Letter to MoE re Scoping Survey 7 October 2014

Craig with children and timeline
Email to the MoE 7 October 2014

Dear Jim, Sonya and Lucy

I am really excited about the Red Tape Cluster Buster Meetings, the Problem Scoping Survey and the interactions we have had with you so far.

Thank you for allowing the deadline to be extended out to 9:00am on Tuesday morning. I trust a few more people have taken advantage of that.

I am still hearing of people who have not received the email from you and do not spend a lot of time on the internet so they have not heard from us either. I think if you were to do something like this again in the future it would be good to combine it with the home schooling declaration letter.

I would like to think that a lot of people have sent in Problem Scoping Surveys with all the positive interactions that they have had with the MoE. Over the years we have had some wonderful people in the MoE dealing with our exemption applications and ERO reviews. I trust that people are telling you this. But I suspect that it is the ones who have been hurting that you might hear more from. But also in saying that I know that there are many who are really hurting and afraid to answer the Problem Scoping Survey.

As people are trying to fill in this Problem Scoping Survey it is bringing back to them the fear and frustrations of getting their exemptions particularly from some local MoE offices and especially if they have special needs children.

Here are the comments that I am getting from people who are not willing to fill out the Scoping Survey or send in an email – even anonymously.
“I know you need the surveys and I get that they could help and I really do appreciate the work you’re trying to achieve but I have to tell you……..I’m too scared to fill one out. And I know we can do them anonymously but they will be able to tell who we are by the problems that we had. I’m very much afraid that the education department could retaliate in the future and we cannot afford for that to happen…”

(Plus seven other comments including the rest of this comment.)
And comments from those who have filled out the form:
“…I have to be honest. I reread it after I sent it again and burst out crying! I had a panic attack and thought, Oh my goodness what if the Advisor I was talking about is on the review board? But it is done and if it helps…yay. If I suddenly get an ERO then I know it was all a farce and I will not fall for it again…”

(Plus two other comments)

And this is a comment that I saw recently – not sure if it is in a submission to your or not – but thought it was good for you to see.
“…Quite frankly ours was a nightmare…”

(And the rest of this comment)
(I had permission to pass these comments onto the Problem Scoping Survey team.)
After reading these comments and many more from other home educators I am beginning to see one reason why home education isn’t growing in New Zealand like it is in some other Countries. There are several reasons, I am sure, but a growing conviction I have is that it sounds like, as I put in the Home Education Foundation’s Scoping Survey, that some Principals and some local MoE office staff have been making it very difficult for families to get an exemption, and even trying to put them off home education.

The other concern I have about the home education statistics is the number who stop home educating after 1 – 3 years. We have tried to address this with workshops/conferences/seminars around the Country. There are a lot of local support groups and a lot of online support groups these days for encouragement and advice so it is disappointing to see that the numbers giving up home educating continues to be so high each year. Again, I am now seeing, as a result of the Scoping Survey process, another reason why home education is not growing in New Zealand and I have a growing conviction that it has in part to do with the hard time some people have in getting their exemptions. Once the home educators have their exemptions, because of the terrible time they had getting it, they are keeping exactly to what they wrote in the exemption, putting untold stress on the family by “Schooling” at home instead of developing a lifestyle of educating their children at home. They are scared that if they deviate from what they wrote in their exemption form (timetable and all) that the MoE will send the ERO in to review them. This is burnout material. I think many have burnt out and instead of changing what they are doing (out of fear of the local MoE) have put their children back in school even though they would rather keep them at home knowing that it is better for their children to be at home with them.

Home educators save the MoE/Government a lot of money. I would think in these days of the Government trying to save money where they can that they would welcome families home educating their children. I love the fact that you consider Home Schooling your largest school and the sentiments that go with that. We would like to see this attitude in all the local MoE offices.

Again I look forward to seeing the results of the Red Tape Cluster Buster meetings and the Problem Scoping Surveys and being able to comment on them.

Barbara Smith
Lucy addressed part of this email in this email that she sent to me…
“You have expressed some concerns that have been voiced from some home educators. We would like for them to know that no one will be getting an ERO review because of the feedback they have given – that wasn’t the point of the feedback process. The feedback will not be used at an individual level and no one will be penalised because of any individual feedback given.”
Home Education Foundation letter which covers exemption form, beneficiaries, International home educators and Keystone.

– MoE/ERO issues

– Changes in the MoE

– MoE discussions introduction to the Red Tape Cluster Buster meetings

– Preparation for the MoE discussions with Red Tape Cluster Buster meetings andrelevant for the Problem Scoping Survey
– Discussions home educators had online at Clutter buster group or (for ease of reading as not everyone can get onto the Google docs) here…https://hef.org.nz/coming-events-archives-2012/red-tape-cluster-buster/ (Also a lot of very good information to aid you in filling out the Problem Scoping Survey)

– Record of Progress and Achievement (an example of the new National MoE office staff understanding home educators)

– Truancy and the Home Schooler/Home Educator (another success with the National Office in that Megan showed us alternatives)

– Scoping Meeting 15 July 2014 – Getting to know you

– 2nd Meeting 28 July 2014 – Red Tape Cluster Buster Meeting

– MoE scoping Home Educators – email

– Feedback Form (Problem Scoping Survey) on MoE website

– Email to the MoE about the Scoping Survey from a Home Educator

– Problem Scoping Survey: ideas and deadline

– MoE’s reply to Yumiko’s email about the Scoping Survey

– MoE Problem Scoping Survey: please make it known and fill it out

– The last of Craig Smith’s writings before he died 3 years ago

– MoE Problem Scoping Survey

Home Education Foundation’s Problem Scoping Survey

Scoping Survey: Barbara Smith

Problem Scoping Survey – Update


Please share/forward this link with other home educators.


From the Smiths:


Updated 1 October 2014:  Three years 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 startedhttps://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/


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

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

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

Coming Events: https://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/