May 8, 2021

Draft Exemption Application Comments

We have until the end of this month, November 2004, to make submissions on the Ministry of Education’s Draft Exemption Application Form. The??Privacy Statement ?? the MoE has included on this form is, in my opinion, totally unacceptable. (See my comments below under point 8 of section III, Bad things about the Draft Application Form.) Please consider writing a submission on this Application Form to the MoE’s Kay Phillips today!Below is my take on the Draft Exemption Application in a condensed form. Lengthier comments appeared in the TEACH Bulletin 82 of June 2004, the monthly legislative/political/educational trends update newsletter published by the Home Education Foundation. The material below also appeared in TEACH Bulletin 86 of October 2004.

    I. Background
    II. Good things about the Draft Application Form
    III. Bad things about the Draft Application Form

I. BackgroundThe MoE proposed some changes to the exemption application form at the end of June this year. A few draft copies of these proposed changes
leaked out with the covering note that the changes were to be finalised by the end of that week. When it was found that the MoE had not widely consulted with home educators regarding these changes, as previous MoE staff had always assured us they would do, the MoE was flooded with hundreds of prickly emails, MPs were alerted and even the media took an interest.

The MoE relented somewhat and re-drafted the changes (that is, they actually went to the trouble to write a new draft exemption application form ??.it would seem the prickly emails had an effect!) They said they’d receive submissions on this new draft from home education organisations (implying they did not want to hear from individuals) until the end of September. Then they changed it to the end of October. The latest is that they’ll receive submissions until the end of this month, November. So we need to act now! (Lengthy comments on this draft were printed in TEACH Bulletin 82, June 2004.)

The Education Act 1989, Section 21 states that the MoE may exempt a person from the compulsory enrolment required in law??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. ??

II. Good things about the Draft Application Form(These comments are condensed and, after much further thought, different in places to my earlier comments as they appeared in TEACH Bulletin 82.)

1. The covering information letter now clarifies that a request for additional information is not a refusal of the exemption.

2. They’ve added that local support groups may be able to help one prepare for an ERO review.

3. They make no change to 3.2.3.2????Describe your knowledge and understanding of the broad curriculum areas you intend to cover as you educate your child. ?? While the language is sometimes unfamiliar to those outside the school system, it is clear and acknowledges in the phrase??you intend to cover ?? that the home educator is not obliged to follow the National Curriculum Framework (NCF).

4. Statement 3.2.3.3:??Outline what you intend to cover with your child in different areas of your stated curriculum ?? would seem to help elicit the kind of information MoE offices are looking for; the kind of information that most often causes applications to be sent back to parents with a request for more information. It is simply asking to flesh out the broad curriculum areas a bit.

5. They’ve stated in 3.2.3.3 that the NCF is not compulsory but is included only as a guide.

6. Statement 3.2.3.4 about teaching methods:
??3.2.3.4 Teaching methods?? It is also important to explain how you intend to teach your child, by outlining your method(s) of teaching for each subject area. This does not require you to give a detailed description of every method used in every lesson. An overview of some of the usual methods you may employ is sufficient. ?? This seems very reasonable and addresses clearly and directly what the Act requires: an assessment of teaching.

7. The statement that a sample timetable is required was dropped.

8. Definitions of regular and well in Appendix A are brilliant: account is made of maturity level and ability of child and total avoidance of any reference to learning outcomes, accurately reflecting the concerns of the Act.

III. Bad things about the Draft Application Form1. Although the??updating information ?? statement in the Information Letter that accompanies the exemption applications has been used for a few years already, it says,??From time to time you may be asked to provide the MoE with an update of your homeschooling programme. ?? Theoretically this could amount to a whole new exemption application. It raises the issue of the MoE’s interpretation of Section 21 of the Education Act that they need to be not just??satisfied ?? but satisfied on an on-going basis. Perhaps it is time home educators challenge this interpretation by the MoE. Once the exemption is issued, according to the Act, the child is exempt until he turns 16 or until the MoE revokes the exemption. Revoking the exemption can only happen after an ERO review. There is no provision in the Act for??updates ??, so we should object to them.

2. Statement 3.2.3.1 says:??Describe your child’s educational needs. ?? This request is far too ambiguous, subjective and personal as well as being outside what is required by Section 21 of the Act. It should therefore be dropped.

