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:

BOARD DEVELOPED COURSES   

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.

What Have We Learnt with Ed Consult this January 2020?

There is so much to learn about home education in Australia. Since the launch December 26th, 2019, there have been over 20 blog posts and just in case you missed out on some of it, here is a list so you can stay informed and up to date.

NSW In Focus – Learn about the numbers, the registration process and TAFE Update.

A Load of General Home Education Support Blogs

Victoria in Focus – Learn about how many and possible funding discussions

And the Launch of the New Ed Consult YouTube Channel

Remember to hit the subscribe button to stay up to date with the latest video release.

If you have any particular home education issue relevant to Australia that you would like to know more about, or you think needs to be clarified in the community, then leave a comment below or send a message to contact@edconsult.com.au

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.

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.

NSW in Focus – How to Register for Home Education

Registering for home education in NSW is straight forward and easy. If you know how.

You will need to follow a few steps as listed below in order to successfully register for the maximum first registration period of 1 year. Upon re-registration in 12 months time, you can apply for a two year maximum registration period. NSW home educators register through NSW Education Standards Authority also known as NESA.

How to make the big bad government Authorised Person smile on your home visit. Only joking!

Step 1 – Alert the authorities that you are leaving the reservation

Go to the NESA homeschooling webpage and download Form 1 for initial registration. Fill one out for each child separately and then email them back signed. An AP (Authorised Person, usually a teacher) will then call you to make an appointment for the purposes of sighting your children and to read a written program for each child.

https://educationstandards.nsw.edu.au/…/home-schooling…

Step 2 – Write your plan

The program can be as simple as cutting and pasting the stage statements from each Key Learning Area (KLA), and then list any resources you intend to use to cover those skills sets in the stage statements.

I wouldn’t write any education philosophies down. Stay away from mentioning unschooling or natural learning and save yourself an unnecessary headache. Just list resources or activities that will tick what each stage statement will need.

You only need to register for primary or secondary school. You do not need to list a grade level. This gives you the freedom to alter the skills levels for each KLA to suit where your child is upto. If they are more advanced in Mathematics you may select the stage statement for stage 3 instead of stage 2. This is your opportunity to truly tailor your child’s education.
Click here for all the stage statements in a single document for Early Stage 1 to Stage 5. Stage 6 is separated due to the volume of subjects and different requirements in the Curriculum.
https://educationstandards.nsw.edu.au/…/stage…

If you are using work books, your list of resources under the stage statements for English and Maths KLAs may look something like this:

  • Mathematics stage 2 – Targeting Maths grade 3, Life of Fred, online multiplication games.
  • English – All About Spelling level 4 – 5, First Language Lessons, Writing with Ease, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings for literature, readers from the library, Audio books, speech at home school group.

If you are using a child led approach or unschooling, you will still need to write something down and that may look like this:

  • English – Public speaking at the home school meet-up, writing a journal, creating a recipe book, creating an ad for selling a bike on Gumtree, memorising poetry from a nursery rhyme book, writing some short stories, doing some copy work, keeping a word index book of words learnt with meanings, reading list appropriate for their interest and age.
  • Mathematics – focusing on using measuring equipment especially in cooking, online maths games, chalk and cement for practice problems, building with lego, sorting colours and quantities and following instructions, shopping adding up the purchases, planning a family trip with public transport, playing math based card games like Gin Rummy, playing board games like Ticket to Ride or Rummikub, singing along with the times table song disc.

It really isn’t very hard. Do the simplest paperwork such as listing of resources above is all you need to write. Be polite to the Authorised Person and then get the government out your front door. What you do in your home is your business. The longest registration period you will get for the initial registration is 12 months. Some home educators have really great APs and they are a welcome resource during home visits, but some have reported APs who expect school at home setups and can be highly rigid in interpreting their jobs. Do let Ed Consult know if you have had an experience such as this at contact@edconsult.com.au

Step 3 Get re-registered for your next home education adventure together

In 12 month’s time you print off the second form on the above mentioned NESA webpage and then have some work samples for each KLA, a photo album, diary entries or some form of record keeping of their learning and the new plan for the next two years. You are not required to compare your registered plan with what work was actually reported on. The AP is simply noting that you have a plan that is consistent with the NSW Curriculum. If you do nothing that you planned to do, that doesn’t matter at all. Just report what was done. Not hard really.

What if I don’t register?

Under the Education Act (see my other blog on this topic) in NSW you are required to register with NESA to home educate. If you are not registered, the only thing that will happen is that you will be asked to register with NESA. If you persist to fail to comply with the above steps, then the end worst case scenario is that you could be charged with “educational neglect”. This is very very rare and reserved for those who repeatedly refuse to register under the act.

If you are reported, simply register your children. Children who have never attended any schools are not on any lists. Children who unenroll from a school will be on the list of the school or a home school liaison officer and you can expect a phone call enquiring why your children are skipping school without a note.

Just say what the government wants to hear.

  • Yes we use the NSW Curriculum
  • Yes we keep records of the learning
  • Yes I considered my child’s learning needs and interests
  • Yes we have resources and space available to facilitate the learning of my child.

Job done.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.