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Homeschooling changes axed from education reform

Homeschooling and suspension appeal rights have been removed from major education reforms proposed by the Queensland government.



Homeschooled children will not have to follow the Australian curriculum and suspended students won't get a chance to appeal disciplinary action under proposed Queensland education reforms.


Laws were introduced to parliament in March to mandate the Australian curriculum to homeschoolers in response to a surge in numbers - by nearly 200 per cent in 2023 - and to introduce the right to appeal consecutive short suspensions.


However, after a parliamentary committee hearing with education stakeholders, there were fears the reforms would further burden teachers and alienate homeschooled kids and their families.


Education Minister Di Farmer has announced the reforms will be withdrawn from the bill because of the impacts the laws may have on kids, families and teachers.


"I want to make it clear that while there are many aspects of the proposed bill that I fully support, there are a number of aspects that clearly need more time to work through to avoid any unintended consequences," she said on Monday evening.

Di Farmer is concerned that some aspects of the government's legislation need further work.


Instead, a Home School Advisory Group will be established to figure out how to deliver a high-quality home education to Queensland children.


The education department's Home Education Unit will also be reviewed to understand how it can best support families choosing alternative schooling.


The announcement was welcomed by homeschooling advocates who will be hosting a "peaceful picnic" at Queensland's Parliament House on Tuesday to support the withdrawal of regulated curriculum. 


"Queensland Home Educators want to ensure they are recognised, supported and are consulted appropriately, so that any legislation reflects the actual needs of home education in the community," Free2Homeschool campaign manager Patricia Fitzgerald said on Tuesday.


Shadow education minister Dr Christian Rowan called the withdrawal an "embarrassing debacle" for the government.


"Labor has descended into a government in chaos and crisis which utterly failed to consult and listen to Queenslanders on this issue and now has been forced to abandon its reckless plans," Dr Rowan said on Monday. 


Other reforms proposed in the education bill will remain including better sharing of information when students change schools, supporting digital learning and school-based frameworks for kindergartens.


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