3. Statement 3.2.3.1 on special needs is unclear. It says:??3.2.3.1 Needs – Describe your child’s educational needs. Please describe any special educational needs of your child. The Ministry of Education Group Special Education can assist you if assistance is appropriate and sought by you. ?? The original first draft the MoE came up with had what seems to be a sufficient statement that also alerted applicants to the fact that the Act specifically addresses the exemption of children with special needs. The statement read,??In accordance with S21(1)(b) of the Education Act 1989 please describe any special educational needs of your child including a special education assessment and report if applicable. ?? We reckon the MoE should adopt this statement in place of the present statement 3.2.3.1.

4. The final part of statement 3.2.3.3 reads,??you should be specific about the skills you want your child to learn and you should be clear about the maturity level and abilities of your child in relation to your curriculum ?? and is fishing for information which is not needed to satisfy the Act’s requirements that the child be??taught at least as regularly and well as in a registered school. ?? Learning outcomes do not need to be specified; maturity levels and abilities do not need to be described. This should be dropped, for it is the teaching, not the learning, which is being assessed in the application.

5. Although Statement 3.2.6 saying,??Describe study area in the home ?? ?? has been there for many years, it is superfluous and unnecessary as it is outside the requirements of Section 21 of the Act. It should be dropped.

6. Statement 3.2.8 about social contact has also been there for years and is still as irrelevant to and totally outside of the requirements of Section 21 of the Act as ever. It is time to drop it.

7. The first part of statement 3.2.8 has been there for years????Outline how you are going to assess and evaluate the progress your child is making ???? but needs to be dropped as it is the teaching, not the learning that is being assessed and evaluated. The second part, newly added in this draft????Please include how you will also evaluate your teaching methods ???? is accurately addressing the concerns of the Act: evaluating the teaching. But the final phrase,??in terms of your children’s learning ?? is again outside the Act’s requirements and should be dropped.

8. The exemption application includes a privacy statement that I personally consider unacceptable. It says,??The personal information collected by the Ministry on this form is for the purposes of assessing your application for exemption from enrolment at a registered school. The information collected may be used by or disclosed to other agencies, such as the ERO, the principal of your child’s school or (in the case of a child who has never attended school) the Public Health Nurse, for these purposes. Your information will not be disclosed to any other person or agency unless it is authorised or required by law. ??

I’ve written to Kay Phillips of the MoE in August, September and again in October asking more pointed questions about this privacy statement each time. No replies at all so far. Here are my latest questions:

A) Is the MoE authorised by law to pass on this information to either principals or to public health nurses? Is it a blanket authorisation or restricted to certain instances? Please refer me to the exact statute, section and sub-sections that give the MoE this legal authorisation.B) Can you please confirm or correct my understanding that the reason the MoE may pass on this information to a principal or a public health nurse is to flush out any suspicions the principal or health nurse may have in regards to the family making the exemption application?

C) How, specifically, does personal information collected by the MoE in the exemption application further the purpose of assessing the application by being passed on to the Public Health Nurse? How does the Public Health Nurse help the MoE assess whether the child will be taught at least as regularly and well as in a registered school?

I don’t think it wise for us home educators to let this kind of information passing become established without some clear answers from the MoE as to whether they even have the legal right to do it.

The MoE will receive submissions until the end of November. I’ve given a few ideas above as to what the issues are and how one might like to respond. Post your submissions to Kay Phillips,
kay.phillips@minedu.govt.nz PO Box 1666, Wellington.
She should also provide you with a copy of the draft exemption application. Or you can view it by clicking the link below.

The Draft Application Form

The Draft Pack

Draft Exemption Application

DRAFT SECTION 3: Applications

3.1 INFORMATION LETTER TO PARENTS
(date)Dear Parent/Caregiver

Kia ora. Nga mihi nui ki a koe.

Thank you for your request for information on homeschooling for your child. I enclose an application form for your use should you decide to apply.

The Education Act 1989 There are no changes to this section.

In New Zealand it is the right of all children to have an education. Sections 20 and 25 of the Education Act 1989 state that children between the ages of 6 and 16 must at all times be enrolled at and attending a registered school whenever it is open.

However, you as parents/guardians have the right to apply for a certificate of exemption from enrolment at a registered school for your child under section 21 of the same Act.

Please remember that until this certificate is issued your child, if aged over 6 years, must be enrolled at and attending a registered school.

Certificate of Exemption

There are two changes to this section.

    1. Feedback from applicants indicates that some have regarded a request for more information as a rejection of the application. The added sentence clarifies the situation.2. The word??refused’ has been replaced by??declined’.

When your application and information statement have been received by the Ministry of Education, the Manager or a designated Ministry Officer will decide if the application shows that the child will be taught ??at least as regularly and well ?? as in a registered school. If they need further information they may write to you, telephone you or ask to see you. It is important to understand that asking for additional information is common practice in assessing applications for exemption, and should not be interpreted as a rejection.

