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Qld’s home-school parents fight orders to teach Australian curriculum

“How would I report and plan on the curriculum if we have completed beyond the year 12 level of math?”

Bartle, a registered teacher in Queensland, recommended that teaching the national curriculum should not be legislated, and instead the words “high-quality education” should remain.

She said reporting progress on all subjects would add a challenge and burden.

“Parents are in the best position to determine what is in their children’s best interest when it comes to education,” she said.

Queensland University of Technology education researcher Dr Rebecca English said the increased compliance burden would drive families underground.

English said her work showed there were already significant issues with under-registration in Queensland.

“The department’s own review of home education in 2003 showed that significant numbers of families were not registered because of a fear of government intrusion, a perception of a hostile regulatory environment, a belief the department did not understand home education and home-school families’ needs and over-regulation,” she said.

English also pointed out the curriculum was designed for specialist teachers, and registration with the Queensland College of Teachers required a four-year degree.

Presently, one in five Queensland home-schooling students use the Australian curriculum, according to the department.

“That [20 per cent use the curriculum] gives us confidence that it’s appropriate and able to be used,” Kathleen Forrester, deputy director-general in the Education Department’s policy, performance, international and intergovernmental section, told a parliamentary committee briefing last week.


“We know some of our stakeholders are raising concerns [with flexibility], but we believe that parents still have the ability to tailor the learning experiences to topics and interests of the child while ensuring that the learning is consistent with the Australian curriculum.”

The 20 per cent figure was questioned by home education advocates, who said a plan template automatically mentioned the national curriculum, unless the line was deleted.

Home-schooling numbers in Queensland have more than tripled since before the COVID pandemic, with 10,048 students registered last year – up from 3411 students in 2019.

Since 2013, home-schooling numbers have skyrocketed by 807 per cent.

People sharing their experience on social media was a factor driving the trend, according to research by the Education Department.

English said research found families chose home education when they believed other educational options had failed them.

“Recently there has been a growth in home education after the pandemic when parents saw what was happening in classrooms during the online schooling phase of the lockdowns and were not happy with the ways classrooms were being managed and what was being taught,” she said.

The bill is being considered by a parliamentary committee before returning for debate.

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