September 22, 2023

Govt Should Talk to Parents First regarding Sex Education


Hi Barbara

The Education Review Office (ERO) released a report yesterday about “sexuality education”. Once again, this latest government report raises way more concerns for parents than reassurances, and joins the queue of governmental and radical groups who want to indoctrinate your children with sexual propaganda without consulting you – the parents. It is also significant that the President of the Secondary Principals Association said that parents have a responsibility to do this rather than teachers.

Please take a moment to read our media release, and also the additional information we have provided for parents. Ultimately it’s about parents being able to make an informed choice, and to be consulted and respected!
ERO Should Talk To Parents First About Sex Ed
Media Release 12 September 2018 
Family First NZ says that the Education Review Office should talk to parents first before issuing reports about sexuality education in schools. Family First also questions why words such as “abstinence”, “delay”, “moral”, and “marriage” have been left out of guidelines for school.

The review acknowledges that the best outcomes are achieved when trustees and school leaders consult with the school community, and the parents being able to have ‘meaningful input into the content and delivery’ of any programmes. The report also admitted that ‘very few schools reported to parents on sexuality education achievement. Consequently, evaluation of sexuality education provision, when it did occur, focused mostly on what had been delivered, rather than learning outcomes for students.’

READ THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION’S “GLOSSARY OFTERMS” A glossary of ‘useful sexuality terms’ for sexuality education!
“The government is currently pursuing and promoting a curriculum where children are indoctrinated on ‘gender identity’ ideology and the harms of gender stereotypes, and given dangerous messages that they’re sexual from birth, that the proper time for sexual activity is when they feel ready, and that they have rights to pleasure, birth control, and abortion. Most schools, along with parents in that school community, are rejecting the extreme elements of the sexuality education guidelines, which probably explains why so many schools aren’t delivering them,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.“Parents also object to these programmes targeted at children which undermine the role and values of parents, and resources which fail to take into account the emotional and physical development of each child and the values of that particular family.”

“Yes, pornography viewing by young people is absolutely a major concern for parents, but what parents are crying out for is resources and an understanding of the technology, the risks, and of how to protect their children. They want their children to know that it is wrong and to be discouraged from viewing it. It is not just a topic for discussion, devoid of any moral framework or direction.”

In a 2017 independent nationwide poll of 846 people undertaken by Curia Market Research, 4 out of 5 parents said they are confident of their ability to teach their own children about sex and sexuality issues, and 2/3’rds believe that parents should be dictating any school-based teaching, not the government or groups such as Family Planning and Rainbow Youth.

“This polling is a clear rebuke to the current government approach of developing curriculum with minimal input from parents. Parents know their children the best and should determine the best timing and most appropriate way to tackle topics such as keeping themselves safe, consent, and ‘where do babies come from’. A valueless ‘one size fits all’ approach is far too simplistic and can even be harmful,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Studies show that the biggest protective factors for coping with puberty and sexual involvement are married parents, family values, parental supervision, and parental expectations for behaviour. What happens at home is the greatest determinant of the outcomes for the young person. There seems to be a basic and ironic assumption that parents know nothing about sex and that only Family Planning and Rainbow Youth do. This is a myth and is rejected by Kiwi parents.”

Family First released a report in 2013 “R18: Sexuality Education in New Zealand – A Critical Review” by US psychiatrist Dr Miriam Grossman which was sent to all school principals and all Board of Trustee Chairpersons of Intermediate and Secondary schools in NZ. Dr Grossman warned that the sex education resources fail to tell the full facts and compromise the concerns and wishes of parents, and the safety of young people. “A premise of modern sex education is that young people have the right to make their own decisions about sexual activity, and no judging is allowed. Risky behaviours are normalised and even celebrated. Children and adolescents are introduced to sexual activities their parents would prefer they not even know about, let alone practice. It’s reasonable to ask: is the ‘comprehensive sexuality education’ foisted on young people all over the world about sexual health, or sexual licence?” says Dr Grossman

Opting Out – It is important to note that as with all programmes like this (and also Mindfulness), parents can withdraw their children from Mates & Dates classes. See page 61 of the Handbook (above).

Unless you can absolutely guarantee
that your school leadership is adopting a “first do no harm” policy with sexuality education (and Mindfulness, for that matter), is regularly consulting with you and other parents in the school community, AND can guarantee that groups like Family Planning and Rainbow Youth aren’t being allowed access to the classroom to push their propaganda, then we would recommend withdrawing your child. ‘Hoping for the best’ may not be worth the risk!

But ultimately, we believe parents should be able to make an informed choice on what’s best for their child – and not be forced to cowtow to ideology being pushed by the State which is flawed and, in many cases, harmful.

Kind regards.

Bob McCoskrie
National Director



Needing help for your home schooling journey:


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

Information on getting started


Information on getting an exemption

This link is motivational:

Exemption Form online:


Record of Progress and Achievement

Exemption Form

“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.  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”.