On approval of your application you will receive a certificate of exemption and you may begin homeschooling your child.

If you are declined a certificate of exemption you will receive a letter explaining the reason for the decision. You have the right to seek a review of this decision. To request a review you should write to the Secretary for Education who, after considering a report on the matter from the Chief Review Officer of the Education Review Office (ERO), will confirm the decision or grant a certificate. The Secretary’s decision is final.

Change of Circumstances

The words??you will need to’ have been replaced by??should’ to be consistent with what follows in the paragraph.

You should write to the Ministry of Education if circumstances change after a certificate of exemption has been issued. You should write if you have a local change of address or if you move to another part of the country. You should also write if you decide to enrol your child at school, as your certificate of exemption will lapse at this point.

Homeschooling Supervision Allowance and Statutory Declarations

Two sentences have been added to this section. The sentences explain why all homeschoolers need to provide twice-yearly statutory declarations and who can sign them.

The homeschooling supervision allowance is paid in January and July each year, and covers the preceding six months. The first payment for a child new to homeschooling will cover the period since the date of the issue of the certificate of exemption. Payment is subject to confirmation that you continue to meet the requirements under which the certificate of exemption was given. This confirmation is by way of a statutory declaration to be provided twice each year.

Even if you do not wish to receive the supervision allowance you must complete a statutory declaration twice each year. This assures the Ministry that homeschooling is continuing.

The statutory declaration needs to be signed by a Justice of the Peace. (On the statutory declaration there is a description of who qualifies as a Justice of the Peace).

The annual amounts paid are:

    First child $743
    Second child $623
    Third Child $521
    Subsequent children $372

The Education Review Office

Three changes have been made to this section.

    1. A phrase has been inserted to the first sentence to indicate the wider role the ERO has.2. Applicants are advised in a new sentence that they do not need to forward applications to the ERO.

    3. A concluding sentence has been added to this section making applicants aware that local homeschooling groups may be able to offer assistance.

The Education Review Office (ERO) monitors schooling in New Zealand including homeschooling programmes. Before visiting you, an ERO staff member will contact you to provide information about the visit and arrange an appropriate time. Please note that to assist the ERO to perform its role, the Ministry will provide the ERO with a copy of your application. You are not required to provide the ERO with a separate copy.
You may like to contact one of your local support groups for more information about how to prepare for an ERO review.

Updating Information

Three sentences have been added summarising why updates might be required and assuring applicants that such requests are rare.

From time to time you may be asked to provide the Ministry of Education with an update of your homeschooling programme. This will need to take into account the changing educational needs of your child. This is intended to assure the Ministry that you are able to continue to provide an educational programme appropriate to the age and needs of your child.

Requests for updated information are rare and might arise where a review by the ERO has not occurred within the usual expected cycle. In the normal course of events an update will not be sought.

Healthcare Services

Two sentences have been added to this section referring applicants to a reliable source of information.

Your child is entitled to the same services as children attending registered schools, such as health nurse, dental, hearing and vision services. Queries regarding health services (e.g. access to dental nurses) should be directed to local health providers. The Ministry of Education is not able to advise on healthcare services and it is important that parents seek information where it might be reliably found.

Special Needs

This section is new. It is intended to alert applicants to assistance that may be available if they wish to access it, and indicates that this is optional.

If your child has special needs they may be entitled to additional resources. There is no requirement to apply for or access resources to meet special educational needs. You may or may not choose to seek support.

There are no changes to this paragraph.
Homeschooling can be satisfying and rewarding. It is also a tremendous commitment for you as a parent. If you need more information before making an application, please contact staff at this office.

Yours sincerely

(name)
(job title)

3.2 MAKING AN APPLICATION

Before deciding to apply, there are a number of things you should consider.

Reference is made to Application Appendix A in this section to show where the information may be found.

3.2.1 The Education Act 1989 says that the Secretary for Education must be satisfied that your child will be taught at least as regularly and well as in a registered school. This is to protect the rights of your child to an education. The information you provide with your application should be detailed enough to satisfy this requirement. To help you in your application, you will find enclosed (Application Appendix A) an explanation of the Ministry’s interpretation of the key words??at least as regularly and well as in a registered school ??, referred to above.

Reference is made to Application Appendix B and Application Appendix C in this section to show where the information may be found.

3.2.2 If you decide to go ahead with an application, please complete the personal details required on the enclosed form. Attached as Application Appendix B are some notes to help you to complete the question on ethnicity. In support of your application please provide the information which is outlined as follows. The information is needed to assist the Ministry of Education in making an informed decision on issuing a certificate of exemption from enrolment.
A checklist is also included for your convenience (Application Appendix C).

