April 28, 2017

Red Tape Cluster Buster

(From Google docs – this page can not be added to but Google doc still can be)

(This page is a collection of thoughts from a number of people over a 2 – 3 week period.)

Hi all,

We’re going to try and keep the conversation categorised into the main areas with regards to the FORMS that are involved.  Thats all this clutter buster project is about.  Purely paperwork.  Please feel free to add to the categories any extras you can think of.  They will be whittled.

The first meeting is at the end of this week. So we would appreciate your comments as soon as possible.

So ideas for exemption application forms so far…within the discussion starters are….(Click on this link then the live link will come up for the exemption form: http://www.minedu.govt.nz/Parents/AllAges/EducationInNZ/Homeschooling.aspx)

DISCUSSION STARTERS FOR MEETING:

What would the ideal process look like?

Kept to the law  – “the child must be  taught at least as regularly and well as in a registered school”

What philosophy will be used and how?

Online

The ideal process should be a lot shorter. The questions on the letter in the application pack are numbered 1-3 and afterwards don’t have numbers. Question 2 can be left out. Question 3 can be changed to “Give some examples of what you could plan to teach to your child(ren)?” It would not have the list of school subjects or school skills and wouldn’t have the paragraph about “meeting your child’s learning needs” – just cryptic, scary jargon.

I agree it should be shorter – people are having to write a dozen typed pages or more, and repeating themselves in order to fulfill each question, while applications in the past were a simple and precise couple of pages. To me, Q2 is confusing. I know I’m not the only one who thought ‘describe your knowledge and understanding’ meant write what you know of the subjects you plan to teach, as if it were asking for the parent’s qualifications. I had to ask more experienced home educators what the question was asking for, and someone explained it meant ‘give a broad outline of what you plan to teach, how and why.’ Use of plain English would be helpful.

I would prefer one question along the lines of…. “Please provide a description of what your families approach to teaching and learning will include? Include the following aspects…

this is about teaching not learning

What subjects or learning areas you intend to cover and how you will do this.

Please take learning out when talking with the MoE.

Along with a qualifier of something like “Please note you are not required to follow any set curriculum or include any specific subjects in your child’s educational program however whatever you include should demonstrate that you understand your child’s learning needs and that you have thought about how you will address them.”

Also rather than providing details of what we will do for certain things perhaps a simple statement such as… “Please describe your understanding of the following areas and how this will look in your family….”

At the end where they mention NCEA for 11-13 year old students they could also mention Cambridge Examinations (CIE) and give contact details for home educators erena@cambridgeexamsolutions.co.nz and judith@cambridgeexamsolutions.co.nz https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/NZHomeEdCambridge/info

Question “4” (the lesson plan) is enough to deal with the question of “How are you going to teach your child(ren)?”

I feel the requirement of a separate lesson plan is a compliance act only. Examples within the curriculum overview should be sufficient to demonstrate the style of teaching that will take place. I agree – especially for those who follow a child-led learning path, a topic plan cannot truthfully express the way we educate.

Question “5” (list of resources) is superfluous by now – there are so many resources, including WWW, available. It’s an old question.

The resources question is repetitive, since we are asked to refer to specific resources when describing our curriculum in detail (Q3).

Maybe if they do feel this is important then reword it to something along the lines of  “How will you ensure your child has access to a range of resources to support their education?”

Question “6” (How to use the environment) should be incorporated into question 4.

Question “7” (socialisation) probably has to stay in because this is number one criticism of home ed. Agreed

And yet  it is such a non issue that it should not need to be in the form now after 30 years of seeing that it not a criticism any more. – it could come under question 4 as well – using the environment, field trips etc.

Question “8” (assessment etc.)should be incorporated into question 4.

For Assessment I think it would be better to either eliminate it or replace it with a questions such as… “How will you monitor your child’s progress and development?”  As there are no legal requirements for us to formally assess our children so there should be no expectation on us to do so.  Agree.

The Exemption form says “In your own words describe your plan on how you will assess your child’s progress and therefore the teaching and learning programme. Aims or learning objectives should be specific, measureable (spelt wrong on the exemption form), appropriate, achievable and regularly assessed.” The exemption forms should be about our “teaching” not our child’s “learning”

We need clarity on the next paragraph “Remember, you will need to have a record of progress and achievement over time i.e weekly, termly, annually. This may also be needed when your child goes on to further education or training.” This is enough to put anyone off home educating their children – well most people. Some people love to write up these sorts of reports on blogs and in diaries – most people don’t. So this needs to be clearer. It is enough to write up these reports for the ERO or for further education or training when required. When I say clarity, I mean that, it is OK to forget about the “ERO, further education or training” and get on with “teaching our children as regular and well as a registered school” until we need the “record of progress and achievement”. At that point we can sit down and collect all the information that we need which will be different for each “ERO, further education or training”.

