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.

Aboriginal Tale a Geology Lesson with Australian Indigenous History all in one

Long ago, four giant beings arrived in southeast Australia. Three strode out to other parts of the continent, but one crouched in place. His body transformed into a volcano called Budj Bim, and his teeth became the lava the volcano spat out.

Told by the Aboriginal Gunditjmara people of south west Victoria

Is an Aboriginal tale of an ancient volcano the oldest story ever told?

By Colin BarrasFeb. 11, 2020 , 5:40 PM

This article explores the fascinating link between the tale of the Gunditjmara people of the four giants and the rapid formation of the Tower Hill volcano 37,000 years ago, creating the possibility of this story being the oldest story in human history. Supporting evidence of human occupation in the area includes the discovery of an axe head covered in a layer of volcanic ash from that period.

For home educators, a cross curricular approach to education is always the most effective way to learn about something new. Read here for more information. Read a brief version of the original story with indigenous language included in the telling.

By exploring this story with your children, you will be covering science through geology, history through learning about human artefacts buried deep in the ground and their significance, Language Other Than English (LOTE) through exposure to the Gunditjmara story, and gain a better appreciation of how rich the knowledge that has been preserved through the longest continuous culture in the world can be. All this learning can be translated across all stages of the Australian Curriculum to suit the learning needs of the student.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures cross-curriculum priority recognises two distinct needs in the Australian Curriculum:

• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students can see themselves, their identities and their cultures reflected in the curriculum of each of the learning areas, can fully participate in the curriculum and can build their self-esteem.
• The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures cross-curriculum priority is designed for all students to engage in reconciliation, respect and recognition of the world’s oldest continuous living cultures.

“We’re always amazed with … new technologies that prove the brilliance of our ancestors.”

Damein Bell, CEO of the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation

If you are on Facebook, it is well worth joining the Home School Maths & Science group to learn more about teaching science and maths in the home.

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.

https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/government-data-reveals-6425-victorian-children-now-being-homeschooled/news-story/56b675535bf43de030c171a932710e83

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.

NSW in Focus – TAFE Update

The NSW Minister for Skills, John Barilaro, announced in 2017 that home educated students 15 years and over registered with NESA as secondary students could enrol in Smart and Skilled funded courses at TAFE and private RTOs in NSW. This greatly reduces the fees to access these courses and ensures that this remains a viable pathway to work or further education.

Click here for the eligible courses for Smart and Skilled funded placements.

The simple eligible student criteria includes:

  • aged 15 years or older
  • live in New South Wales
  • an Australian citizen, permanent resident, humanitarian visa holder or New Zealand citizen

There is a specific fact sheet for home educated kids interested in a TAFE course or Registered Training Organisation (RTO) here.

The fees that students pay vary widely depending on a variety of circumstances. Students with a disability do not have to pay any fees. Students in low income households (in receipt of the full Family Tax benefit A or youth allowance), or who are Aboriginal, have low fees. If students do not fit into these categories their fees will be more – up to several thousand dollars depending on the course. TAFE has a fee calculator on their website that you can use to help determine what the fees will likely be.  

It is no longer a requirement for registered home educated students to have a year 10 certificate for admission to Smart and Skilled funded NSW TAFE courses. If you are asked by TAFE or the private RTO for a year 10 certificate, explain that the student is registered for home education and meets the requirements for eligibility for a Smart and Skilled funded course. 

There have been some stories in 2018-2019 where home educated kids were being rejected as not eligible for Smart and Skilled funded placements. This was usually down to poorly trained staff and the best ways to deal with a difficult gatekeeper is to ask:

  • Firstly, hand the TAFE admin the Smart and Skilled PDF.
  • If that doesn’t work, ask to speak to the supervisor.
  • If that doesn’t work, contact Smart and Skilled directly on this link and tell them the branch of TAFE or the RTO you are dealing with and get the answers your child deserves.

If you have experienced discriminatory practices in your state or territory with regards to higher education access, please email at contact@edconsult.com.au or leave a comment below this blog or the YouTube video. 