3.2.3 Broad Curriculum Areas

This subsection (3.2.3.1) is new. It is intended to prompt applicants to consider whether a child has special needs and to alert applicants to assistance that is available should they wish to access it. (This is an existing requirement under the Act?? section 21(1)(b)(ii).)

3.2.3.1 Needs – Describe your child’s educational needs. Please describe any special educational needs of your child. The Ministry of Education Group Special Education can assist you if assistance is appropriate and sought by you.

There have been no changes to this subsection (3.2.3.2).
3.2.3.2 Knowledge and understanding – Describe your knowledge and understanding of the broad curriculum areas you intend to cover as you educate your child.

This subsection (3.2.3.3) is rewritten to make the matter of curriculum clear to applicants and adds reference to the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA).

    1. It shows that the National Curriculum Framework is an option available.2. It summarises the National Curriculum Framework for applicants who wish to know what it covers.

    3. Applicants who will be homeschooling a student of secondary school age are prompted, if they wish, to consider NCEA. The wording of this new part of the application applies only if it is relevant to a particular application. It is only relevant if an application refers to a student of secondary school age intending to pursue NCEA unit standards. Five year olds do not study NCEA-level topics so for them, and any other students of primary school age, it is not relevant. The Ministry is available to provide advice and guidance in this case, if it is sought.

3.2.3.3 Curriculum – Describe your curriculum. Outline what you intend to cover with your child in different areas of your stated curriculum.

The National Curriculum Framework may serve as a guide but use of this is not compulsory. It lists seven essential learning areas and eight groupings of essential skills. These are listed below for your information should you wish to use the National Curriculum Framework as a guide.

Essential Learning AreasLanguage and Languages
Mathematics
Science
Technology
Social Sciences
The Arts
Health and Well-Being (Hauora)

Essential Skills

Communication skills
Numeracy skills
Information skills
Problem-solving skills
Self-management and competitive skills
Social and co-operative skills
Physical skills
Work and study skills

For students at senior secondary level, list and comment on the delivery of the subjects your child will be studying.

Note how any relevant National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) requirements will be met. Should your child not be pursuing NCEA, simply state that this is the case. NCEA is unlikely to be relevant to primary age students. Consequently applications for primary-aged students do not require any reference to NCEA.

Whatever source of curriculum guidance you select, you should be specific about the skills you want your child to learn and you should be clear about the maturity level and abilities of your child in relation to your curriculum.

This subsection (3.2.3.4) is new. Within the current application pack it is included under the heading??Plan’. It is intended to prompt applicants to consider their teaching methods more clearly and to include reference to these in their application, removing the need for Ministry staff to follow up should this information not be included.
3.2.3.4 Teaching methods?? It is also important to explain how you intend to teach your child, by outlining your method(s) of teaching for each subject area. This does not require you to give a detailed description of every method used in every lesson. An overview of some of the usual methods you may employ is sufficient.

There are no changes to this section (3.2.4).

3.2.4 Plan

To help the Ministry understand how your curriculum vision translates into practical terms, we ask you to include a description of how you would approach the teaching of one topic of your choosing.
We are looking for the following elements in your statement:

The Topic Title
The Aim
– what you are going to teach your child
Resources – what materials you would use to teach the topic
Method – what steps would you take to communicate/teach the
material to your child (please be as clear as possible)
Evaluation – how you will test/measure the effectiveness of your teaching.

There are no changes to this section (3.2.5).

3.2.5 Resources and Reference Material

Please provide a comprehensive list of all resources and reference material available to you. Also list the type of material you may intend to include in the future.

There are no changes to this section (3.2.6).

3.2.6 Study Area

Describe the work/study area(s) in the home where the major part of the child’s homeschooling will take place.

There are no changes to this section (3.2.7).

3.2.7 Environment

State how you will use the environment and your community to extend and enrich your child’s education. Please include in this a description of any educational visits you hope to make.

There are no changes to this section (3.2.8).

3.2.8 Social Contact

Describe how you intend to provide for your child’s needs for wide social contact with others.

A sentence has been added to this section (3.2.9) to highlight??evaluation’. An evaluation is the conclusion about learning progress that might be drawn from an assessment. An evaluation may be a statement for an applicant’s own information about how effective teaching has been and what will be the next step.

3.2.9 Assessment and Evaluation

Outline how you are going to assess and evaluate the progress your child is making. Please include how you will also evaluate your teaching methods in terms of your children’s learning.
There are no changes to this section (3.2.10).

