities that deliver little or no value; and to streamline and improve existing processes.  In addition we are looking at resourcing forms and online templates.  Our intention is to simplify forms, and retire ones that are low value.

We would be delighted if you/and others as appropriate might be willing to meet with us. Typically meetings last no more than an hour and whilst we have some questions (below) to set the creative juices flowing what we really want is a “free and frank” conversation about red tape around homeschooling.

If you are keen/able might I would then suggest some dates and we are flexible and naturally can come to you.

With best wishes, Mireille


•             What would the ideal process look like?

•             What needs to be included in the process?

•             How can forms, funding allocations, timing etc be improved to ensure the process works best?

•             What types of activity is seen as entirely compliance driven for you? 

•             Do you have any specific examples of best practice that you believe should be considered in an improved model?  

Mireille Consalvey | Project Coordinator – Contractor | Sector Enablement and Support

Ministry of Education | Te T?huhu o te M?tauranga


MoE/ERO issues


I am slowly recovering from pneumonia. I was not responding to treatment and finally required surgery. It is a slow recuperation for me: http://hef.org.nz/2014/barbaras-health-update/. So I am not fully on deck yet. But here is something I began before I got pneumonia and needs to be discussed and decided how we deal with it.

I am very thankful for the families who give donations to the Home Education Foundation each year which keeps the http://www.hef.org.nz website going and helps with many administrative tasks. Here is a letter I sent out to the doners for this past financial year: http://hef.org.nz/2014/letter-to-those-who-gave-donations-to-the-home-education-foundation/

While writing the above letter two items of concern came to me about the exemption application letter. Please see my letter above for some of those concerns. I made many phone calls to the MoE but could never get through to the right person. So I ended up writing two letters to John Clark:


You will notice that I have received a reply from Jim Greening which is below both letters.

I am really concerned about this letter from Jim Greening. I would love to get your feed back on it – especially on this list. As people talk about it we can bounce ideas off each other. There is a great discussion about this on a Facebook page at the moment. Some of the main concerns coming up there are:

1. There is nothing wrong with the law when it says “to teach as regular and as well as a registered school”.  It is the POLICY in the MoE/ERO that we need to be concerned about and make sure that they keep to the LAW. That is what we need to be fighting if our ERO reviews fail and with new stuff on the exemption forms etc. (One person came on and said, “Actually Barbara, there is something wrong with the law – it exists, that’s what’s wrong!” I agree wholeheartedly.

2. What concerns me is that the MSD (Ministry of Social Development) in their White Paper and Supporting Vulnerable Children paper want 3 things: https://www.msd.govt.nz/…/supporting…/index.html

Early childhood education: In 2016, 98 per cent of children starting school will have participated in quality early childhood education.

Immunisation: Increase infant immunisation rates so that 95 per cent of eight month olds are fully immunised by December 2014 and this is maintained until 30 June 2017.
Rheumatic fever: Reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever by two thirds to 1.4 cases per 100,000 people by June 2017.

Assaults on children: By 2017, we aim to halt the rise in children experiencing physical abuse and reduce current numbers by five per cent.

I have just rung the MSD, The Vulnerable Children’s Bill http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/legislation/bills/00DBHOH_BILL12424_1/vulnerable-children-bill had it’s 3rd Reading a few days ago on the June 19.  But there does not seem to be any moves to make ECE compulsory in the law at this stage. It is just expected targets and policy. It is something that we need to keep an eye on in the future. When they want to make ECE compulsory for 3-5 year olds (or ECE for 3-4 year olds and school for 5 year olds) then we need to act. But it is something for us to all be aware of and concerned about and discussing now. So that when the time comes we are all up with the play and can ALL take part in defeating any Bill of this nature in Parliament. Not sure what impact we can have on policy – this needs to be discussed.
Update 8/6/14: Please read this link too: Baby charter schools raise more questions http://hef.org.nz/2014/baby-charter-schools-raise-more-questions/
3. From the Facebook page:

Is it just me or does the letter kinda contradict itself?

‘ERO would not expect evidence just for an ERO review but because it’s useful and ethical to… record the child’s achievement and progress over time. ONLY then can the parent be satisfied that their child is being educated as well (or better) than they would be in another setting.’

To which I’d say ‘it’s in my head’ – which they can’t accept as valid because:

‘this doesn’t apply adequate accountability or provide assurance that the criteria is being met. Inability to provide evidence … means that ERO can’t be assured that the intention of the Act is being realised’

But hold on a minute, I thought you guys (MOE/ERO) said it’s NOT about reviews, but because it’s useful and ethical for the parent
- now you say the reason it can’t be in my head because then ERO can’t judge that?! So it IS just for ERO reviews? No explanation how having it written down rather than in my head is actually any more ‘useful’ or ‘ethical’ for anyone other than ERO – sure it’s not expected ‘just for an ERO review’… *rolls eyes*

My response: That was how I read the letter too. In the past “in my head” was fine. That was what a review was all about – the ERO talking to me to find out what was “in my head” was more important than talking with the child and  seeing their work (although they did do this a little). After all the review is all about my “teaching” not the child’s “learning”. I think the ERO have forgotten this fact.