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

Difference Between Home Education and Distance Education

In home education groups online, there is often confusion over what the difference between Distance Education and Home Education entails.

Distant Education is still school, but done in the home environment. A school is still responsible for delivering the subjects covered with the students sometimes expected to be online at certain periods of the day or on the phone to the teachers at specific times. The parent acts like a teacher’s aide responsible for the supervision of the educational materials emailed to the students or delivered on an online learning platform.

For this kind of education, you generally need to be home 5 days a week (or at least within internet access) during school hours of the distance education provider, so if you are interstate, you will need to keep the time change in mind.

The benefit of distance education is that the parent is absolved of developing any learning plans and registering those plans and work samples with the state education departments.

The downside to distance education is that you lose the right to choose how you spend your days. Without the freedom to go to home education meet ups, valuable social opportunities are lost. The learning opportunities provided are also still a one size fits all with minimal modifications for the individual learning needs of the student.

Distance Education really can work well for some kids, but not so great for others. It is a real choice, however in order to gain access to the state run distance education as a public student, you would need to have a medical reason or a geographical reason for not attending the local public school near you. The only other way to access distance education is through registered private providers that can be interstate and expensive. But if that is a good option for you then explore it. There will be further blogs in the future on some funding that is provided to eligible distance education students so subscribe to Ed Consult blog to learn more.

Home education on the other hand is all delivered, and developed by the parent or guardian of the student and the requirement is for that home educator to register for home education or in South Australia’s case, to apply for an exemption from schooling after enrolling in their local state school. 

The benefits of home education over enrolling in a distance education provider is that your days are you own to do with as you please. You can also tailor a personal learning plan for your child rather than a one size fits all.

Home education is a particularly good option if you are travelling with kids. You can tailor the learning to be relevant with where you are on your journey to really help make the learning stick.

The number of family trips around Australia that I have heard being ruined by the need to be near a good internet signal to connect with their teacher, is rather high. Home education is definitely the way to go for that year long family journey around Australia. If you would like any support in developing your registration plan for your big family holiday, don’t hesitate to email contact@edconsult.com.au to explore your options together.

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.

Federal Government Funding Initiatives 2020 Blog Series #5

This is the fifth blog on Federal Government Funding Initiatives for 2020.

Here are the next excerpts from the Australian Government Department for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development for 2020.

Online Teaching and Learning Courses—support mathematics and phonics

The Australian Government will provide $9.5 million over four years from 2019-20 to strengthen the capacity of teachers across Australia to teach mathematics and phonics through freely available, nationally coordinated, high quality professional learning and resources. This initiative will deliver:

  • Mathematics Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for teachers of Foundation to Year 10 students, provide supporting face-to-face professional learning and a repository of teaching and learning resources through an online Mathematics Hub. It aims to inspire Australian school students to learn mathematics and equip them to become our future mathematical and technological innovators.
  • Online learning and teaching resources to support phonics education for the early years of school. This initiative will provide teachers with ready access to teaching and formative assessment resources to ensure the students who need the most support to learn to read get the help they need.

The online courses and resources will be freely available to all Australian teachers and students, with resources being readily accessible to those living in rural and remote locations, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The mathematics and phonics online resources are designed to support teachers and provide professional learning opportunities.

Ed Consult has written to the Federal Minister for Education Hon Dan Tehan, to enquire where these resources can be found and if home educators are able to utilise these opportunities too. Stay tuned to find out more when a reply is received. This may take many months though.

See a list of other blogs in this series as they are published:

Follow this blog to find out about other initiatives that are being rolled out by the Federal Government in 2020. Perhaps it is time to start asking for a piece of the pie?

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

Federal Government Funding Initiatives 2020 Blog Series #4

This is the fourth blog on Federal Government Funding Initiatives. See here for a list of other blogs in this series as they are published:

Any support for home educators in Australia is useful. Over a few posts Ed Consult will list a series of Federal Government policy changes that may be of use to home educators if we ask. Ed Consult does not endorse any of these Government initiatives. They are simply a collection of policies for 2020 that home educators could make use of for their families.