3.2.10 Regularity

The legislation requires a commitment to regularity. In explaining your routines, show how you will meet the requirement that your child will be taught at least as regularly as in a registered school.

There are no changes to this section (3.2.11).

3.2.11 Other Information

Please make any other comments you consider relevant.

This section (3.2.12) has been added to alert applicants to sources of information and assistance that are available should they wish to seek help.

3.2.12 Advice and guidance

Many groups and organisations of homeschoolers operate throughout New Zealand. They are able to provide assistance and support to homeschooling parents in many ways. To find out about such groups, the World Wide Web (using searchwords such as homeschooling nz) or your local telephone book are likely to provide contact details.

A local Ministry of Education office can also provide advice and guidance. You may wish to contact a member of the Student Support team in an office near you.

Local Offices are:

Whangarei (09) 430 4910
Auckland (09) 374 5400
Hamilton (07) 858 7130
Rotorua (07) 349 7399
Napier (06) 833 6730
Wanganui (06) 349 6300
Lower Hutt (04) 463 8699
Nelson (03) 546 3470
Christchurch (03) 364 3330
Dunedin (03) 471 5200
Invercargill (03) 211 3610

There have been four changes to the Application Form.

    1. The application form has been reformatted for ease of reading.
    2. A new statement regarding delegation of teaching has been inserted to assist Ministry staff. Where some teaching is to be delegated to a known provider that has been shown in the past to be reliable, an application may be processed with more ease.
    3. A Privacy Statement has been included. This makes applicants aware of why information is collected on the form and how information may be used.
    4. A section on??at least as regularly and well’ has been removed. This is already covered in Application Appendix A.

Page 1 of 2

3.3 APPLICATION FOR EXEMPTION FROM ENROLMENT AT A REGISTERED SCHOOL
(A separate application is required for each child)
NB: To give proof of identity, a copy of the child’s birth certificate should accompany this form
NAME OF CHILD

First Name _________________ Family Name _________________________ male/female

Date of Birth _______________ Present Year Level _________________________

Present School ________________________________________________________

Planned date to begin homeschooling ______________________________________

Ethnic identity (for statistical records only) __________________________________

FULL NAME OF PARENT(S)/GUARDIAN(S)

Mr/Mrs/Ms First Name ___________________ Family Name _________________________

Mr/Mrs/Ms First Name ___________________ Family Name _________________________

Home Address ______________________________________________________________

Telephone No.(home)______________(Business) _________________ ( Mobile) _____________________________________

Fax: ______________________________ E-mail:__________________________________

Postal Address if different from above ___________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

I have received help in compiling this application. YES/NO

I intend to delegate some teaching responsibility. YES/NO

(If YES to either or both of the above, please state briefly the nature of the assistance and/or delegation.)

Page 2 of 2

NAMES OF OTHER CHILDREN IN THE HOME WHO HAVE A CERTIFICATE OF EXEMPTION

Names Date Certificate Issued

_________________________________ ____________________________________

_________________________________ ____________________________________

Signature(s) of Parent(s)/Guardian(s) If making application as guardians, state relationship to child.
________________________________ _______________________________

________________________________ _______________________________

Date ____________________________ (Proof of Guardianship is required.)

PRIVACY STATEMENTThe personal information collected by the Ministry on this form is for the purposes of assessing your application for exemption from enrolment at a registered school.

The information collected may be used by or disclosed to other agencies, such as the Education Review Office, the principal of your child’s current school or (in the case of a child who has never attended school) the Public Health Nurse, for these purposes. Your information will not be disclosed to any other person or agency unless it is authorised or required by law.

The information about your child’s ethnicity is for statistical purposes and will not be published in a form that could identify an individual.

The Ministry of Education will hold the information collected and you have the right under the Privacy Act to request access to and correction of this information.

Please return this form and the information statement to the Student Support Manager, Ministry of Education, at [name] office, [address].

The word??will’ has been replaced by??is likely to’ in this section.

Application Appendix A

??AT LEAST AS REGULARLY AND WELL’
The only official statement about what is required of homeschooling parents is that contained in Section 21 (1) (b) of the Education Act 1989, i.e. the child must be??taught at least as regularly and well as in a registered school ??. The Ministry is required to be??satisfied ?? of this before issuing a certificate of exemption from enrolment in a registered school.

The following is intended to help you to understand how the Ministry of Education interprets the wording of the Act.

