education.vic.gov.au

Policy last updated

23 April 2024

Scope

  • Schools

Date:
February 2020

Policy

Policy

This policy outlines school requirements relating to parents wishing to home school their children and explain the policy and process for partial enrolment.

Summary

  • The Victorian Government supports parental choice in education, including home schooling.
  • Parents who wish to home school their child must register with the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) if their child is of compulsory school age.
  • The Department makes various support mechanisms available to home schooling families, which includes allowing home school students to partially enrol at their neighbourhood government school for specific activities, as agreed by the school and parent. Further information for schools on partial enrolment is provided in this policy as well as the Guidelines for Partial Enrolment of Registered Home Schooled Students, on the Guidance tab.
  • Families wishing to transition from school to home schooling must ensure their children are enrolled in and attending school until their home schooling application is approved by the VRQA and they are provided with the formal registration notice.

Details

Principals should advise parents/carers (parents) proposing to home school their child:

  • of the home schooling requirements under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Act) and the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017 (Regulations)
  • that they can request partial enrolment at a school for their child for specific activities
  • that they must apply to the VRQA for registration

Background

In Victoria, home schooling during a child’s compulsory school years (6 to 17) is a recognised alternative to attending government or registered non-government schools. The Victorian Government supports parental choice in education and acknowledges that parents who choose to home educate their children do so for a variety of reasons and are willing to commit significant time, energy and resources.

Parents who decide to educate their child from a home base assume overall responsibility for the planning, implementation and assessment of their child’s education. While flexible, it is a requirement of registration in Victoria that a home schooled child receives regular and efficient instruction that:

  • taken as a whole, substantially addresses the eight learning areas set out in Schedule 1 to the Act, unless the VRQA grants an exemption and
  • is consistent with the principles and practice of Australian democracy

The 8 learning areas set out in Schedule 1 to the Act are:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Sciences
  • Humanities and social sciences
  • The arts
  • Languages
  • Health and physical education
  • Information and communication technology, and design and technology

The following paragraphs describe the forms that home schooling may and may not take.

Home schooling may take the form of:

  • a broad spectrum of styles, ranging from informal learning approaches to formal curriculum programs
  • one or more parents instructing their child
  • groups of home schooling students coming together for activities with an educational or social purpose
  • attending excursions and playing sport
  • a tutor with specialised knowledge being employed by the parent

Home schooling may not take the form of:

  • a 'quasi' school arrangement where an instructor or teacher is employed to instruct a group of students:
    • in the 8 learning areas
    • away from the home base
    • during normal school hours

In this situation normal school registration processes apply.

Registration process

Parents who wish to home school their child must register with the VRQA.

Parents are able to register their child for home schooling if:

  • the child is aged 6 to 17 years, or if they turn 6 in the year home schooling will commence, and
  • their residential address is in Victoria

The VRQA must notify an applicant in writing of its decision in relation to an application within 28 days of receiving a complete application. For full details about home schooling registration requirements refer to: Home Education VRQAExternal Link .

Partial enrolments

The Department makes various support mechanisms available to home education families, which includes allowing home education students to partially enrol at their neighbourhood government school for specific activities, as agreed by the school and parent.

A partial enrolment arrangement should be based on the following principles:

  • the parent/s registered for home education retain/s responsibility for providing an education program for their child (as per the requirements of registration)
  • a partnership approach between the school and the parent of a home educated student
  • full inclusion and participation in all aspects of the program or activity in which the child is enrolled

Principals should accept a partial enrolment arrangement where they are able to do so — for example, having regard to the class size limit in a particular year level and/or subject area.

The appropriate year level for the partial enrolment should be determined in consultation with the parent. Principals have the discretion to decline or cancel an enrolment where there are reasonable grounds for doing so, such as where the school’s capacity to accept the enrolment changes.

For further information about the requirements and processes associated with partial enrolment arrangements refer to the Guidelines for Partial Enrolment for Registered Home Schooled Students, on the Guidance tab.

Transitioning from school to home schooling

Families wishing to home school their children must ensure their children are enrolled in and attending school until their home schooling application is approved by the VRQA. The VRQA will issue a formal registration notice to successful applicants. Schools must request to see the VRQA registration notice before cancelling a student's enrolment.

