June 1, 2023

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