  • The homeschooling situation can provide an opportunity for a more flexible approach to organisation than that which is likely to operate in the average school. Nevertheless, the Act requires you to teach your children??at least as regularly…. as in a registered school. ?? Homeschooling applications should, therefore, provide evidence of a commitment to certain routines appropriate to the maturity level and abilities of the child and should outline these. This is because the Ministry is concerned to know that regularity extends to the treatment of elements within your stated curriculum. It would be helpful to provide a specific timetable for a typical week, or you may describe your organisational routines in sufficient detail to enable the Ministry to assess the regularity of your programme. However, unsupported statements such as??John will let us know what he wants to study ?? are not acceptable.
  • Section 35A of the Act (which deals with the registration of private schools) says that one of the elements necessary to ensure registration is the existence of a suitable curriculum. To indicate that you will teach your child??at least as well as in a registered school ?? you must, therefore, communicate to the Ministry something of your curriculum vision. Your statement should be more than an overview – it should give some indication of issues that will be addressed in different areas of your stated curriculum. Some people will want to use a commercially prepared course of some kind. There is no problem with this but it is likely to be insufficient if your application simply says,??We will be following such and such a course. ?? You will need to show that you at least know where the course is taking you. It is not possible, of course, for the Ministry to judge the quality of your teaching in advance, but Ministry officers will look for some evidence of the planning and balance that we would expect to be a feature of curriculum organisation in any registered school. ??Iwi’ has been inserted into this section.

    Application Appendix B

    ETHNIC IDENTITY?? NOTES FOR PARENTS

    Like all Government Departments, the Ministry of Education collects information related to ethnicity for statistical purposes. In collecting information we are required to comply with the Statistics New Zealand standard classification of ethnicity. The codes for the items in the standard classification are shown below.
    CodeDescription
    EUR – NZ European/European/Pakeha
    NZM – New Zealand Maori- Iwi: ________________________
    SAM – Samoan
    COO – Cook Island Maori
    TON – Tongan
    NIU – Niuean
    TOK – Tokelauan
    FIJ – Fijian
    OPI – Other Pacific Island
    CHI – Chinese
    IND – Indian
    OAS – Other Asian
    OGR – Other Groups
    When completing the question on the application form, please use the appropriate code to show the ethnic group with which your child identifies. (If your child identifies with more than one group please put the main group first). This information will not be published in a form that could identify the individual concerned.
    There have been two changes to this section.

      1.??Broad Curriculum Areas’ has been removed. This has been replaced by the first four items in the checklist making the checklist a more comprehensive and therefore useful tool for applicants.2. Applicants are prompted to advise the principal of a school that a student may be attending, that the student may be about to leave to be homeschooled. This is to safeguard applicants from the possibility that a school may refer a non-attending student to a truancy service. Advice to the principal ensures that, once an application is approved, the student is able to leave the school without any further need for the school to be involved.

    Application Appendix C

    CHECKLIST FOR HOMESCHOOLING APPLICATION
    Please feel free to use this checklist when completing your application to make sure that all the necessary elements of your application have been included.

        • Child’s needs have been described
        • Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the broad Curriculum
        • Curriculum coverage for the first year has been described
        • Teaching methods described
        • Plan
        • Resources
        • Study Areas
        • Use of Environment and community resources
        • Social contact
        • Assessment of progress
        • Regularity
        • Application form completed
        • Copy of Birth Certificate
        • Principal notified of your intention to homeschool (in the case of children currently enrolled in a school).

Draft Exemption Application

2014

 

Needing help for your home schooling journey:

 

https://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 startedhttps://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

 

and

 

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

 

This link is motivational: https://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: https://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/

2012

Are you looking for information to help you fill out your exemption form? Check out this link: https://hef.org.nz/exemptions/ )

*******

2004

The following is a letter from Kay Phillips regarding the proposed changes to the exemption application pack.

7 July 2004

Dear Homeschooler

Thank you for your recent email/s concerning improvements to the application form and information pack provided to people seeking an exemption from enrolment at school under section 21 of the Education Act 1989. Some of you have expressed concern regarding these proposed improvements.

Any changes proposed are intended to make the process easier for applicants and to hasten the process of applying. This is something that homeschoolers have requested and is also based on Ministry of Education experience in processing applications.

There is no policy change nor a policy review. Neither is there any intention to change policy through this process. Changes are being proposed for administrative clarity or to provide information, and apply only to new applications.

Attached is a draft of the application pack. This draft has been reformatted and reworded in part, to clarify for applicants what should be included in an application. To assist you, proposed changes are shown underlined, with explanatory comment in bold italics. Some changes have been made to the formatting to make the pack easier to read. These changes have not been noted.

Should you have any suggestions to improve the clarity of the form and pack, please make these known to a homeschooling organisation with which you are associated. We will be seeking collective collated feedback from each of those organisations by Friday 27 August. As there are many homeschooling organisations expressing very diverse views, you will understand that it may not be possible to accept all your suggestions

Thank you for your interest in this matter.

