August 30, 2014


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MoE Meetings: 2nd Meeting 28 July 2014 – Red Tape Cluster Buster Meeting

MoE Meetings: 1st Meeting 17 July 2014 – Getting to know you

Red Tape Cluster Buster meeting 28 July 2014

This meeting was with Megan Reid (Senior Project Manager) and Mireille Consalvey (Project Coordinator) for the Change Team, which is a part of Sector Enablement and Support.

The aim of this project is to reduce or stop those activities that deliver little or no value to schools, ECE providers and the MoE, and to streamline and improve existing processes. In addition they are looking at resourcing forms and online templates that the Sector use. Their intention is to simplify these forms, and retire the ones that are low value. So this is MoE wide, not just with home educators. The purpose of meeting with us is to seek feedback from home education leaders as to how the current home educating process and practice works and how they can make this work better for us. This is an opportunity to think about a desired end to end process.  I put these two links up on the HEF website about the meeting: MoE discussions and Preparation for the MoE discussion

First, it is good to look at the law for home educators in New Zealand: Education Law in New Zealand – updated with extra links. In all our talks we want to keep everything simple and according to the law rather than policy.

We first looked at the forms (exemption forms and declaration forms) and talked about the process of the ERO communications with home educators around ERO reviews, based on discussions home educators had online at Clutter buster group or (for ease of reading as not everyone can get onto the google docs) here… http://hef.org.nz/coming-events-archives-2012/red-tape-cluster-buster/

Megan and Mireille were very easy to talk with and seem to have a great understanding about home education. We managed to talk about everything mentioned in the link above.

Some highlights from our meeting:

Exemption Form online

Megan and Mireille were positive about the exemption form being online. We have suggested to them to let parents track their exemption application online. With exemptions taking 4-6 weeks to be approved this would help parents know what is happening. We hope that the time frame can be reduced, especially now that there are ten MoE offices approving exemptions.

Use of the Exemption Application

Megan was very understanding of the current process and wanted us to be aware that the Ministry understands that there is difference in current practice. What we write in the Broad Curriculum Areas and Curriculum Areas (hopefully these two questions will be combined to focus on the Home Educator Overarching Philosophy) in the exemption form sets the stage for how the MoE will look at the whole exemption application. In other words what we write in these two areas will be reflected in what we write in the Topic Plan and Regularity. So if we have a bookwork approach to our home schooling then the MoE will expect to see a Topic Plan and a Timetable. If we write up our understanding of natural learning/unschooling and show how we plan to go about applying it in our homes, then the Topic Plan and the Regularity questions should be answered quite differently to the way the bookwork approach will be written up – in other words they want to see how natural learning will work in our children’s lives.

Truancy

There are 38,000 children truant every day from school; some are still on the school grounds but just skipping one class. When the MoE writes or talks to us, they have to obey the law and say that children have to be at school between the ages of 6-16. After reading a letter Jim Greening wrote to principals wanting them to concentrate on chronic non-attendance, I thought it was time that we addressed this for home educators. So I asked Megan and Mireille about it. Megan outlined her understanding of the Justified Absence and Unjustified Absence. More information about the absence definitions can be found at http://www.minedu.govt.nz/NZEducation/EducationPolicies/Schools/Attendance/ForBoardsAndPrincipals/Definitions.aspx. So after they left I searched around the MoE website to find out more about these terms.  This is what I came up with: Truancy and the Home Schooler/Home Educator

I have asked the Red Tape Cluster Buster team to make “justified absence” a part of the process of applying for an exemption application. It is more likely that a school would be in agreement of an Explained (but unjustified) Absence if a Home Schooling application is pending. This will need to be worked through in greater detail.

Special needs

Megan and Mireille want to have a lot more helpful information out there for home educators with Special Needs children. The national office realise that special needs children may be being educated in the home rather than in a mainstream setting. So they want home educators to know what services etc are out there for special needs children. Megan said that they want to have good flow charts, information, links, what is available, etc for home educating with special needs children in the exemption application package.

ECE

Megan and Mireille agreed with us that writing information about whether our children had been in an ECE during the last 6 months (when our children are turning 6 or being pulled out of school) is not a requirement of the current legislation and does not demonstrate to the MoE that we have the ability to “teach our child as regularly and as well as a registered school”.