 

Question “9” (regularity) has to stay because of the way the law is worded. They should cut out the guff about timetables etc. Perhaps reword it to something along the lines of… “Please express your understanding of what regularity is and how you intend to apply it to your child’s education?

10: Advice and guidance

Please add these links:

National Support groups who can put families  in contact with experienced people in their local area:  NCHENZ http://www.nchenz.org.nz, info@nchenz.org.nz and Home Education Foundation http://hef.org.nz/,   mail@hef.org.nz

Local support groups http://www.nchenz.org.nz/local-support-groups/

and Online groups: http://hef.org.nz/2014/online-encouragement-for-home-educators/

Appendix D: “Curriculum coverage has been described. …and includes specific reference to learning materials…”  should be teaching materials – to keep within the law.

“Curriculum coverage for the first year and long term planning has been described” The long term planning has only recently been added to the exemption form. In the past we have been encouraged to only cover the first 12 months. As parents we are interested in our long term planning. The exemption form is for the MoE to see if we know what it means and are able to “teach our child as regular and well as in a registered school” so planning for the first 12 months should be sufficient.

Appendix D: Last paragraph: Principal notified of your intention to homeschool… The Principal of your child’s current school (or most recently attended school) will be asked to comment on the suitability of otherwise of home education as an option for your child.

 

What needs to be included in the process?  

I think in this modern online world that we should be able to email applications into the MOE or submit them online.

Rather than specifying what we will do for each individual child I think one general application for the family should be appropriate when parents are applying for multiple children at the same time. (Individual lesson plans could be included is appropriate)

Staff who are aware, and not afraid, of alternative teaching practices that we know (very well by now) work very well in a home ed. setting. This includes things like using emergent curriculum, using the teachable moment, not having to excessively document achievement and improvement (the parent’s word, plus some work samples/photos or whatever, should suffice), not being pushed into 6-hour time-table teaching, etc.

Clear information about resources that are available to home educators.

Assessors should have a thorough understanding and appreciation of home education rather than being professional educators who will judge exemptions by comparing them to a school based education.

Appendix E: at end of form “If you would like any other information please ring your local Ministry of Education office”, NCHENZ http://www.nchenz.org.nz, info@nchenz.org.nz,   Home Education Foundation o6 357 4399 http://hef.org.nz/ or your local support group details in these links: Local support groups http://www.nchenz.org.nz/local-support-groups/ and Online groups: http://hef.org.nz/2014/online-encouragement-for-home-educators/

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

Should these be taking 4-6 weeks to process in this day and age?

Yes, at any stage once the Exemption application has begun providing an extension until the exemption process is completed especially if it is going to take 4-6 weeks for the application to be processed. Many families need to take their children out straight away, after the holidays or if moving towns don’t want to have their children going through the stress of starting a new school for only a week or two.

All exemptions should be approved before a child’s 6th birthday or an extension provided until such time as the exemption can be processed.

Appendix C:  EUR NZ European/European/Pakeha. I do not check this as I am not a Pakeha. I am 5th generation NZ European – I am not a stranger in the land. So I am not a Pakeha.

 

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

Including schools in the application process

Appendix D: Last paragraph: Principal notified of your intention to homeschool… 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.

This is horrendous. 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 for the

parents. It is nothing to do with the school whether a child is home educated or not. It is the parents’ decision not the schools. Circumstances for a child at school can look quite different for a child at home. Most schools are good about this but there are some where the school is one-eyed and they will, out of prejudice, say that home education is not suitable for some particular children.

 

Providing a sample lesson plan when examples of learning and teaching can easily be catered for in the curriculum overview.

Everything about ECE. This has nothing to do with the law and our ability to “teach our child/ren as regularly and well as a registered school”.

Is it necessary to say whether we are delegating any of the home education of our children to others? This could happen in seasons when we have a need with a child. So long as we are being held accountable for “teaching as regular and as well as a registered school” then it should not matter whether we do it or others. We the parents are held accountable not others.

Appendix B: “An assessment report from the MoE’s Special Education team (SE) would be helpful (especially for a new entrant 6-year-old).” I think this is totally unnecessary especially for 6 year olds  – unless families want to use special educational services,. Parents know their child much better than any assessment done on a child. They will be able to ascertain whether they can “teach their child as regularly and well as a registered school”

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

I’m not sure I understand this question sorry but I’m thinking that perhaps there may be an issue that the MOE will want to address at some point of how parents will cater for their child’s literacy and numeracy development as these areas are the foundation upon which future success is often measured and built. There shouldn’t be any requirement to meet achievement levels though but perhaps MOE will have more confidence in homeschoolers if these 2 areas of learning are catered for within the exemption form..

