Compulsory Attendance Age
6-15 years old
Number of Homeschoolers
There are approximately 30,000 homeschooling families in Australia, including schools of distance education. The Australian Christian College (Australia’s largest Christian school of distance education) has over 1,700 families, with 4,000 students ranging from Preschool to Year 12 in its home education programs.
In Australia there are six states and two territories, each having its own Education Act, which incorporates regulations for home schooling. Thus, homeschooling is legal in all Australian states and territories. However, homeschoolers are required by law to register with their state or territorial education authority. Each state and territory has different requirements before granting home schooling registration.
Each state or territory government has a home school registration authority that seeks to register homeschooled (otherwise known as home educated in some states) children and to monitor their academic work. State Education Department officials are responsible for inspecting and approving home study programs. A Home Tuition Appeals Board makes recommendations to the Minister if parents or guardians refuse to accept the assessment by the District Director (Schools). In addition to home schooling, the states of Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia have registered non-government schools of distance education.
Queensland provides (section 114) that:
“every parent of a child being of the age of compulsory attendance shall cause that child:
- to be enrolled at a State school; or
- to be enrolled at a non-State school;
and to attend on every school day the State school or non-State school at which the child is enrolled unless mi is . . . a dispensation . . .”
Section 115 provides that:
“the Minister may grant to a parent of a child of the age of compulsory attendance . . . dispensation from compliance with any obligation set forth in section 114 . . . any of the following shall be deemed to be a valid reason for such dispensation:
- that the child concerned is receiving, in the opinion of the Minister, instruction
(i) in a place other than a State school or a non-State school in accordance with guidelines approved by the Governor in Council;
(ii) in a range of subjects acceptable to the Minister, in some other manner which, in the opinion of the Minister, is efficient and regular; or because of sickness or distance from a school.”
In other words, broad discretion is granted to education officials to recognize home schooling as equivalent to school attendance.
In Western Australia,
“exemption from the compulsory attendance provision of the Education Act 1928 at either a government or registered non-government school may be granted in cases where parents are able to provide an appropriate education program. Responsibility for inspecting and approving home tuition programs rests with the Education Department's District Directors.”
Families who participate in distance education operate at home in the same way as home schoolers, but they must have the support of teachers and educational resources associated with the school of distance education. Students who are enrolled in a school distance education are not required to register with state government authorities as the school distance education is subject to government scrutiny, not the family.