Yours sincerely
Kay Phillips
Team Leader Student Support
National Operations

MoE Policy Letter

MoE Policy Letter Comments
Home educators have met with MoE staff to talk about the MoE’s Draft Exemption Application in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland with mixed results. A common problem is that the MoE staff, understandably, has a difficult time seeing things from our perspective. They are mystified why we would get so worked up over the wording of an exemption application form. But when this form is the only point of contact between us as parents and the MoE, and when the MoE has the power to force our children out of our homes, thoroughly disrupting our family’s chosen lifestyle, by the mere stroke of a pen, by some subjective judgment by a total stranger to our families as to how well we relate educationally to our own children ??.when this happens, is it really any mystery why we get so excited about proposed changes to this exemption application form? No, it is not. The real mystery is how we home educators have managed to remain so calm and collected.But then the MoE sent out a letter to many home educators. Our family received one from Kay Phillips at MoE head office and also one from the Minister of Education himself, Trevor Mallard. This letter clearly sets out the MoE’s new policy in regards to how it proposes to deal with home educators from here onwards.

This one letter raised a large number of fearful and contentious issues. The letter can be viewed by clicking below
Letter from Trevor Mallard I’ll only deal with two issues raised by this letter, as I’ve dealt with it at length in TEACH Bulletin 83 of July 2004. The material below also appeared in TEACH Bulletin 86 of October 2004.I. Safe SurroundingsThe letter says,??Homeschoolers and the Ministry share a common interest in ensuring all students given an exemption from regular schooling are successfully educated and that this occurs in safe surroundings. ??

My questions (asked of the MoE in August, September and October with no reply as yet) are:

What the MoE means by??safe surroundings ???
Do they plan to assess our homes to see if they comply?
Does the MoE has any legal authority to make such enquiries into private residencies?

II. Divide and ConquerThe letter further states:??The direction of education policy in NZ and elsewhere is seeing much greater transparency and focus on outcomes?? broadly defined?? and a greater focus on what constitutes effective learning and how it is supported in a range of different contexts ??None of this seeks to convey any sense of curriculum regulation but highlights the need for homeschoolers, the Education Review Office and the Ministry to progressively develop greater shared understandings about learning outcomes and other dimensions of quality. ??

It seems clear the MoE is now planning to focus on learning outcomes, an area which, according to Section 21 of the Education Act, is outside the MoE’s legitimate sphere of enquiry in regards to exempted students. I have written the following questions to the MoE (no response to date):

    • a. The MoE’s own working definition of??well ?? in its Home Schooling Desk File cautiously steers clear of learning outcomes;
      b. Section 21 of the Education Act only requires that the child be??taught at least as regularly and well as in a registered school ?? and makes no reference to learning outcomes; and
      c. On page eight of the Report of the Education and Science Select Committee, which was presented to Parliament on 12 February 1998, we find the following statement:??This position raised for us [members of the Parliamentary Science and Education Select Committee] how well taught home schooled children might be in comparison with those in state schools. The [Education Review] office advised us that there was no statutory requirement for any child to be well taught. ??
  • 1. Could you please confirm or correct my understanding that the MoE is now planning to focus on or inquire into learning outcomes among exempted students?
    2. Could you please explain why home educators??need ?? to sit down with the MoE and the ERO to??develop greater shared understandings about learning outcomes ?? given the following:

    3. Could you please confirm or correct my understanding that the MoE is hoping home educators will voluntarily join the MoE and ERO in formulating a shared understanding of learning outcomes?
    4. Could you also please confirm or correct my understanding that there is no statutory requirement for home educators to join the MoE and ERO in this way or for this purpose?
    5. Could you please confirm or correct my understanding that once these shared understandings of learning outcomes are formulated, the MoE is hoping that home educators will voluntarily submit to being assessed according to these learning outcomes?

My concern is that some home educators will think it is great that we apparently are being invited to sit down with the MoE and ERO and together hammer out some shared understandings. I fear that these could become a list of outcomes some home educators voluntarily agree to abide by on behalf of all other home educators present and future, even when there is no statutory requirement to do so. My fear is that this kind of thing could be used by the MoE to divide and conquer home educators. We must respect and vigorously defend each other’s uniqueness and not expect other families to adopt our standards nor try to use the state’s power to force fellow home educators to conform to ways with which we happen to agree.One argument in favour of establishing agreed upon??standards ?? or??outcomes ??, arguments even put forward by home educators, says that??illiterate ?? and??intellectually incapable ?? parents surely cannot be allowed to home educate.