At a recent meeting with Jim Greening (Group Manager, Schools and Student Support), Sonya Logan  (Manager, Student Engagement) and Lucy Ambrose (Senior Advisor, Learner Engagement) we talked about this. I asked them if the advice I give out to people is correct. This is what I like to tell people.

Forget about the ERO. Just get on with “teaching your child/ren as regular and well as a registered school”.

UNTIL you get the letter from the ERO informing you of a review. There are only 35 reviews budgetted for each year and the ERO has been doing far less than this over the last few years (14 last year).

Then DON’T start suddenly doing a whole lot of bookwork with your child/ren, carry on as you have been doing. This is the time for you, as the parent, to get prepared for the review. You will have roughly two weeks to prepare. Here is something I wrote up about this a few years ago which might be helpful: During this two week period there is plenty of time to write notes, collect photos, videos, samples of work etc, representing a “record of progress and achievement over time”.

They all nodded and said that this was a good and acceptable way to “keep a record of progress and achievement over time“.

Other helpful info on ERO reviews: 

NO MORE Home Schooling ERO REVIEWS!!!

What should we be doing now that there are no longer ERO reviews

Youtube short clip: Book: Preparing for an ERO Review

Here are a couple of booklets written by NZ authors to help you through your ERO Review


ERO boss, Graham Stoop, has resigned


Graham Stoop


MOVING ON: Education Review Office chief executive Graham Stoop has resigned.

Graham Stoop has resigned as chief review officer and chief executive of the Education Review Office (ERO).

Stoop is leaving to be graduate achievement, vocations and careers deputy secretary at the Ministry of Education.

He is on secondment to the ministry as the chair of the ministerial advisory group on the reform of the Teachers Council.

He will take up his new role on Monday.

Diana Anderson has been asked to remain as acting chief review officer until the the next steps are decided.


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:


This link is motivational:

Exemption Form online:

Coming Events:

Education Law in New Zealand

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 15 to go to school

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).

Special education


From the Smiths:

Updated  8 July 2012: Life for Those Left Behind (Craig Smith’s Health) page 6 click here


Needing help for your home schooling journey:


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


This link is motivational:

Home Educators meeting with the ERO and MoE 12 July 2011

Liaison Meeting
National Council of Home Educators NZ


Education Review Office

ERO office in Wellington, Tuesday 12 July 2011.


Present: Chris Close of Auckland Home Educators (AHE); Audrey Wells of NCHENZ & AHE; Nina Wright of Canterbury Home Educators (CHE); Paulette Fawcett of Christian Home Educating Families (CHEF); and Craig & Barbara Smith of Home Education Foundation (HEF). Jenny Clark, National Manager Public Affairs, ERO; Rob Williamson, Senior Review Officer, ERO; Ralph Lane, Senior Advisor, MoE.
Apologies: Penny Bilton of NCHENZ; Graeme Stoop, Chief Review Officer, ERO.
Jenny Clark opened the meeting at 11:01am by welcoming us all, offering cups of coffee and tea and passing round a plate of biscuits to accompany the water already on the table. She explained that Ralph Lane was there as an observer only. Mr Lane said he was happy to interact, take notes and discuss any issues he needed to with his MoE colleagues later on (and presumably get back to us).
We home educators had previously submitted a number of written questions for the agenda, and these were addressed first of all. Here are the questions, straight from the agenda with commentary added in italics according to the ensuing dialogue:
ERO issues :

1. Summary of reviews over the past year

Rob informed us that in the past 12 months only 16 reviews had taken place, despite being contracted for 30 reviews. 3 in the Nelson area, 3 in the Wanganui area and 10 in the Auckland area. The Auckland reviews comprised of only 3 families, one of 5 children, one of 4 and one of 1 child (adding up to 10). Of these, only one was found to be “not taught as regularly and well as in a registered school,” and this was in the Wanganui area. Reviews are only done upon request and all the requests come though Ralph Lane. They always send two reviewers around to do the review. Rob & Ralph both said they do point people who are being reviewed to local support groups.

Comments from Rob Williamson: He said the issue prompting the review is often a lifestyle issue more than a concern over academics. He reminded us of how broad the academic standards can be “since home educators are not required to follow the national curriculum.” When we reminded Rob of how there were no blanket reviews (just like today’s situation) from 1994 to 1999, he said that Brian Donnelly brought the blanket reviews back in at that time due to a need for some accountability for the home schooling allowance being paid out.
Comments from Ralph Lane: That most complaints sparking a review came as a result of a marriage split. He gets the complainant to write down all the information they can to make a case. Then he asks himself, “Is it urgent?” Then he’ll pass it on to the ERO. They can get referrals from Child,Youth and Families, but they only want educational information from them. Unless the complainant can come up with specific educational issues, Ralph tells them in effect to “go away.”

2. Christchurch Situation. – how do things stand for Christchurch post-earthquakes.? Rob said the ERO are not doing institutional reviews (of schools) unless the school is doing well and can cope given the post-earthquake situation.