Principals

“Principal notified of your intention to homeschool (in the case of a child currently enrolled in a school). The Principal of your child’s current school (or most recently attended school) will be asked to comment on the suitability or otherwise of home education as an option for your child.” We talked about the way different local MoE offices use this statement.  Any contact with a previous school should not delay or interfere with the process of approving an exemption. There are other ways that a check can be made to see if the child is on the school’s roll. Presently the home educating community sees this as potentially causing additional problems for the child, and parents, in the school, when the MoE contacts them, while an exemption application is still in approval phase. It is the parents’ decision whether to home educate or not, not the school’s. When a principal is asked to comment “on the suitability or otherwise of home education as an option” they do not necessarily have insight into the home educating philosophy or different approaches planned to be used. Therefore it is a subjective comment currently being asked for by Principals with little contextualisation. Most schools are good about this but there are some where the school has a predetermined objection to the philosophy of home educating and this impacts on their response to this question. Megan and Mireille seemed to understand this and agreed that this statement and the process needs to be changed.

Please be patient

The MoE is at present making huge changes in all areas, not just home education, and it would seem that the changes could be good for home educators. Both teams are still meeting with home educators. They plan to involve home educators in the changes.

At this stage most changes have not happened yet. The ten MoE offices have been set up – but not all of them are able to approve exemptions yet.  It will take awhile for these changes (once approved) to be operating in the local MoE offices. So we need to be a little patient.

In the meantime we need to help people get their exemptions with as little stress as possible. If you find challenges and barriers in particular MoE offices, there are other avenues that can be explored to continue a conversation. Our contact at the National Office is Lucy Ambrose – but first make sure an experienced home educator has seen your exemption application.

So it would seem that there are encouraging things afoot.

*******

Please leave any comments you have on this. The Red Tape Cluster Buster team are still keen to hear from everyone. So if you have any comments (especially if they are not in the link above or mentioned here and you are not part of a group meeting with the Red Tape Cluster Buster team) on the forms and processes the MoE use for home educators then please leave them here so that I can pass them onto Mireille. Thanks.

Background links:

MoE/ERO issues: http://hef.org.nz/2014/moeero-issues/

MoE Meetings: 1st Meeting 17 July 2014 – Getting to know you

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

Updated 22 April 2014:  Two years on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

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/

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/

 

 

MoE Meetings: 1st Meeting 15 July 2014 – Getting to know you

The MoE had a shuffle around with their staff and offices on 1 July 2014; you can read about it here:  http://hef.org.nz/2014/changes-in-the-moe/

Recently, I have been part of two meetings with the new MoE staff.

The first meeting on 15 July was with Jim Greening (Group Manager, Schools and Student Support), Sonya Logan (Manager, Student Engagement) and Lucy Ambrose (Senior Advisor, Learner Engagement). The purpose of the meeting was for the MoE to meet with a Home Schooling organisation to establish that they were a valid and recognised representation of home educators, and to lay groundwork for scoping: consulting with ERO, evaluating MoE resources and policies and opening communication with home schooling groups. These meetings are to be ongoing.

Our discussions were fairly general for the first part of the meeting where we were getting to know Jim, Sonya and Lucy and they were getting to understand home educators. We talked very briefly about the history of home education in New Zealand. See A Brief History of Home Education in New Zealand by Craig Smith.

We did talk about some nitty gritty things, and I believe ended up with some good outcomes.

Jim would like to see consistency of information and approach within the ten MoE offices. The two main questions are:

  • is the child getting a good education?
  • is the child safe?

Need to keep records

These three from the MoE National office want to unpick this one with home educators. Here is what we talked about, and it is not about keeping records at all, but preparing when we need to for either the “ERO, further education or training”. See more here: http://hef.org.nz/2014/record-of-progress-and-achievement/

Need for MoE to contact Schools during the exemption process 

We considered this statement: “Principal notified of your intention to homeschool (in the case of a child currently enrolled in a school). The Principal of your child’s current school (or most recently attended school) will be asked to comment on the suitability or otherwise of home education as an option for your child. We also discussed the way different local MoE offices use this statement. They stated that the school’s input is to highlight any special needs or learning needs that the child has. This is part of the process in working out what is best for the child. Our response: The MoE should not contact the school as a normal process of approving an exemption application. They could check online to see if the child is on the school’s role. When the MoE contacts the school this can cause all sorts of problems for the child in the school until the exemption application is approved, and also for the parents. It has nothing to do with the school whether a child is home educated or not. It is the parents’ decision not the schools. A child can have difficulty learning at school, or be naughty, and when they come home and the parents are working with them one on one and using different approaches to what the school uses, the child can flourish. Principals don’t see this but we do. They may not take that into account when “commenting on the suitability or otherwise of home education as an option for your child”. Most schools are good about this, but there are some schools that are one-eyed and they will, out of prejudice, say that home education is not suitable for some particular children. Jim, Sonya and Lucy seemed to understand this and agreed that this statement needs to be changed. They had also heard from others who are concerned about this.