 

Under law, whoever is signing off on our Exemption applications must be accountable that the child is not going to be disadvantaged by being at home, and altering the exemption application does not change the Education or Human Rights Act requirements.  We must, as educators, meet the requirements of the Acts/Law.

Also, it may be hard  to pick up whether or not our children have  a significant learning disability if not comparing to the curriculum levels, or at least to our own chosen curriculum. I think the words ‘chiildren’s learning needs’ should stay. It is not enough under the Education Act to teach children; all educators are required to meet their learning needs.

 

So to best practice – I think the application should be in plainer language which better reflects the above – the goal of education – to reach potential and have the choice of full participation and confidence in society.

 

Statutoarations

What would the ideal process look like?   Online

What needs to be included in the process?

 

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

No statutory declaration.

The statutory declaration is protection for us and the Ministry that we have a contractual agreement. I suspect it is a legal requirement, or a similar system is required by law.

The  Ministry have said a child cannot become unexempt unless enrolling in a school – but this may prevent attending   Health School. This must be addressed – the exemption should not be permanently  binding on the student, and if it is,  the form must state  that the exemption cannot be revoked. This raises questions about the actual wording of Exemption policy and the right of the ERO to revoke an  exemption.

There also must be no room for error once a child is registered as homsechooled, and the declaration form sent at the start of each half-year. A  child had their  identity taken and was enrolled (while they thought they were  under Exemption) in a school in another district without the family’s knowledge. The Ministry were unaware and did not notify the family. The ERO are looking into the matter.

 

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

Perhaps having to be signed by a JP

The Statutory declaration being signed by a JP. We could easily just tick a box to confirm we are homeschooling and send that away or complete the process online.

The current  declaration does not have to be signed by a JP – just an Officer of the Crown e.g. Police Sargeant at the local  station, or reception clerk at the front desk of the Courthouse, as instructed on the form.

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

 

Other forms used

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?

Homeschooled students should have access to special educational support and there should be a form to request this.

All students (homeschooled & schooled) should be entitled to free  assessments for learning disorders and there should be a form to request this service.

Agreed. Also, all students should have equal entitlement to their in-school peers to funding,  health and disability services, including assistive technology applications and evidence-based assessment..

They are currently excluded or severely  limited  from services unless enrolled in Te Kura.
There is no gateway for health enrolment in Te Kura, other than special one-off cases, and Health School appears not to take students direct from Exemption. The resulting situation is a potential breach of the Human Rights and Education Acts. See below previous comment re access to NCEA. Excellent idea.

If any NZ students develop a health condition or disability they must  have timely access to information and services (as per the Health and Disability Commission Code of Rights, which the Ministry staff  must follow as a provider of Disability Services.) Currently there are delays causing harm and breach of rights.

The Ministry and Hospitals must revise policy and staff practices geared to the view that  the ‘best place for children is school’  as this does not reflect the educational or health needs of all NZ children.

Letter from ERO to family about to have a review

What would the ideal process look like?   

Kept to the law  – “the child must be taught at least as regularly and well as in a registered school”

What needs to be included in the process?

Please put on the letter that goes out to the family being reviewed:  National Support groups who can put families  in contact with experienced people in their local area:  NCHENZ info@nchenz.org.nz and Home Education Foundation mail@hef.org.nz

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

There needs to be clarity over the words that the MoE sends to the family 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 the parents indicate that they accept the findings of the ERO report, intend to address the relevant issues and have already make progress” Some home educators have trouble signing that form when they can’t accept the findings of the ERO report. We need clarity in this wording so that families can sign the report.

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?

 

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Thinking about home education in general it would be very helpful if home educators could have free or heavily discounted access to NCEA assessments from whatever age they feel their child is ready.

 

Another idea would be free access to special education services within the homeschooling environment without coming under pressure to put children into school to better support and assist them.

 

Holding onto our freedom to educate our child as we choose and to use whatever approach or curriculum we feel suits our child best is of primary importance. We do not want to be required to model school in any way or to undertake formal assessments or follow any set curriculum but we should have access to te kura or at least NCEA if we desire to take this path without having to pay a huge amount of money and without having to attend school to undertake internal assessments. There should be a homeschool pathway available that we can tailor to suit our needs at home but only for those who desire to do so. It should not become mandatory under any circumstances.
Agreed.