Annual Home Education Registration Statistics for Australia

By Stuart Chapman

The updated results for 2013 are given below:

Annual Numbers of Registered Home Educated Students in Australia in each

State and Territory 2011-2013

Notes:

1.     Nationally, registered home-educated students grew by an impressive 13% from 2012-2013, which follows on from an 8% increase in the previous year.

2.     Tasmania is the state with the highest per capita rate of nearly 1% of students home educated.

3.     NSW home-educated numbers have increased by the largest percentage amount by a staggering 20%.   QLD and WA both also experienced extremely rapid growth, with both recording 17% increases.

4.     QLD per capita numbers are relatively low but QLD has the largest number of distance educated students, which is estimated to be close to 3000.

5.     Victoria has the largest number of registered home-educated students, totalling 3718.

6.     ACT experienced no growth in 2013, but this was this was after a huge 23% increase the previous year.

7.     SA had the lowest growth rate of any state and this may reflect that the SA has a relatively low population growth rate.  Furthermore, SA is the only state that does not formally recognise home education.  Children in SA must be enrolled in a school, which then grants an exemption from attendance.

8.     WA has the largest mainland per capita rate of 0.57 % of home-educated students.

9.     The age of compulsory attendance varies between some states.

10.The above figures were obtained from annual reports or by the author personally contacting the Home Education Department in each State.

Unregistered Students

These numbers do not indicate the number of students or families that choose not to formally register their children for home education.

No definitive statistics are available but estimates of the number of unregistered students vary from 10,000 to 60,000, with the average being around 30,000 students.

Various reasons are given for failing to register:

  • The registration process is overly bureaucratic and stressful
  • Some parents believe that they should not have to seek permission to home educate their own children and that the government has no right to interfere or require registration
  • Parents argue that they know their child’s needs better than any government official.  In other words, “What would they know?”
  • Some parents simply cannot see any benefit in registration
  • Some argue that as signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Australian parents have the right to choose the education for their child, and therefore registration is unnecessary.
  • Some see the process as a waste of time and of no educational value.
  • Some object to home visits (only required in some states)
  • Some find the government officials who visit as inconsistent or lacking in understanding of the reasons and different methodologies of home education
  • Home education families receive no government funding and therefore the government should have no say in how a family does home education
  • Research conducted in the USA has shown that extra registration compliance has made no difference to the outstanding outcomes of home education
  • There have been a number of complaints of rudeness, arrogance and a lack of understanding of home education by government officials.
  • Some do not wish to use the state mandated curriculum and would rather avoid discussion of the merits or otherwise of their curriculum with a government official.