Failed ERO review

We looked at the wording in the letter that goes out to parents after a failed ERO review. “There is provision for the MoE to request that ERO reviews a programme again in six months, following an ERO review, if parents indicate that they accept the findings of the ERO report, intend to address the relevant issues and have already made progress.” If the ERO has made a report and we feel that it does not reflect our home educating of our children, how can we “accept the findings of the ERO report” without incriminating ourselves? They agreed the wording needs to be changed.

As regularly and well

Unfortunately Jim feels the need to define the words “regular” and “well”. We told him that these words do not need to be defined any more than they already are in the exemption form. We have not needed these words defined in the past and it could be detrimental to home educators if they are defined for the future. Thankfully the MoE want to be in discussions with us over all aspects of home education – the forms, the processes and anything else. So if these words are defined more than what is in the exemption form, we will be able to comment on it.

ERO Reviews:

Jim would like to see ERO reviews done not on the basis of a complaint but in a more supportive role. He feels that this would give a better overall view of Home Schooling. He is questioning why these reviews are so limited – up to 35 done per year (14 last year). We know why – because the MoE was looking to see how they could cut their budget and found that home educators are a low risk group. At the meeting I thought that Jim was considering taking the reviews from around 14 a year up to the full quota of 35 a year with non-compliant based reviews. We need to discuss the purpose of the ERO reviews more. Are they to find out where parents are not “teaching as regular and well as a registered school” or for the MoE to get an overview of home education or both?

Conclusions

Part of the aim of this meeting was to form a group of people who can work with the MoE – a sector group to look at all aspects of home education. Jim, Sonya and Lucy are still meeting with home educators to find who should be part of this group. They are meeting with NCHENZ on the 19th August 2014. I am not sure who else they are meeting with, but they did say that they would be meeting up with some Home Education Support Groups.

I also want to explain my role (representing the Home Education Foundation) at any MoE/ERO meetings. I am not representing any other home educators – only my family. I asked another couple to be with me at this meeting, who have finished home educating seven children and are looking forward to having grandchildren who will be home educated too. I have eight children and have already been home educating for 28 years, with an exemption. I still have an eight year old being educated at home along with her 13 and 16 year old siblings, so I will be at this for a long time yet. As I see it, my role at these meetings (if I am a part of them) is to be there with the 28 years of experience I have at home educating and supporting Craig in the work he did with the Home Education Foundation, then to share the outcome of these meetings with you, the home educators of New Zealand, so that you will be able to represent yourselves by either contacting me (I’ll pass on your comments and concerns), your local MoE office or Lucy Ambrose from the National Office.

Please be patient

As you can see there are new staff at the MoE and they are wanting and needing to make changes to the forms and processes the MoE uses for home educators, and it would seem that the changes could be good for home educators. Both teams are still meeting with home educators. They plan to involve home educators (not sure who yet) in the changes.

At this stage most changes have not happened yet. The ten MoE offices have been set up – but not all of them are able to approve exemptions yet.  It will take awhile for these changes (once approved) to be operating in the local MoE offices. So we need to be a little patient.

MoE Meetings: 2nd Meeting 28 July 2014 – Red Tape Cluster Buster Meeting 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

Updated 22 April 2014:  Two years on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

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/

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/

 

Home schooling allowances and private schools’ funding

There are some interesting facts on page 16 of this pdf : VOTE EDUCATION – 2009 BUDGET LINE BY LINE REVIEW

From 2008/2009 until 2012/13 the home schooling allowance paid out to home educators each year has been $4 million (excluding GST) – Private schools have been around $34 million (excluding GST).