– where they ERO at with physical location and reviews in Christchurch?

– what staff are covering our area currently?

– how serviced are Christchurch home educators?

– how many reviews have been done in Canterbury over the past year? Rob said there were recently two requests for reviews of home educators in the Canterbury area. He would encourage anyone having a review to agree to do it rather than refuse, for then he would need to put in a negative ERO Review Report, and “We really don’t want to put in a negative report.”

3. How will the merger of ERO with NZQA affect the review process – are the people being retained the ones with the knowledge and experience of reviewing homeschoolers?
MOE issues

1. Christchurch Situation.
– are Canterbury exemption applications being fast-tracked?

– what is the current turn around time?

– any increase in number of exemption applications recently?

– how firm is truancy surveillance in Canterbury at present? It was confirmed that truancy was back in full force in Canterbury: yes, children needed to be in school, if aged 6 or over, before parents submit an exemption. The Canterbury home educators present seemed to think things were clicking along nicely at present, earthquake issues notwithstanding.

2. What if parents change from what they originally wrote on their exemption applications? (Rob made some brilliant comments: “The application really is an intent. And that’s fine.” He mentioned how people will change from one approach to another, from one resource or curriculum to another, and said, “That’s what a good practitioner does.” “It’s low risk.”)
3. Are there any specific subjects that we need to include to make sure we get the exemption? Occasionally a parent will ring to say they were told they need to include ‘Social Studies’ or ‘Technology’. Ralph Lane said an MoE officer might suggest such topics should there appear to be a rather wide and significant gap in the curriculum as described in the application. It is his opinion that to teach “as well as in a registered school” means to touch on a similar topic base.

4. We understand that home educators may continue to be considered as home educators by the Ministry of Education when they go beyond their 16th birthdays, as long as they are still being ‘taught at least as regularly and well as in a registered school’, and that they may continue to receive the home education allowance, and that this may even include taking one or two papers a year with the NZ Correspondence School. Would all of this still hold true if, instead of taking papers with the NZ Correspondence School, the young person took classes at the local Polytech? Or with The Open Polytech? Or at a NZ University? This was a policy issue which Ralph Lane would need to look into.

5. Will the proposed overhaul of the MOE affect homeschoolers, and if so how? Jenny Clark said that they couldn’t really say, as these kinds of changes take place all the time. Just “wait until you hear” was her advice.


1. Purchasing tuition from the NZ Correspondence School for homeschooled teens, as Young Adults, from Term 1 of the year they turn 16, instead of on their birthday. There was some round table discussion on this question. Again, this is in the realm of policy which no one person can determine. Home educators were urged to present their ideas to the Correspondence School and the MoE. One of the ideas was that maybe home educators could even pay a proportion of the NZ Correspondence Fees. The fact that home educators were in a small class of their own, being exempted from both enrolment and attendance at registered schools, may be an angle of approach to create new policy in this area, especially since any policy change would only apply to this small group and not open the flood gates of the general population.
2. Retaining / securing affordable access to NCEA for home educated teens. Positive mention was made of how the Correspondence School had put NCEA material up on their website for access by earthquake affected people, and in fact all people. No one was sure if it was still available in this way. But to have it permanently available to home educators would be a policy decision Te Kura (The Correspondence School) would have to make, perhaps at the suggestion of home educators.
National Evaluations
Jenny Clark had copies of recent publications to hand out: “Literacy in Early Childhood Servidces: Teaching and Learning”; “Framework for School Reviewws”; “Evaluation Indicators for School Reviews”. She suggested these documents would help home educators understand how the ERO approaches the Review process and the kind of thing they’re looking for. She also mentioned a document that was to be posted on the ERO website shortly titled, “Directions for Learning” which was looking at the NZ Curriculum and exploring the idea of “teaching as enquiry.” She thought this also might be of some interest among home educators.
General Discussion.

1. A home educator brought up a question on the exemption application about timetables. Ralph Lane said they were after some indication of one’s programme in terms of a “timetable”, “however you want to explain it. What’s the plan for delivery?”
2. Chris Close said that in Auckland they do annual evenings with the MoE wherein people such as Steve McGregor and his manager Clare would explain the exemption process for enquirers.
3. Audrey Wells thanked the MoE for the statistics available on the Education Counts website.
4. Chris asked Ralph Lane if there were any questions or comments the MoE might have for us home educators. “Not that I can think of…Sometimes the applications are on the thin side.” He said the numbers of applications coming in do fluctuate according to the time of year. A couple of things he said he’d like to see on exemption applications are some indication of longer-term plans and an attempt to match progress with National Standards. Then Ralph Lane said it would be good if exemption applicants would contact people such as us first so that their exemptions could be accepted first time around, without the MoE having to send them back for more information.
The meeting broke up very amicably right on 12 noon.


Extra comments from Craig on the ERO and MoE meeting 12 July 2011