Victoria in Focus – $ Vouchers for Home Educators?

Democratic Labour Party MP Rachel Carling-Jenkins urged the Andrews government back in 2015 to provide taxpayer-funded vouchers to help the growing number of homeschooling families pay for stationery, curriculum resources, computers and internet access.

Democratic Labour Party MP Rachel Carling-Jenkins urged the Andrews government back in 2015 to provide taxpayer-funded vouchers to help the growing number of homeschooling families pay for stationery, curriculum resources, computers and internet access.

Click on the link below to read the article in The Age newspaper.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/homeschool-parents-deserve-state-vouchers-to-teach-kids-says-key-crossbencher-20150424-1msm3z.html

It really takes experienced politicians who have home educated their own children to stand up and speak on behalf of home educators and their needs. Ms Carling-Jenkins knows personally how much it costs to choose to educate children at home.

“Opponents of homeschooling cite concerns about the standard of education children receive without a qualified teacher; the lack of socialisation some children might face; and the potential for religious extremism to be imposed. Proponents say it gives children the chance to excel by catering to their individual needs, particularly if a child has a learning disability or is being bullied at school.” The Age Farrah Tomazin

Ed Consult encourages home educators across Australia to write to any politician who talks about support for home educators. However, Ed Consult would never garner votes for any individual politician on that basis alone because their other political agendas may become divisive in our large and wonderfully diverse community.

Unfortunately, in the recent past a home educator linked a national association to the suggestion that home educators should vote in the Federal elections 2019 for a particular small party Candidate because of their support for a section of the home education community in the NSW parliamentary enquiry into home education in NSW in 2017. This candidate failed to secure a seat. This voting direction caused pain and concern within our LGBTQI Community and the larger home education community as well.

Lobbying for an issue or support for home education is quite OK and open to anyone to do. This is distinct from lobbying for a candidate’s election who is supportive of only a section of the home education community. Linking a diverse home educating community with a socially and politically divisive individual candidate in any parliament has had the effect of dividing and destabilising the home education community in Australia.

Dr Carling-Jenkins said she would continue to lobby Premier Daniel Andrews to give parents “a fair go”.

A voucher suggestion is a wonderful start.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

Video – Federal Government Funding Policies 2020

Video

Any support that home educators can take advantage of is a help. As home educators, you cannot ask to partake in funding initiatives if you don’t know about them.

Read a series of blog posts below exploring possible funding policies that may be utilised by home educators across Australia if you ask.

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 #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.

Federal Government Funding Initiatives 2020 Blog Series #2

This is the second 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.

Increase HELP loan limit for Aviation Courses

“The Australian Government will amend the Higher Education Support Act 2003 to increase the combined Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loan limit to $150,000 (indexed by CPI) for eligible students undertaking aviation courses at a VET Student Loans approved provider from 1 January 2020. The increased limit recognises that existing loan limits are insufficient to obtain the licences and ratings required for most practical commercial aviation employment. The increase will improve accessibility to courses and better support students and the commercial aviation sector.”

Those home educators looking into aviation as a course for their students should enquire further.

Strengthening Higher Education in Regional Australia—additional support for students and universities

” The Australian Government is providing $134.8 million over four years from 2018‑19 to strengthen higher education enrolment in regional Australia by funding additional study places, scholarships and enhanced facilities to increase accessibility. The measure includes $92.5 million over four years from 2018‑19 to support more students at five regionally focused universities: the University of the Sunshine Coast, James Cook University, the University of Newcastle, Central Queensland University and Federation University Australia. The measure also includes $42.3 million over four years from 2018‑19 to provide:

  • an additional 1,955 scholarships in 2019, valued at up to $18,000 each, for students undertaking Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Health and Agriculture tertiary qualifications—more than doubling the 1,200 scholarships previously available under the Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships announced in the 2017-18 Budget to provide $24.0 million over four years from 2017-18 to 2020-21 as part of the Australian Government’s 2016 election commitments;
  • support for additional Regional Study Hubs, for a total 16 Hubs across 22 locations to improve access to higher education for students from rural and remote Australia. This builds on the Regional Study Hubs announced in the 2017-18 Budget, which provided $16.7 million from 2018-19 to 2021‑22 to improve access to higher education for students from rural and remote Australia by supporting the establishment and operation of regional study hubs. Such hubs typically support regional students to study courses locally delivered by distance from any Australian university by providing greater access to study support and infrastructure; and
  • support for the development of a National Regional, Rural and Remote Higher Education Strategy, as part of the Government’s response to Emeritus Professor John Halsey’s Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education.

This builds on the Australian Government’s existing commitment of $123.6 million from 2017‑18 to 2021-22 for additional Commonwealth supported places to support expansion into regional areas. The University of the Sunshine Coast will receive funding for an additional 1,200 ongoing bachelor places in 2020, growing to 3,600 ongoing places in 2022, at a new campus in Moreton Bay. The University of Tasmania will receive funding for 1,000 ongoing places from 2019 to support the Northern Tasmanian Transformation Project. Southern Cross University will receive funding for an additional 105 ongoing places in 2019 and 210 ongoing places in 2020. These places, which are expected to grow to 315 ongoing places by 2021, will be utilised in allied health courses at a new campus in Coffs Harbour.”

Australian Apprenticeships—increased support

” The Australian Government has increased support for Australian Apprenticeships, with $27.6 million over four years from 2018‑19 to extend eligibility for the Support for Adult Australian Apprentices Incentive to apprentices aged 21 years and over (the current eligible age is 25 years and over). Extending eligibility to include apprentices aged 21 to 24 increases the support available for all Adult Australian Apprentices and provides a stronger incentive for employers to engage more adult apprentices in areas of skills needs.

To find out more about apprenticeships in Australia, click here.

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 #1

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.

Extension of Preschool Funding Arrangements

“The Australian Government has committed a further $453.1 million to provide universal access to 15 hours of quality preschool a week in the year before school, through to the end of 2020, and to undertake the related National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection. This builds on the previous decision to provide Commonwealth support for preschool until the end of 2019 and will benefit around 350,000 children throughout Australia, 100,000 of whom are estimated to live in regional Australia.

The Smith Family School Student Support

An additional $1.4 million will be invested to fund work by The Smith Family to work with state and territory governments and disadvantaged communities on strategies to further improve preschool participation, particularly for families in regional and remote communities, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.”

It is worth testing if the Smith Family initiative will also support home educators in need. https://www.thesmithfamily.com.au/

Arts Education

“The Australian Government will invest $3.3 million in three school-based arts education programs: Music Australia’s Music Count Us In, the Song Room’s Transformational Learning through Creativity, and Bell Shakespeare’s National Education Program. Together, the three programs cover all five elements of the Arts learning area of the Australian Curriculum—music, drama, dance, visual arts and media arts – and will promote student engagement and support students’ social and emotional wellbeing.

This funding will benefit an estimated 786,000 students and teachers in Australian schools and support delivery of these arts programs throughout Australia, with a focus on improving access to arts education for disadvantaged schools in regional and remote areas or low socio-economic areas.”

This is another initiative that may be useful for home education cooperatives. Contact your home education regulatory body in your state or territory to see if your local coop can be part of this scheme. You won’t know unless you ask.

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

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.