Around 0.8%  (2006-2010)  and 0.07% (2011-2013) of school aged children are home educated while around 4% of school aged children attend private schools.

http://www.minedu.govt.nz/~/media/MinEdu/Files/TheMinistry/Budget2009/09VoteEducation2009BudgetLineByLineReview.pdf

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

Updated 22 April 2014:  Two years on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

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/

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/

 

Truancy and the Home Schooler/Home Educator

Craig with children and timelineThe law says that a child between the ages of 6 and 16 must be in school (unless they are under 7 and live 3km walking distance from the school or it is not convenient to catch the bus which is under 3km from your home. And for the child under 10: Exemption from attendance.)

So to keep our children at home to educate them, we have to apply for an exemption (see also Effect of exemption).

While we are in the process of applying for an exemption, our child could be six or seven or even older. All correspondence from the MoE must say that our children have to be in school during those ages, because that is the law – and the MoE has to keep within the law. So what can we do?

A problem arises when our exemptions have not been approved by the time our child turns six/seven, or when they are already in school and we want to take them out immediately. There are many reasons why our exemptions may not be approved on time. The MoE does not look at the exemption applications until our children are almost six, and then it can take up to six weeks to get the exemption. If the MoE requires more information, this usually means that our child has turned six and the parents may face a penalty for failure to enrol of $3000.00 if convicted (I have never heard of anyone being fined while applying for an exemption). There are many reasons why those pulling their child/ren out of school want to do that straight away. There may be a bullying problem, or they may have moved and don’t want their child/ren going through the stress of a new school for two or three weeks. It may be after the holidays and the parents want to capitalise on what has been achieved in building up their relationships over that period etc. If convicted of truancy the fine is $30.00 a day and does not exceed $300.00 for first offence or $3000.00 for second and subsequent offence. (Again, I have never heard of anyone being fined when they have pulled their children out of school while waiting to get their exemption – although sometimes it does make it more difficult to get the exemption.)

So what can we do when our child is six/seven and under sixteen and we still do not have an exemption? At the Red Tape Cluster Buster meeting we discussed the need for the exemptions to be processed faster than 4-6 weeks. I also asked for there to be some leniency for home educators, after reading a letter from Jim Greening to Prinicpals where he says:

In 2013, the Attendance Service received over 38,000 unjustified absence and non enrolment referrals.  This high number of referrals shows us the importance of ensuring students attend school to reach their potential.  However, with this high number of referrals we want to ensure that schools are playing their part before making a referral to the Attendance Service.  It is important that your school has an attendance management plan in place to ensure your students attend school and that all reasonable actions are exhausted before making a referral through to your local Attendance Service.

The Attendance Service is here to support you when your attempts to solve non-attendance issues are not successful and the non-attendance is on-going.  The Attendance Service is designed to help you deal with students of chronic non-attendance rather than students who occasionally don’t go to school.

For 2014, there will be a focus on decreasing the number of students who are re-referred to the Attendance Service.  The aim is to identify root causes of non-attendance, implement strategies to address these, and help ensure students are returned to a sustainable regular attendance.  We look forward to working with you on this and value your commitment and ongoing involvement in these matters.

The Head office of the MoE is far more interested in finding and addressing the chronic non-attendance at schools than tracking down the Home Educator who is currently in the process of applying for an exemption.

I talked with the Red Tape Cluster Buster team about this and asked if something can be done for us. Megan was quick to come back with what is already in place – Justified absence (any amount of time) and Unjustified absence (20 days only). So I “searched” the MoE website for these terms and came up with this:

The Law: Release from school and Exemption from attendance 

The Policy: Absence from school definitions – we can use these to our advantage when pulling children out of school, or once our child turns six and we still don’t have an exemption.

Justified absence – occurs when the reason for a student’s absence fits within the school’s policy as a justifiable reason for the student’s absence. (Any amount of time.)

Unjustified absence – are full-day absences which are either unexplained, or the reason for the absence is not within the school’s policy as a justifiable reason for the student to miss school. (20 consecutive days)

Intermittent unjustified absence – occurs when a student is absent for part of a morning (or afternoon)without justification.

Overall absence (or non-attendance) – the sum of justified absence, unjustified absence and intermittent unjustified absences.

Truancy – the sum of unjustified absence and intermittent unjustified absence.

Non-enrolment – after 20 consecutive days of continuous unjustified absence, a school removes a student from their roll (ENROL) and a referral is made to the Attendance Service .