My immediate question is: Who decides whether the parents are either of these things? There are plenty of people who would say I am not intellectually capable because I believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. Looking at the track record of the NZ state school system which has contributed to the fact that today 46% of adult NZers are barely literate,1 I personally will not accept any ruling on literacy by the MoE.

Listen to an experienced NZ home educating mum answer this argument:

I think there are two issues raised. The first is which is more important: academics or character? While no one likes to think that a home educated child would end up illiterate because his parents cannot or can barely read or write, it’s happening all the time in the case of children who have spent 11 years in school. But what’s more tragic is that the character of these children is either stunted or in complete tatters. Had these children been left at home to be caring, hard-working members of a family and of a community, they could still be salt-of-the-earth, productive citizens, despite the considerable handicap of not being able to read nor write. I venture to suggest that, had their parents been allowed to home educate them, both the parents and the children would have ended up with a higher standard of literacy than in the situation where the exemption was declined and the child is sentenced to 10 years of social destruction.On principle, I’d be more focused on the parents’ willingness to be a family and to help their children than on the standard of their literacy. In no way do I want to denigrate the importance of literacy. However, I have two children who only just get by as far as reading is concerned, and really struggle with writing, but are able to hold down jobs admirably and are productive members of society. And one of them has more wisdom and focus than many academics. Wisdom and usefulness are not dependent on academics.

The second issue is the vexed question, Whose children are they? The state has no right to refuse caring parents the right to bring up and train their children at home. If the law implies that it does, then there is something far wrong either with the law or with the bureaucrats’ interpretation of the law. It’s past time the state knew its place and got its meddling nose out of our families. If it has handicapped parents by sending them into the world illiterate, should it then have the??responsibility ?? of ruining their families too? Our children are our responsibility, not the state’s.

Another argument, also from a NZ home educating mum:

I think of my teenaged daughter applying for an exemption for her future children. She’d be a lovely responsible mother who would certainly make up for the years she lost by learning diligently along with her children. And she’d teach them the value of hard work and right priorities, and wouldn’t put up with nonsense. But she’d find it well nigh impossible to fill in their stupid exemption form to the MoE’s satisfaction, and she might be faced with the agony of seeing her children forced to go to an institution, knowing that it was an institution of this kind which compromised her learning and her social and spiritual development. And I think of certain HErs liaising with the MoE, nodding their heads wisely when the MoE insisted that unless you had the academic ability to fill out this application (which has people with university degrees scratching their heads), you shouldn’t be considered fit to home educate. And I think of other HErs who want the fence to be made higher for the sake of the home education public image. When I think of these things, I feel really alarmed.

It seems there are many dangers with wanting to collaborate with the MoE and ERO. The main danger is compromising a principle which seems far too important and precious for us parents to compromise: the education and training of our children is the responsibility of us parents, not that of the state. Collaborating with state agencies immediately lets them in the door; it lets them put a hand on the steering wheel, it allows huge state agencies on-going advisory input into running private family affairs. Why is that bad? Because state agencies by definition push political agendas: political agendas care nothing for private families but only for conformity to their ideology. If their agenda for your children is different from yours, you will be the one forced to concede. Resist now while we have the opportunity.Note:

National Curriculum guidelines

Here is a letter from the Ministry saying Home Educators do not need to follow the National Curriculum Guidelines, the list of subjects on the Exemption Application. Use them if you like, but you are free to change them around to quite an extent. Dennis Hughes and Derek Miller of the Ministry of Education in Wellington answered the following question for me on 15 June 2000:

Question: Are any of the National Curriculum objectives required for home educators in order to get their exemptions? My understanding is that none of them are?

Answer: You are correct. There is no requirement that homeschoolers follow the National Curriculum. The only requirement is that homeschooling students are taught ‘at least as regularly and well as in a registered school.’

The Ministry’s interpretation of this phrase is contained in the statement which forms part of the information pack that accompanies the homeschooling application form. Among other things, this says that. Ministry officers will look for some evidence of planning and balance that we would expect would be a feature of curriculum organisation in any registered school.

The National Curriculum is useful to the Ministry as a standard reference when determining whether a homeschooler’s programme is a balanced one. Homeschooling offers an opportunity for greater organisational flexibility than is possible in many schools, and Ministry staff would normally be understanding if a homeschooler adopts a holistic approach to curriculum management. But if, for example, a homeschooling programme gives free reign to a student’s interest in computer-related studies but appears to give limited time to the development of communications skills and physical skills, then a Ministry official would be right to ask for a more balanced programme.

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