HOME SCHOOLING / INTERNATIONAL
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Australia


May 5, 2013

Number of Home Educated Students Grows by Healthy 8%

Submitted by Homeschool WA

The number of registered home educated children has grown in each Australian state and territory in the two-year period from 2011-2012. Australia-wide the average increase is a healthy 8%, with nearly 11,000 registered home educated students in 2012.

This continues the trend over the last five years where the number of registered home educated students has grown each year.

The ratio of home educated students to school students varies considerably between Australian states, as can be seen in the table below:

 

 

Australian

State or Territory

Registered home educated students in 2011*

Registered home educated students in 2012*

 

 

Percentage increase from 2011 to 2012

 

Ratio of homeschooled children per 1000 school-aged children

Australian Capital Territory

136

167

23%

2.2

New South Wales

2443

2763

13%

1.9

Northern Territory

51

56

10%

1.2

Queensland

891

951

7%

1.0

South Australia

891

1000

12%

3.0

Tasmania

603

660

9%

6.4

Victoria

3300

3430

4%

3.0

Western Australia

1806

1889

5%

3.9

Australia Total

10121

10916

8%

2.4

While the number of unregistered home educated students is impossible to determine, estimates range from an extra 10,000 to 30,000 students.

In 2012 a new government requirement for families was an activity test for parents whose youngest child was eight years old. These parents were required to do 15 hours of paid or voluntary work per week to receive the maximum financial support through the Newstart government program.

After lobbying by homeschooling organisations, the government agreed to exempt families who were registered for home education. However, unregistered families were penalised.

This requirement and other financial incentives are causing a gradual increase in the proportion of families who are registering with their local state government body.

Activity day for homeschoolers

Home education is legal in every state and territory except South Australia (SA). While not formally recognised in SA, students may be exempted from school attendance.

Stuart Chapman, director of Homeschool WA states, “Families often start home education as a result of a crisis. About 20% of our enrolments are students who have been bullied at school. Around 75% of these students are female in years 8–10. Another 25% are students who have learning difficulties and do not get the one to one support that they need in the classroom. These families are often emotionally fragile and require much support. Thankfully every Australian state and territory has homeschooling support groups to assist new families.”

Homeschooling continues to receive positive or neutral coverage in the Australian media. There is every reason to expect that home education in Australia will continue to grow in the foreseeable future.

*All figures in the table were obtained from government publications or by personal contact to relevant state departments by the author.

Stuart Chapman is the director of Homeschool WA, the only Australian based homeschool organisation to offer full teacher support, social events and home visits. He was also the Australian representative and speaker at the Global Home Education Conference in Germany 2012.

 Other Resources

Learn more by visiting HSLDA’s Australia page