Anxiety of Year 12 Students Wholly Unjustified. An ATAR is NOT Necessary for Tertiary Studies.

The Victorian Premier, Mr Andrews, whose eldest son is in Year 12, said the Victorian Government was committed to ensuring all students were able to get an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).

“It is my aim,” he said. “If they can get an ATAR, if not within this calendar year, then very soon thereafter. We’ve got six or eight weeks at the end of the year that we can catch up.”

Victorian Premier Mr Andrews

This is where the ignorance of our politicians and education leadership about what education can look like is failing Australian teenagers today causing wholly unnecessary stress and anxiety.

Students do not need an ATAR to start university

With only an average of 25% of all university admissions utilising the ATAR system, clearly 75% of successful applications to university studies demonstrates that there are other ways for year 12 students of 2020, to enter university without the school ATAR system.

Ed Consult has published a comprehensive list of alternative pathways. If you are looking for information on university access, then start right here

Whether you have had your year 12 studies interrupted, or are simply home educated, there are many alternative pathways to start your tertiary education studies. There is no need to repeat year 12 as suggested by the well meaning but ill informed Victoria Premier, Mr Andrews.

Further invaluable information for alternative pathways to tertiary studies in Australia.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

Australian Homeschooling Summit 2020 – 4th May to 15th May

Here is the best opportunity, at the best price, to have your questions answered about home education in Australia live. The Australian Homeschooling Summit 2020.

Get your $25 ticket to 30 presentations by clicking here. $25 gives you unlimited access to the 30 presentations for years to come.

30 presentations covering how to begin, what to expect, what to teach, how to learn and where support is available to enhance your home education experience wherever or whenever you are in your journey.

Come, listen and ask questions of some of the leading home educators in the country. This is your opportunity to get some insights into questions that you need answered. Ed Consult with Myfanwy Dibben presenting, will be there for the first time this year, talking on History and Geography Grades 1 – 12.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

3. Alternative Pathways to Tertiary Education

Photo by Pixabay on

This is the third blog in the series on alternative pathways for entry into Tertiary education. To get the full story, click on the links below.

Open University

Many home educated students enroll and study online through Open University. Open University has no prerequisites for many of its units. You can complete a full degree through Open Universities or study several units and then use them to apply for entry to a degree at your chosen university. The number of units necessary may vary according to the subjects studied and the academic results obtained.

Subjects studied at Open University may even give credit for units in the degree you choose to switch to. The student is also eligible for Fee Help or HECS Help when they apply for an entire degree but not for single subjects, which average between approximately $800-$1400 per subject.

Sitting an Exam

A home educated student can choose to sit exams as a way to demonstrate their academic capacity to cope with the course requirements. They could take the SAT such as is offered through Melbourne University for example or with the STAT exams.

One alternative way to get into the course of your choice directly is through the Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT 1 is a general test of literacy, numeracy and general reasoning skills accepted for USA college admissions and costs around US$52 with testing venues around Australia. If your student has completed the SAT 1 exam, they will need to manually submit a certified copy of the results to the state’s university admissions centre. As always, please check with the admission centre if your particular university will accept the SAT scores as entry.

The Australian Special Tertiary Admissions Test or STAT exam is a two-hour Multiple Choice test which evaluates skills associated with verbal and quantitative reasoning. The cost is around $150 however do check first if this is an accepted qualification before relying on it for entry into your student’s chosen course. Not all universities will accept this exam for entry.

An exam such as these may be an opportunity for a home educated student to demonstrate to themselves that they have the right skills ready for University level study if they have never sat a formal exam before. The exams are a can be an expensive way to help a students decide on the right path for them, and give them entry into their chosen field of study.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators and Parents Across Australia.

2. Alternative Pathways to Tertiary Education


This is the second blog in the series on alternative pathways for entry into Tertiary education. To get the full story, click on the links below.

For home educators who purchase a complete curriculum some providers offer accredited courses to transition to university. Confirm which universities accept these courses before committing to this pathway.

Tertiary Preparation Courses or TPCs can be completed through TAFE, other Registered Training Authorities or at universities, and will provide students with an ATAR. The ATAR is the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank. It may interest you to know that a mere quarter of all university admissions now use the ATAR system so clearly the majority of uni students are using alternative pathways. Not just home educated students.

TPCs are usually designed for applicants who haven’t completed Year 12 at school. Minimum age requirements may apply and the length of these courses differs between institutions. For admission purposes, most institutions will consider the tertiary preparation courses offered by other institutions. You are strongly advised, however, to check which courses each institution considers.

As an example, TAFE NSW offers a TPC, teaching

  • How to apply ethical practices in your studies.
  • How to read and respond to written text for further study.
  • Core essentials in mathematics, science, humanities and English studies, and more.

The Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation is available to study full-time, part-time or through flexible learning options.

On completion, the student will be awarded the Tertiary Preparation Certificate (TPC), a qualification recognised by the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC), NSW universities and some interstate universities.

By way of example, from TAFE in NSW:

Western Sydney University applicants, for TPC graduates gaining a TES (Tertiary Entrance Score) of 168 out of 300 or higher, and for Charles Sturt University applicants (a TES of 157 out of 300 or higher), have guaranteed entry into many bachelor degree programs.

Some universities even offer a TPC for free such as Charles Darwin University in the Northern Territory. So keep an eye out for savings like these.

Video 2 in a mini series designed to assist home educating parents transition their students to University

So keep in mind that each TAFE or RTO may have specific relationships with universities around the country that make the pathway clearer for your student.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators and Parents Across Australia.

University of Victoria Launches a New Way to Study Full Time. The Block Method.

There has been an interesting change at how courses are to be delivered at the University of Victoria by 2022. They call it the block model and in reality it would likely give better outcomes for the student. It has already been successfully trialled overseas and is now coming to Australia.

Usually a full time student would be taking 4 different subjects over a whole semester each with their own assessments and exams due around the same time causing a lot of pressure on the learner.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Dawkins said The VU Way is a new way of doing university.

“It is a future blueprint for universities that offer a combination of vocational and higher education learning. The Block Mode is a truly student-centric, student-success–led model.

“It offers a unique and empowering learning experience to ensure our students are given every chance to succeed on their own terms, during and after study. In this way, the Block Mode fulfils our vision of creating opportunity and success for any student from any background.”

The block method, compresses a semester’s worth of study of a single subject into a 4 week block with all assessments and exams completed within that period before moving on to the next 4 weeks with the next subject. The block method means you will only ever be studying a single subject at any one time.

That sounds pretty good. A worthy question would be is it possible to do the block method part time? If so, you could organise your life around doing a single subject with 4 weeks of intense study followed by 4 or 8 or even more time off until you tackle the next subject. That would make for an interesting work/study/family/life balance.

For more information on how the Block Method will work click here. To watch a video embedded in Facebook from Victoria University click here.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

Research shows limitations in the HSC for Student Opportunities Due to Simply Being Poor

Click here to read the Sydney Morning Herald article HSC subject hierarchy can lower students’ horizons, says study. Every subject in the NSW HSC program is scaled in preprogrammed ways in order to determine an ATAR number, rating every student into a single reference point for convenient administration of universities’ application processes. Every student receives a ranking in relation to every other student firstly in relation to their classmates at school and then in relation to their cohort in the state to determine their future path.

The state’s most advantaged students have better access to high-status, high-scaling HSC subjects, new research has found – raising concerns that limited, low-status curriculum offerings are causing poorer students to lower their aspirations.

Jordan Baker – Sydney Morning Herald December 13, 2019

The trouble is that there has been a schism opening up where schools with a higher socio-economic status of students are taking on subjects that have a more advantageous scaling such as Music Extension and Music 2, higher mathematics, or advanced English and lower socio-economic state schools may not even be able to offer those high scaling subjects with only 1-2 students applying.

This schism gives an immediate ATAR advantage to the rich kids over the poor kids simply because of the way the scaling of the more academically rigorous subjects is calculated. This scaling enables a student at an exclusive private school in Sydney an opportunity to have a higher ATAR simply by enrolling in a high scaling course of Music 2 compared to the student in far west NSW who enrols in Family Studies vocational training.

So upon graduation after 13 years of education, the students are already divided into class structures because of a mathematical formula.

Yet another reason to chose to home educate in the higher levels of highschool. The home educated student can study what they want to study and pursue the future they want to pursue without any impediments imposed upon them by the state education system. Home educated students are truly free.

For more information on how home educated students can enter tertiary education without an ATAR, read this blog post Alternative Pathways to Tertiary Education and take advantage of the freedom of choice.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

Clarity for Stages 4-5 HSIE Subject choices in NSW with NESA

HSIE has been an area of confusion for home educators in NSW when writing learning plans for their students in years 7-10 in the History Society and Its Environment subject area.

Home educated students enjoy the most freedom of choice when choosing what they will study, when compared to their schooled peers who are required to study History and Geography for all of stages 4-5.

NESA has acknowledged that their Guidelines for Homeschooling document is misleading, suggesting that it must be History or Geography however they are in the process of updating this document to express the true requirements rather than simply what state schools generally do.

Home Educated students must choose to study at least one of the following subjects during stages 4-5 but can change what that subject is throughout the period of study:


Aboriginal Studies 7–10 Go to syllabus

Commerce 7–10 Go to syllabus

Geography K–10 Go to syllabus

Geography Elective 7–10 Go to syllabus

History K–10 Go to syllabus

History Elective 7–10 Go to syllabus

Work Education 7–10 Go to syllabus

A student may study History and Geography as an integrated subject. It is rather difficult to teach History without Geography given the events all happened in a place somewhere.