4. ERO reviews: There are only 35 ERO reviews budgeted for home schooling at the moment. The ERO is doing far less than this each year. The concern at the moment is that at least one family who has failed an ERO review recently has not been given a second review. In the past home educators were given two or even three ERO reviews if necessary. Schools are given even more than this. It is a concern if the ERO is now only going to be giving one ERO review to Home Educators. See my letter at the bottom of this link: http://hef.org.nz/teach/moeero/letter-to-moe-re-changes-to-the-exemption-form/

5. NSW Parliament: Craig always used to say “If it is not broken, then it doesn’t need to be fixed”. What he was meaning was that unless there is something seriously wrong with the law or policy then we should just sit tight. If we draw attention to ourselves then things might get worse. So we would always look to see if things could be fixed on a local level if it was a local issue. These issues are national and they seem to be something that needs to be fixed. But I am aware that we need to be careful how we try to fix them. This is the experience in NSW recently: “the NSW Parliament has recently announced an inquiry into home education. This has been as a result of the Home Education Association (HEA) lobbying against recent onerous changes in registration policy.” Seeing this is making me even more cautious to do the right thing:  http://hef.org.nz/2014/nsw-needs-our-help/
Would love your comments on all of this.
Barbara Smith
PS so the issues are:
1. The need to have a record of progress and achievement over time i.e. weekly, termly, annually.
2. The extra page about ECE on the exemption form plus the fact that the Govt wants 98% of preschoolers in ECE by 2016.
3. Some families being denied a second ERO review after the first failed one.

Homeschooling Turnover 2005 – 2013

These are the figures that continue to concern us. Each year there are roughly 1000 new home educators but at the same time there are over 1000 children who stop being home educated. There are a lot of people in New Zealand who want to help those who are struggling with home schooling.

Where to find help and encouragement when home educating? See below:

Support groups in most towns:


Online groups:



Homeschooling Turnover

Between 1 July 2012 and 1 July 2013 there was an overall net decrease of 10 students; 1,019 students entered into homeschooling and 1,029 students finished homeschooling.

The average age of the 1,019 students entering into homeschooling was 8 years old, 86% were aged 12 or under and less than 1% were age 16 or above. Of the students entering homeschooling during the year ending 1 July 2013 74% identified as European/P?keh?, 10% identified as M?ori, 2% identified as Pasifika and 6% of homeschoolers ethnicity were unknown.

The average age of the 1,029 students finishing homeschooling was 13 years old, 43% were aged 12 or under, and 25% were 16-years old or above. Of the students finishing homeschooling during the year ending 1 July 2013, 21% had been in homeschooling less than a year, 38% had been in homeschooling for 1 – 5 years, and 11% had been in homeschooling for 10 years or more. The average time spent in homeschooling of leaving students was 4 years.

The chart below provides a number of one-on-one dimensional tables relating to student numbers.

Downloads File Size & Type
 Microsoft Excel Icon Homeschooling Turnover by Time Series 1998-2013 [MS Excel 33KB]
 Microsoft Excel Icon Students Entering Homeschooling by Student Age & Region 1998-2013 [MS Excel 79KB]
 Microsoft Excel Icon Students Entering Homeschooling by Gender, Ethnic Group & Age 1998-2013 [MS Excel 72KB]
 Microsoft Excel Icon Students Entering Homeschooling by Gender, Ethnic Group & Ethnicity 1998-2013 [MS Excel 48KB]
 Microsoft Excel Icon Students Entering Homeschooling by Gender, Ethnic Group & Reigion 1998-2013 [MS Excel 91KB]
 Microsoft Excel Icon Students Finishing Homeschooling by Duration & Region 1998-2013 [MS Excel 87KB]
 Microsoft Excel Icon Students Finishing Homeschooling by Age & Regional Council 1998-2013 [MS Excel 84KB]
 Microsoft Excel Icon Students Finishing Homeschooling by Gender, Ethnic Group & Age 1998-2013 [MS Excel 80KB]
 Microsoft Excel Icon Students Finishing Homeschooling by Gender, Ethnic Group & Duration 1998-2013 [MS Excel 80KB]
 Microsoft Excel Icon Students Finishing Homeschooling by Gender, Ethnic Group & Ethnicity 1998-2013 [MS Excel 47KB]
 Microsoft Excel Icon Students Finishing Homeschooling by Gender, Ethnic Group & Region 1998-2013 [MS Excel 91KB]

For more information click here……


Please feel free to forward, email, share, etc – thankyou


From the Smiths:


Updated: 30 September 2013:  One year on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here


Needing help for your home schooling journey:



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

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


Information on getting an exemption: http://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

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

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

Coming Events:http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

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/