Welcome to our blog!

Welcome to the SHEAF Blog.

Despite our best intentions, we're not great at keeping this blog updated with our latest happenings. We are, however, definitely an active group, meeting at least once each week during term time.

If you'd like to make contact with Dunedin home educators, our contact details are in the column, below right.

We send out a weekly email newsletter with details of upcoming events, courses, gatherings etc.

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Have a look through this blog to see the types of events we have organised in the past. You'll also find links to other blogs and articles that we find useful or informative, on the off-chance that you'll appreciate them too :~) (Look for these more general blog-posts under the label "Weekend Reading")

If you're not currently on our email list and would like to contact us, please email us at the address you can see in the column on the right. We'd love to hear from you!

(Last updated May 2013)

Monday, October 18, 2010

NCHENZ Newsletter

****National Council of Home Educators NZ - Quarterly Newsletter****

4th Quarter, 2010

Welcome to our new newsletter. The National Council of Home Educators (NCHENZ) exists to encourage, promote, inform and advance the cause of home education in New Zealand at a national level. By creating this newsletter we hope to improve our communication with our members and the wider home educating community in New Zealand. Be informed! Be encouraged!

***Items in this newsletter - see below for details***
- Has there been a rise in 'declined' exemption applications? - we give feedback from talks with the MoE and ERO
- Do you know someone homeschooling while receiving a benefit? Recent changes to work requirements may affect them, beginning from the end of the 2010 school year
- Should NCHENZ be a charity? - have your say
- How do I join NCHENZ?

***Declined Applications***

Earlier this year it was brought to our attention that there has been an apparent increase in declined applications for exemption, especially in the Auckland region. NCHENZ, working together with Auckland Home Educators, met with ERO in June 2010. AHE has also held meetings with the MoE. As an outcome of those meetings, and from comparing notes with AHE, we can advise the following:

Declined applications can always be restarted from scratch. There is no limit on the number of times you can apply. However, please do read the application form thoroughly and carefully when applying. If you are unclear about how to fill it out, seek help. In most cases, your local support group will have members who have recently received an exemption certificate and who may be happy to help. Otherwise, NCHENZ, the Home Education Foundation or AHE (if you are in the larger Auckland area) may be able to assist.

Although there has been no official change of policy about the granting of Exemptions from Enrolment in School, there has been a change in interpretation of that policy by the Ministry of Education - particularly the Auckland office. In the past an application of only a couple of pages in length has been acceptable, but these are now unlikely to be accepted. In addition, if you are applying for more than one exemption you must make it clear how each child's educational needs will be catered for - i.e. the applications need to be different, to demonstrate the unique needs of each child.

This shift in interpretation of policy is in part because of changing requirements for schools. Schools are now largely expected to provide Individual Education Plans for children, and that for a child to be taught 'as regularly and as well' as in school, the individual needs of each child should be demonstrated clearly and in some depth in the application. Another possible factor is that ERO recently ceased their routine reviews of homeschooling parents. It is possible that in the past Ministry has allowed what it saw as 'borderline' applications to pass, assuming that ERO would act as a safety net. With the cessation of routine ERO reviews, the Ministry may be toughening up on these apparently 'borderline' cases. However, when asked, the MoE said that although the cessation of routine ERO reviews had indeed put more responsibility onto the Ministry, they did not think it was a factor in how they dealt with applications.

For the full report on the meeting with ERO, see our website

For information about AHE's meeting with the MoE, see the AHE website

***Work requirements for beneficiaries***

In September, NCHENZ circulated an email describing the changes to the work requirements for beneficiaries, and the impact this will have on homeschooling parents. In short, the regulations now require that a homeschooling parent on a benefit must show that "it would be unreasonable to expect the child to attend school because of the family's circumstances" for them to be granted an exemption from work testing requirements. Circumstances under which an exemption might be granted are: that the child has special needs; or that the family lives too far from a school. The new work requirements for beneficiaries that affect homeschooling parents come into force at the end of the 2010 school year.

We strongly urge everyone to support our fellow homeschoolers who are being affected by these changes. We never know when we might face a similar situation ourselves. You are welcome to leave a comment about this issue on our website. http://www.nchenz.org.nz/have-your-say/

More recently, we understand that some home schooling parents have taken this issue to the Human Rights Commissioner. Despite the decision having already been made at the Parliamentary level, you can still write to your MP, or the MPs in charge of the WINZ and Education portfolios about this issue.

You can also contact the Welfare Working Group, which was "established by Cabinet to undertake an expansive and fundamental review of New Zealand's welfare system". They will be making a report to Cabinet in February of 2011. http://ips.ac.nz/WelfareWorkingGroup/Contact.html.

***Charity status for NCHENZ?***

NCHENZ is currently deciding whether to pursue status as a Charitable organisation with the Charities Commission. If you are an individual NCHENZ member, or are a member of one of our Member Groups, you are invited to contribute to this discussion on our Yahoo discussion loop (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NCHEofNZ/), and by voting in the poll, which is currently live. This poll will close soon, so please make your opinion known.

***How to become a NCHENZ member***

NCHENZ is the only national home-educators' group which represents members democratically and by consensus. We need your membership in order to hear your ideas, and be as representative as possible.
Membership information and forms are available on our website

You have been sent this email because you are on our list as a Member of NCHENZ, or we have your email as the contact address for a Member or Associate Group. If you have received this email in error, please email us at info@nchenz.org.nz and we will remove you from our list.

YES!! You can forward this email! We exist to support all home educators, and people interested in home education in New Zealand, not just our members.

Contact us on info@nchenz.org.nz

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