The nice thing to remember is that as a home educated student, you can choose to study Commerce for four years rather than History or Geography and can exercise more choice in their study plans than their schooled peers. Yet another reason to choose to home educate.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

The Home Educated Students’ Edge … Time

Time to be quiet. Time to stretch and yawn. Time to think. Time to be absorbed. Time to grow. Time to search. Time to imagine. Time to experiment. Time to explore. Time to move. Time to excel.

And all without the interruption of a bell!

Photo by manu mangalassery on

Home educated kids do not have to wake up at a certain time, or eat at a certain time, or start a learning opportunity at a certain time, or go to the toilet at a certain time.

Home educated kids can speed up their learning or slow it down. They can work while school is on and study on the weekends. Home educated kids can start university as soon as they are ready to. All this without the constraints of the K to 12 standard school system.

Home educated kids have the edge over their schooled cousins. They have time to explore and potentially realise their true, authentic selves and reach their goals, perhaps years before their peers have even finished year 12. In fact, the old notion of staying in school until year 12 is rapidly becoming a disadvantage for many, while the “school drop out” is gaining an edge in an increasingly unstructured and self-directed world.

A great example of the benefits of time was seen with home educated Billie Eilish’s recent sweeping wins at the Grammy Awards on the 26th January 2020. Click here to read more. In the same interview, Baird stressed the flexibility of homeschooling for parents and children alike.

Everybody’s always out doing things, traveling, going places, meeting for classes, and organizing field trips. It’s like going to college. You take what you want, where you want it, and you find what you need…Homeschooling allows us to let them do the things that they really love to do and not have a giant academic schedule on top of it.

Maggie Baird – mother of Billie Eilish

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

Working with Health Professionals

Some home educators report not feeling supported with their decision to home educate their children when working with some health professionals. Some practitioners are overstepping their purview enforcing their negative opinion of home education uninvited, rather than giving unbiased professional advice on the condition that is presented by the child. There have been reports that some professionals forcefully advising the child or parents to enroll in a school.  It is worthwhile reminding professionals who hold this view that home education is a legal third choice in addition to government or independent schools when parents are deciding on the education for their child.

It is a reasonable premise that positive interaction and collaboration between families and practitioners is in the best interest of the child’s well being. It is important to ensure that all parties involved in children’s wellbeing understand the validity of home education, and respect a parent’s right and responsibility  to choose their child’s form of instruction.

Some parents have reported about how their home education environments have helped their children with special needs.

One mum said “My daughter has ASD, SPD, generalised anxiety and is learning delayed. Homeschool has allowed me to reduce sensory overload and sit with her one on one and learn her strengths and frustrations. I can tailor her learning just to her, using any resources that will fit, rather than trying to make certain resources fit her.”   

One experienced mother’s advice to other home educating parents working with professionals was to:

“Tell the [Health Professional] you home educate, that is a non negotiable thing that will not be changing, and can they help and advise you within that context…Only once did I encounter a person who said she could not work with my child unless we would put him in school, and … we knew not to go back [to them].”

There were also families that have enjoyed positive experiences with their therapists such as:

“We have been fortunate enough to find supportive medical and allied professionals who have acknowledged that home education is the best choice in our case. It has been worth seeking out the good ones.”

“My son’s therapists weren’t happy about me homeschooling but respected my decision nonetheless. Now, they praise it as they have seen the change in my boy..”

An online resource has emerged called “Home Ed Friendly professionals” to help families find services in every state and territory to help their children be the best they can be and still respecting home education as their choice for their children’s education. Make sure to add to this project any professionals who have contributed positively to your home education experience.

Another mother stated:

“I have dealt with a lot of health professionals and don’t mind at all explaining what home education is. However, I do mind having to defend those choices to professionals who overstep the mark.”

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

Victoria in Focus – Numbers are up for home ed registration in Victoria

There was more mention of home education in Victoria recently talking about the rise in the home education registration in 2019. With 1,108 registered in Victoria in 2013 to 3,232 in 2018 saw a 192% increase. Today, 6425 children were home educated in 2019.

“Parents are best placed to make decisions about the education of their children and Daniel Andrews must ensure that parents who make the choice to educate their children at home are supported.” Victorian opposition education spokeswoman Cindy McLeish.

Click on the link below to read the article in The Herald Sun newspaper in Victoria.

At the current rate of increase of home education registration across Australia, the number of students registered for home education will exceed 1% of the total student population within two years. This increase is chasing the American home education population of over 3% of all students in the USA.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.