Here are the next excerpts from the Australian Government Department for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development for 2020.

National School Reform Agreement—Commonwealth contribution to national policy initiatives

“The Australian Government will contribute to the costs of implementing national policy initiatives developed with the states and territories to support implementation of the National School Reform Agreement. The initiatives will focus on strategic reform in areas that will have the most impact on student achievement and school improvement, to support every child to realise their full learning potential. By signing up to the Agreement, governments commit to a sustained reform effort that will drive improved student outcomes and excellence in the classroom.

The National School Reform Agreement, developed through the Council of Australian Government’s Education Council, has been informed by recommendations of the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools, led by Mr David Gonski AC and the Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education This measure builds on the 2017-18 measure: Quality Schools—true needs‑based funding for Australia’s schools.”

Not very relevant to home educating parents, but it is good to know about the national education reform.

Response to the Review of the Socio‑Economic Status Score Methodology

“The Australian Government will provide a further $4.5 billion from 2018-19 to 2028-29 ($1.2 billion over four years from 2018‑19) to implement recommendations of the National School Resourcing Board’s Review of the socio‑economic status score methodology. This will help ensure funding to non‑government schools flows to students who need it most. The measure includes:

  • $3.2 billion to introduce, from the 2020 school year, a fairer and more equitable method for calculating Australian Government funding for non‑government schools, which uses parental income to measure a school community’s capacity to contribute to their school’s costs;
  • $170.8 million over two years from 2018‑19 to provide funding certainty for non-government schools for the 2019 school year; and
  • $1.2 billion over 10 years from the 2020 school year to establish the Choice and Affordability Fund to address specific challenges in the non‑government school sector, such as supporting schools in drought‑affected areas, schools that need help to improve performance, and to enable parental choice in the schooling system”

As you can read, there is substantial assistance to private schools to help enable parental choice to choose a private school. But no funding for home educated families, especially families struggling to fund the education of children with disabilities.

School Funding – Additional support for students

“The Australian Government will provide targeted additional funding from 2018‑19 over four years to support student achievement and school improvement, particularly in disadvantaged communities including those in remote and regional locations. This funding includes:

  • $9.8 million over four years for non‑government distance education schools, which provide an alternative for families where mainstream schooling is not appropriate for reasons including students’ geographic isolation, health issues or learning difficulties; and
  • $2.8 million over two years to extend the Flexible Literacy for Remote Primary Schools Program pilot into the 2019 school year, to help improve literacy outcomes by trialling flexible teaching methods.”

It would be a leap forward for home educators to be invited to the independent schools’ funding meetings. However, in the interim, it would be great if remote primary school’s could include flexible enrolments in all states rather than just a few to access specialist literacy and numeracy intensive courses if that is helpful or desirable for home educated students.

Follow this blog to find out about other initiatives that are being rolled out by the Federal Government in 2020. Perhaps it is time to start asking for a piece of the pie?

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

Ed Consult Youtube Channel is Here!

Video

The Ed Consult Youtube channel will be another avenue of support for home educators across Australia. The videos will link to blogs at edconsult.com.au and provide information for people who prefer video to text to learn more about home education in Australia.

This first video is explaining what Ed Consult is all about. We encourage anyone who has a question or issue they would like explained or explored to email at contact@edconsult.com.au

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

Federal Government Funding Initiatives 2020 Blog Series #3

This is the third blog on Federal Government Funding Initiatives. See here for a list of other blogs in this series as they are published:

Any support for home educators in Australia is useful. Over a few posts Ed Consult will list a series of Federal Government policy changes that may be of use to home educators if we ask. It is also worth noting what is denied to the home educated student compared to their schooled peers.

Here are a few excerpts from the Australian Government Department for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development for 2020.

Skills Package—delivering skills for today and tomorrow

“The Australian Government commissioned the Expert Review of Australia’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) System in late 2018, conducted by the former New Zealand Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, the Hon. Steven Joyce. In response to the review, the Australian Government is providing a comprehensive package of VET initiatives, totalling $525.3 million over five years from 2018-19.

