The NSW Board of Studies will not remove the new Registration for Home Schooling in NSW information package from its website, despite a request from the Home Education Association.
Following the release of the new information pack in August, home-schoolers across the state were concerned that their flexibility to teach their children would be reduced, more reporting would be needed and it would be easier for board staff to visit their homes.
Representatives from the Home Education Association (HEA) took these concerns to a meeting with the office of the Board of Studies (BoS) last Wednesday.
In a response provided to the Mercury, the BoS said that although they were open to continued discussions with the HEA and would use their feedback to develop any future revisions to the pack, the current information pack would not be withdrawn.
Though they were aware of "differing views" on the pack, they said, some home-schooling families had suggested it would not change any aspect of their activities and had provided useful information about the new syllabuses to be introduced next year.
"The board is aware that home-schooling families need to be informed about the new syllabuses so that there is time for familiarisation and planning prior to 2014," they said.
"For these reasons, the withdrawal of the information package is not warranted."
The BoS said families who were already meeting the registration requirements before the updated information pack would not find it harder to get registered. Nor would it change their approach to home-schooling.
HEA treasurer Ingrid McCarthy, who home-schools her two children in Ulladulla, said she was disappointed but not surprised that the pack would not be removed.
The BoS will publish a question-and-answer document to accompany the current registration pack, addressing home-schoolers' concerns and to "clarify any misunderstandings". They have asked the HEA to work with them on developing it.
Ms McCarthy said the HEA had written to the BoS saying they would be unable to help develop that document as its members did not support the current information pack, but would be happy to work with them if the information pack was withdrawn.
"We want the opportunity to be able to consult with the Board of Studies, but it's a bit difficult when they're not willing to make any changes," she said.