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.

NSW in Focus – How many home ed students are there? 5,429 in NSW.

New South Wales

The latest numbers of students registered for home education are from a report March 2019 from NESA (NSW Education Standards Authority). From 2014 with 3298 to 2018 with 5429 home educating students. The number of unregistered students is unknown but anecdotal evidence suggests it could be a similar figure.

“New South Wales has experienced a 24% growth between 2014-2016, following a dip after the introduction of new regulations in 2014. At the time, there were 3,327 students registered for homeschooling with the NSW Board of Studies [now NESA], which has now grown to 4,100 respectively.

Victoria and NSW account for 54% of homeschool registrations nationwide.” – The rise of home education in Australia February 2019.

Home Schooling Data reports relating to 2018 – March 2019

This graph is interesting as it shows the percentage of home educators who are being given shorter registration periods. Using 5,429 as the 2018 figure, the students registering for the first time who got the full 12 months initial registration was 78% with renewal of registration receiving the maximum time period of 24 months was up at 87%.

It would be interesting to see what plans or reporting is being rejected or given shorter registration periods by NESA so that we can all learn what not to do when registering.

How many schools would it take to educate 5,429 students in NSW?

Not home education.

Approximately 105 Primary School classes just like the one above, and 90.5 high school classrooms to accommodate all the home educated students with a 50/50 spread of primary to high school students. This is just a representation of what that many students may actually look like with the average primary school class of 26 students and high school class of 30 students. Financially, at an average of $16,000 per student for tuition (not accounting for additional learning support funding or infrastructure funding) would cost the Federal Government approximately $86,864,000 if all home educated students were to enrol next week.

If we were to acknowledge the 1/4 of all registration applications in NSW that choose to state that they home educate with a child with special needs, including levels 1-6 of $6,400 to over $60,000 per student per year, this could equate to a total funding for all home educated students to over $115,000,000 per year.

Just as soon as the latest numbers from NESA on registration for home educated students are available they will be shared with you here. Don’t forget to subscribe.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

HEN – Home Education Survey Across Australia

The latest survey run by Susan Wight of the Home Education Network also known as HEN, a national association for the promotion and support of home education in Australia.

This year’s survey saw the highest participation rates from outside of Victoria with a total of 592 respondents from every state and territory across Australia. It is an anonymous survey as no identifying information was collected. Click here to see the results yourself.

Some of the questions covered included:

  • categorising their reason for home educating. 45% stating it was a matter of philosophy and 55% as a response to school experiences.
  • The section of the survey for rating the main factor for home educating initially was for “a tailored education” 
  • whereas the main factor for continuing to home educate was “happier kids” with 223 respondents.

When looking at the different styles of education being provided at home, “Unschooling” is most popular in Victoria and Queensland, and “Project-based learning” is most popular in NSW and Queensland.

The socio-economic status of respondents showed a fairly even spread through low to high household financial status.

The occupation of respondents with the most frequency of 8% was “teacher”.

The registration status of the respondents was around 92% nationally however Queensland had the fewest registered home educators of 74% of respondents. 

More survey participants are needed to give a broader view of the actual registration status of home educators in Australia, registered and unregistered. As Susan Wight from HEN said “If we could hit 10% across the country, that would really help home educators in each state make solid arguments when advocating. Without our own stats, the government owns the narrative.”

So stay tuned for the next call for nationwide participation in this important voluntary project to support home education in Australia by the Home Education Network. Subscribe to my blog Ed Consult and this youtube channel to keep informed by clicking on the subscribe button or clicking on the links in the information below this video.

Consider joining the Home Education Network to further support the research and support projects for home educators across Australia. HEN costs only $25 per year for membership with a magazine and tonnes of online support. Click here for more information.

Find out why people home educate, and much more. Jan 2020

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.