The Skills Package—delivering skills for today and tomorrow seeks to reposition the sector to deliver the skills needed for Australia’s future prosperity and address issues faced by today’s workforce, including low literacy and numeracy, and a lack of digital skills, while tackling priority skills shortage areas. The Government’s response to the review includes a number of measures that will specifically benefit Australians in regional areas:

  • $9.9 million over three years to establish a new Indigenous delivery pilot of a language, literacy, numeracy and digital (LLND) program to provide project based delivery of LLND skills to individuals in remote Indigenous communities in four pilot areas.
  • The establishment of ten Training Hubs across Australia ($67.5 million over five years) to trial supporting school‑based vocational education in regions with high youth unemployment, with an aim of creating better linkages between schools and local industry, and other skills development measures.
  • $8.2 million over three years to expand the Commonwealth Scholarships Program for Young Australians. This will provide up to 400 scholarships nationally that will support people to participate in vocational education and training with strong pathways to jobs in areas of skills needs.
  • The Government’s Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow package includes a range of targeted initiatives that respond to immediate priorities and position the VET system for the future. These will benefit individuals and employers across Australia, including in regional areas. The initiatives include:
  • $42.4 million over four years to establish a new National Careers Institute and appoint a National Careers Ambassador to raise the profile of the VET sector and provide better careers information for all working-age Australians to support and inform their study and career choices, including an information portal that centralises career and education pathways information.
  • $52.5 million over four years to establish a new LLND program to upskill at-risk workers. This includes LLND training to support over 11,000 workers with low-level language, literacy, numeracy and digital skills.
  • $200.2 million over four years from 2019-20 (and $147.5 million in 2023-24) to establish a new Additional Identified Skills Shortage Payment to boost existing incentives for areas of identified skills needs to support up to 80,000 new apprentices over five years, as well as simplifying and streamlining the Australian Apprenticeship Incentives Program.
  • The establishment of a National Skills Commission ($48.3 million over four years) and national pilot of Skills Organisations ($41.7 million over four years). The Commission will form an integral part of systemic long-term reform to the sector. Two national Skills Organisations will be piloted in the areas of digital technologies and the human services workforce to trial new, industry-led methods of qualification development and assessment.
  • $20.1 million over four years from 2019-20 to better identify emerging skills needs in the Australian economy through phase three of the Jobs and Education Data Infrastructure Project, along with simplifying students’ access to their education and training records by expanding the Unique Student Identifier to all higher education students and developing a centralised repository for students’ education and training records.
  • $350,000 in 2019-20 to support the National Rugby League’s (NRL) VET Apprenticeship Awareness Program. The funding will help the NRL provide ongoing player and community education, including promoting their NRL VET ambassadors who share their success stories and help promote the value of Australian Apprenticeships and VET qualifications.
  • The Government is also providing $34.2 million of additional funding in 2019-20 to the six signatory states and territories of the Skilling Australian Fund (SAF) National Partnership Agreement to support initiatives to boost apprenticeships and traineeships.”

Ignoring the self congratulatory language from the Federal Government, we should all be looking for opportunities for our home educated children.

National School Reform Agreement—Commonwealth contribution to national policy initiatives

The Australian Government will contribute to the costs of implementing national policy initiatives developed with the states and territories to support implementation of the National School Reform Agreement. The initiatives will focus on strategic reform in areas that will have the most impact on student achievement and school improvement, to support every child to realise their full learning potential. By signing up to the Agreement, governments commit to a sustained reform effort that will drive improved student outcomes and excellence in the classroom.

The National School Reform Agreement, developed through the Council of Australian Government’s Education Council, has been informed by recommendations of the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools, led by Mr David Gonski AC and the Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education This measure builds on the 2017-18 measure: Quality Schools—true needs‑based funding for Australia’s schools.

It would be a step forward for home educators to be invited to the independent schools’ funding meetings.

Follow this blog to find out about other initiatives that are being rolled out by the Federal Government in 2020. Perhaps it is time to start asking for a piece of the pie?

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.