The VRQA cannot provide a registration confirmation notice to schools directly.

Relevant legislation


Guidance

Guidelines for Partial Enrolment for Registered Home Schooled Students

Overview

The Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic) (the Act) requires that all children of compulsory school age (6 to 17 years) are enrolled in a school or registered for home schooling. Under the Act, the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) has responsibility for the registration of home schooling students. It is a requirement of registration that a home schooled child receives regular and efficient instruction that, taken as a whole, substantially addresses the eight learning areas in the Act (unless the VRQA grants an exemption); and is consistent with the principles and practice of Australian democracy. Parents must also submit a learning plan that is appropriate to the educational needs of the child with their application for registration.

The Department of Education and Training (the Department) is committed to making various support mechanisms available to home education families. This includes allowing home education students to partially enrol at their neighbourhood government school for specific activities, as agreed by the school and parent. The intent of this policy is to enable home educated students to access specialised equipment or expertise that a home schooling family may not ordinarily be able to access.

These Guidelines clarify the requirements and processes associated with partial enrolment arrangements.

Guiding principles

A partial enrolment arrangement should be based on the following principles:

  • the parent/s registered for home education retain/s responsibility for providing an education program for their child (in accordance with the requirements of registration)
  • a partnership approach between the school and the parent of a home educated student
  • full inclusion and participation in all aspects of the program or activity in which the child is enrolled

Enrolment conditions and responsibilities

A parent of a home educated student may approach their neighbourhood Government school to request to partially enrol their child (of compulsory school age) to participate in specific subjects or activities as they are provided to full-time students, including sport, art, maths, science, a language or the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) test. Post-compulsory school age subjects and activities do not form part of partial enrolment arrangements.

Principals should accept a partial enrolment arrangement where they are able to do so, e.g. having regard to the class size limit in a particular year level and/or subject area. The appropriate year level for the partial enrolment should be determined in consultation with the parent, with the final decision-maker being the Principal. Principals have the discretion to decline or cancel an enrolment where there are reasonable grounds for doing so, such as where the school’s capacity to accept the enrolment changes. Complaints regarding declined or cancelled partial enrolments that are unable to be resolved at the school level should be referred to the relevant DET Regional Office.

Parents and school principals each have responsibilities in establishing a partial enrolment arrangement, which differ slightly depending on whether or not the student is already registered for home schooling, as outlined below.

Students already registered for home schooling

Parents of students already registered for home schooling must:

  • provide the school with a copy of the official letter issued by the VRQA confirming their child’s registration for home schooling. This letter is provided to parents by the VRQA upon successful registration, and is the only form of evidence the principal can accept that proves the child is registered for home schooling
  • discuss with the school principal the conditions of the arrangement, including the enrolment and review period, attendance requirements, expectations around adherence to school-level policies and access to extracurricular activities
  • advise the VRQA in writing of the agreed partial enrolment arrangement
  • make relevant parent payments for essential education items (see section on 'Parent payments' below)

School principals, in consultation with the parents of the home schooled student, determine:

  • the enrolment period and frequency in which the enrolment arrangement may be reviewed (e.g. annually), noting that a school’s capacity to enrol a student in specified activities may change from year to year
  • the educational program to be delivered for the relevant subject/s
  • the attendance requirements, including whether a partially enrolled student is permitted to remain at the school before or after the specific activity (e.g. during lunch and recess breaks, or where the child may be reliant on intermittent public transport, such as rural buses)
  • the level of adherence that is expected towards school-level policies and procedures, including in relation to student dress code and student welfare and management policies
  • what, if any, student support programs or extracurricular activities partially enrolled home schooled students can access (e.g. student wellbeing support, out of school hours care, camps, excursions, school concerts and performances)

Students not yet registered for home schooling

Parents seeking partial enrolment as part of their home schooling registration application should:

  • approach a school principal to seek in-principle agreement to a partial enrolment arrangement before they apply for registration from the VRQA
  • discuss with the school principal the conditions of the arrangement, including the enrolment and review period, attendance requirements, expectations around adherence to school-level policies and access to extracurricular activities
  • if agreed in principle, indicate this arrangement on their home schooling registration form and provide the principal’s completed Notice of Intention to Partially Enrol a StudentExternal Link as part of their application
  • if the application is approved by the VRQA, provide a copy of their official registration letter from the VRQA to the school principal as evidence, and work with the principal to finalise the details of the partial enrolment arrangement
  • advise the VRQA in writing of any subsequent changes to the agreed partial enrolment arrangements
  • make relevant parent payments for essential education items (see section on 'Parent payments' below)

School principals, in consultation with the parents:

  • determine whether to agree in principle to accept a partial enrolment and the details, including the enrolment period and frequency in which the enrolment arrangement may be reviewed (e.g. annually), noting that a school’s capacity to enrol a student in specified activities may change from year to year
  • if agreed in principle, complete a Notice of Intention to Partially Enrol a Student and provide it to the parents for them to submit as part of their home schooling registration application
  • if the application is approved by the VRQA and the parent provides evidence of this in the form of the official VRQA registration letter, work with the parent to finalise the details of the partial enrolment arrangement, including determining:
    • the attendance requirements, including whether a partially enrolled student is permitted to remain at the school before or after the specific activity (e.g. during lunch and recess breaks, or where the child may be reliant on intermittent public transport, such as rural buses)
    • the educational program to be delivered for the relevant subject/s
    • the level of adherence that is expected towards school-level policies and procedures, including in relation to student dress code and student welfare and management policies
    • what, if any, student support programs or extracurricular activities partially enrolled home schooled students can access (for example, student wellbeing support, out of school hours care, camps, excursions, school concerts and performances)

In circumstances where the principal agrees to enrol the student, normal enrolment policies and procedures apply, including completion of all relevant forms.

Attendance requirements

All usual attendance procedures and requirements apply to partial enrolments:

  • home education students are expected to attend at all times when the activity in which they have enrolled is delivered by the school
  • unless otherwise agreed, they are also expected to participate in all aspects of the program in which they are enrolled (including related camps and excursions)

As noted in the section on 'Enrolment conditions and responsibilities', the school principal, in consultation with the parent, has the discretion to decide whether a partially enrolled student is permitted to remain at the school before or after the specified activity, including during lunch-time and recess breaks or where the child may be reliant on intermittent public transport, such as rural buses.

Assessment and reporting

If the activity the student is enrolled to undertake is the subject of assessment, then it is expected that standard assessment and reporting policies and procedures apply. That is, parents of partially enrolled students will be eligible to receive a report on their child’s progress in the specified activity.

Partially enrolled students will be eligible to sit the NAPLAN test. This can only be administered in a school-based setting. Students sitting the NAPLAN test will receive an Individual Student Report, which will be delivered to the school the student was partially enrolled at the time of taking the test. The student’s results will be confidential to the parent and will not be included in the school results, for example the My School websiteExternal Link .

For more information on student reporting refer to Reporting Student Achievement and Progress — Foundation to Year 10 (including for EAL students).

Funding implications

Subject to existing conditions, students enrolled as at the February Census will attract funding through the Student Resource Package (SRP) on a pro-rata basis.

A government school wishing to partially enrol a registered home education student with a disability may be eligible for supplementary funding through the Program for Students with Disabilities on a pro-rata basis, if the student meets the relevant eligibility criteria.

For more information on the SRP, refer to Student Resource Package — Overview

Parent payments

Parents of partially enrolled students are expected to make parent payments that are relevant to the activities they are partially enrolled to participate in, in accordance with the Department’s Parent Payment Policy.

For more information, refer to Parent Payments

Student transport

Access to student bus services and/or a conveyance allowance is subject to normal eligibility criteria. In accordance with existing procedures, this is dependent on the authorisation of the school principal.

For information on student transport, refer to:


Resources

Resources

Templates

Resources for parents

The following resources provide information for parents and carers on home education in Victoria.

Department of Education

Victorian Regulations and Qualifications Authority


Reviewed 24 February 2020