“Please refer to Attendance Matters [PDF: 1.13mb] pages 10-11 for more detailed information on the absence codes and definitions.

Below are the things that could apply to home educators from pages 10-11 mentioned in the above PDF.

Justified absence

Student absent due to short-term illness/medical reasons – Student is at home, with an illness or medical reason. Depending on school policy a medical certificate may be requested for prolonged illness, eg three days, or as policy requires.

Justified explanation within the school policy -

• Unplanned absences such as a bus breakdown, accident, road closure, extreme weather conditions etc.
• Planned non-attendance such as national/local representation in a sporting or cultural event in New Zealand or overseas. (See also Code O)
• Approved absence (including overseas) can also include bereavement, visiting an ill relative, exceptional family circumstances or a Section 27.

Unsupervised study – student is off-site – Code X will count as a justified absence and be used in ½ day absence summaries. Note that supervised study is recorded as a regular timetabled class

Justified overseas – check next column for justification examples– A student accompanying or visiting a family member who is on an overseas posting (the student can be held on the roll for up to 15 consecutive weeks). Eg military ordiplomatic.

Student is stood down or suspended – Student is stood down or suspended according the conditions of Section 14 of the Education Act 1989.

Unjustified absence, Unjustified absences , Intermittent unjustified
absence

Unknown reason  - This is the initial entry for a student not in class and the reason is unknown. It will be edited as relevant information becomes available about the reason for the
non-attendance. The system can be configured by the school to automatically change (or not change) the “?” code to a “T” after a configurable number of school days (eg seven).

Student is absent with an explained, but unjustified reason – The explanation for the absence is accepted by the school as the reason for the absence, but the reason does not fit within the school’s policy as a justifiable reason to take the student off school (even though the parents may consider the absence was justified and may have provided a written explanation). Eg “Molly had to stay home to look after her younger brother” or “We went for a two-week family holiday in the South Island.” This includes overseas absence not approved by the principal. (A parent’s note does not provide justification.)

No information provided – truant (or throw-away explanation) – This code is for an absence where no verifiable explanation is received, or the explanations are like the following:
• I don’t like my maths teacher so I took the period off.
• I had an assignment to be handed in next period so I took this period off to finish it.
• I was hot so went down to the river.
• We had a test and I wasn’t ready for it.
• I was at the shops.

My Conclusions

From reading the PDF above it is clear that principals are being encouraged to work hard on Unjustified absence, Unjustified absences , Intermittent unjustified absence. There is a challange out there for them to have the lowest percentage of unjustifed absence in their school. Some schools have a zero tolerance approach to truancy.

So I believe that it is in our best interests to have a Justified absence while applying for our exemptions. I think that this will keep the principals happier – we won’t make their total Unjustified absences worse. (An example of a justfied absence would a Doctor’s certificate)

I have asked the Red Tape Cluster Buster team to make “justified absence” a part of the process of applying for an exemption  application if our children are aged between 6-16.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Policy – Advice: Non-attendance of students under the age of six

While a parent may enrol their child who is five years old in school, the parent is not legally required to ensure they attend until they turn six.

Attendance

• A school board still has a role to, by any means it thinks appropriate, take all reasonable steps to ensure the attendance of students enrolled at its school.
• If intermittent attendance by an enrolled five-year-old is a concern, the school can seek help from the attendance service, community agencies, CYF or the Police.
• The greatest concern for principals is not knowing if a child is at home or whether something untoward has happened on the way to school. Schools can contact Attendance Services to support them to confirm the safety
of a child if they have been absent from school. Also a visit from CYF or a community constable to a parent may be enough.

Non enrolment

• A parent is free to withdraw their five-year-old at any time and not re-enrol them at another school until they turn six.
• After 20 consecutive days of unjustified absence schools may remove a five-year-old from the school’s roll.

I wanted to know exactly what the law was and how it was applied – the policy, and then how we can use the policy to keep within the law.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

Updated 22 April 2014:  Two years on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

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/

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/

Education Law in New Zealand- updated with extra links

We are often asked:

“What does the law say about homeschooling in New Zealand?”

Here is the Act: New Zealand Education Act 1989

The law: New Zealand citizens and residents between 6 and 16 to go to school

PART III ENROLMENT AND ATTENDANCE OF STUDENTS
20 New Zealand citizens and residents between 6 and 16 to go to school
  • (1) Except as provided in this Act, every person who is not an international student is required to be enrolled at a registered school at all times during the period beginning on the person’s sixth birthday and ending on the person’s 16th birthday.

