August 18, 2022

Preparing for an ERO Review by Craig Smith

Revised edition – October 2008

Preparing for an ERO Review by Craig Smith

New Zealand Home Educator’s Guidebook

Twenty A5 pages of insightful and helpful comment on the imminent arrival of the Review Officer. Chapters include: Overall Strategies, What They”re Looking For, What if You”ve Changed Curriculum, Access to Children, Home or Neutral Venue, Coping with a Negative Report, etc.

Revised edition includes having a review from an unschoolers perspective plus more.

To order do one of the following:

send email to with visa number

post cheque or visa number to PO Box 9064, Palmerston North

fax: 06 357-4389

phone: 06 357-4399

Trademe (fees added):

Sella (No added fees):

Planning, recording and not worrying about the ERO-Wednesday, Oct 15 at 7:30 pm

This meeting will be operating on the KISS principle ie keep it short and
simple. We will be discussing ideas to make life easier for homeschooling
parents by doing some advance preparation and putting into practice some
very simple ideas which make having a review no big deal.

The meeting will take place on Wednesday, Oct 15 at 7:30 pm,

163 Hinemoa St, Birkenhead. (Please park on the road.)

If you would like to come please email at jduthie [at] with your
name and phone number.

If you have any queries please phone 480-6878.

The ideas being discussed will definitely be helpful for anyone applying for
an exemption.

MoE/ERO Reviews

Some-one asked on hefnetnz and Trademe Message Board

“Is it TRUE that the MoE have decided to review every home schooled child in the next 12 months?”

Here is Craig’s answer:

Gidday all,

I think you can relax about this. Back in 1997/8 it was found that
neither the MoE nor the ERO actually had the legal authority to conduct
reviews of home educators. The Education Legislation Amendment Act (No.
2) closed up that loophole by adding sections 328A through 328D to the
main Act plus a couple other bits and pieces. So now it appears that the
ERO (not the MoE) has the power to order either general or specific
Reviews. The MoE buys a certain number of Reviews from the ERO each
year, about 600 or so, I believe. That’s just under 10% of the home
educated children out there.

For all of the approximately 6,500 home educated children to be reviewed
in the next 12 months would be a massively expensive logistical exercise
in terms of money, time and personnel. It won’t happen. They have to
give each of you one month notice (don’t ever accept less than this),
and then some of you will sadly inform them that the date they suggested
is totally out of the question for this or that reason.

It wouldn’t hurt to, at this time, check out what the Education Act
actually says in this regard. You can go to:

and click on “Acts” search and then type in “education act” under “quick
search title”, then click the first item in the list, “Education Act
1989” and read through Sections 323 through 328D. It doesn’t hurt to
have a squizz at the enrollment, attendance and exemption bits in
Sections 20 through 35A and the bit about truancy officers in Section
31. It is all very instructive.

I cannot find anywhere in the Education Act or any of its Amendments
that any school is required to teach anything in particular. Section
35A(1)c requires private schools (not state schools) to inculcate the
sentiments of patriotism and loyalty, but I cannot find that state
schools are required to do any more than be open and provide teaching of
a secular character…that is, it doesn’t appear to me that schools are
required by law to teach reading, writing, arithmetic or anything else.
And a read through Sections 60 through 64 does not convince me that even
state schools are required by law to follow the national curriculum
guidelines, which themselves don’t seem to require much of anything
either, except sexuality education all across primary and secondary


Craig Smith
Moderator, Hefnetnz

National Director, Home Education Foundation

Home schoolers swap teaching tips

Home schoolers swap teaching tips

By JOHN HARTEVELT – The Press | Monday, 28 July 2008

Parents who home school their students compared notes on a surge in their number at a gathering in Christchurch at the weekend.

Home schoolers from Christchurch and around the country met in Bishopdale for a curriculum fair and a series of workshops.

National director of the Home Education Foundation Craig Smith said about 50 people attended and visited seminars which covered topics ranging from classical education to how home education could prevent burnout.

Home schooling appealed to many parents because of the “administrative bullying” of teachers and the public education system in general.

“I hear a lot parents tell me my child’s been at school now for three years and they haven’t learned a darn thing,” Smith said.

The number of children home schooled has grown from about 5280 10 years ago to 6500 in July last year.

Home-schooled children must obtain a certificate of exemption from regular schooling.

The Ministry of Education said home-based schooling must meet the same standards as registered schools.

Kathy Duncan said her four children, aged between five and 12, mixed with a lot of other children who were home schooled.

“Certainly our children wouldn’t socialise with 30 other children the same age as them every day but they do have friends they see regularly,” Duncan said.

Home schooling was a a lifestyle choice, she said.

“It’s not just like having school at home … all of life becomes an education. It’s really hard to separate our life from the education.”

Duncan does not have any teaching qualifications but she said she had “a lot of experience”.

Home schooling is most popular on the West Coast, where 1.9 per cent of children are in home schooling.

The Canterbury Home Educators group has 230 members, representing less than 1% of students in the region.

Smith said aspects of the national assessment programme (NCEA) were “anti-intellectual” and the school curriculum needed to get back to basics and cut out political correctness.

Smith did not want any more Government funding because he feared it would take control of home schoolers.

“The ERO (Education Review Office) is sitting in judgment on the way you as a parent relate to your own child,” he said.


In association with Canterbury Home Educators:


Venue: Bishopdale Community Centre

Cnr Farrington Ave and Raleigh St, Bishopdale, Christchurch

(above Bishopdale Library)

Dates: Friday 25 July (7.00pm – 9.00pm)

Saturday 26 July (10.00am – 4.00pm)

The Curriculum Fair will be attended by many educational vendors, including a number of homeschool suppliers. Further details on these to come.

The following workshops will also run during the Curriculum Fair:

“Charlotte Mason” with Lennie Harrison – gold coin

“The Nurture and Admonition of the Lord” with Lennie Harrison – optional donation

“Foreign Languages” with Linda Gage – gold coin

“Early Learning” with Linda Gage – gold coin

“Classical Education” with Linda Gage – gold coin

“Home Educating Through Secondary and Preparing for Tertiary Education and the Workforce” with Craig Smith – donation

“Avoiding Burnout – Keeping Going When the Going Gets Tough” with Barbara Smith – donation

Children can submit and display book reviews. There will be a prize draw for all entries.

If anyone would like to sell second hand materials they are most welcome. They can either book a table or if they only have a few items we will have a table available for them to display their materials.

Cost of entry is a gold coin.

Please feel free to pass on this information. This is a combined event for all home educating families. Kathy (contact details below) would love to hear from anyone who would like to book a table, enter a book review or who has second hand materials to sell.

Contact person – Kathy Duncan

Ph. (03) 360 3704 or email


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