    (2) Before a child’s seventh birthday, the child is not required to be enrolled at any school more than 3 kilometres walking distance from the child’s residence.

    Compare: 1964 No 135 ss 108, 109

    Section 20 heading: amended, on 1 January 1993, by section 5 of the Education Amendment Act (No 4) 1991 (1991 No 136).

    Section 20(1): amended, on 30 August 2011, by section 13 of the Education Amendment Act 2011 (2011 No 66).

    Section 20(1): amended, on 1 January 1993, by section 5(1) of the Education Amendment Act (No 4) 1991 (1991 No 136).

Home Education: Long term exemptions from enrolment

21 Long term exemptions from enrolment
  • (1) An employee of the Ministry designated by the Secretary for the purpose (in this section and section 26 referred to as a designated officer) may, by certificate given to a person’s parent, exempt the person from the requirements of section 20,—

    • (a) on the parent’s application; and

    • (b) if satisfied that the person—

      • (i) will be taught at least as regularly and well as in a registered school; or

      • (ii) in the case of a person who would otherwise be likely to need special education, will be taught at least as regularly and well as in a special class or clinic or by a special service.

    (2) A certificate under subsection (1) continues in force until it is revoked or expires under this section.

    (3) If a designated officer refuses to grant a certificate under subsection (1), the applicant parent may appeal to the Secretary who, after considering a report on the matter from the Chief Review Officer, shall confirm the refusal or grant a certificate.

    (4) The Secretary’s decision is final.

    (5) Every certificate under subsection (1) or subsection (3) shall state why it was given.

    (6) Subject to subsection (7), the Secretary may at any time revoke a certificate under subsection (1) or subsection (3).

    (7) The Secretary shall not revoke a certificate under subsection (1) or subsection (3), unless, after having—

    • (a) made reasonable efforts to get all the relevant information; and

    • (b) considered a report on the matter from the Chief Review Officer,—

    the Secretary is not satisfied of whichever of the grounds specified in subsection (1)(b) the certificate was originally granted on.

    (8) If the Secretary thinks any person exempted under subsection (1) would be better off getting special education, the Secretary may revoke the certificate and issue a direction under section 9.

    (8A) A certificate for the time being in force under subsection (1) or subsection (3) expires when the person to whom it applies turns 16 or enrols at a registered school, whichever happens first.

    (9) Every certificate of exemption under section 111 of the Education Act 1964 that was in force on 30 September 1989 shall be deemed to have been granted—

    • (a) on the ground specified in subsection (1)(b)(i) if it was in fact granted—

    • (b) on the ground specified in subsection (1)(b)(ii) if it was in fact granted—

    and may be revoked under this section accordingly.

    Section 21(2): amended, on 19 December 1998, by section 10(1) of the Education Amendment Act (No 2) 1998 (1998 No 118).

    Section 21(6): amended, on 23 July 1990, by section 10 of the Education Amendment Act 1990 (1990 No 60).

    Section 21(8A): inserted, on 19 December 1998, by section 10(2) of the Education Amendment Act (No 2) 1998 (1998 No 118).

    Section 21(9): inserted, on 1 January 1990, by section 8 of the Education Amendment Act 1989 (1989 No 156).

    Section 21 compare note: repealed, on 20 May 2010, by section 11 of the Education Amendment Act 2010 (2010 No 25).

walking distance, in relation to travel between a person’s residence and a school,—
  • (a) where there is no public transport that the person can conveniently use, means the distance (measured along the most direct route by public road, public footpath, or combination of both) between the residence and the school; and

  • (b) where in both directions there is public transport that the person can conveniently use, means the sum of the following distances (each measured along the most direct route by public road, public footpath, or combination of both) or, where the sum is greater in one direction than the other, the greater sum:

    • (i) the distance between the residence and the place where public transport must first be taken (or, as the case may be, finally be left); and

    • (ii) the distance between the school and the place where public transport must finally be left (or, as the case may be, first be taken); and

    • (iii) every intermediate distance between one element of public transport and another

Extra links:

Special education
Secretary’s powers when excluded student younger than 16
Employment of school-age children
Ensuring attendance of students
Effect of exemption
Penalty for failure to enrol
Exemption from attendance
Burden of proof on parents

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