The Exemption Process

Any child being home-educated from age 6-16 requires an exemption from the Ministry of Education (MOE). The application form and information to help you can be found on the Ministry of Education website. You can find the application form here but please note that you MUST download and save the application form to your computer before you begin to fill it in. If you do not your work will not be saved.

Once you have submitted the application it can take up to 6 weeks for it to be processed and your Exemption Certificate to be mailed to you. Do not remove your child from school before you have received their exemption, they may be considered truant.  In cases of stress, bullying, or medical issues – there are exceptions.  Contact us for more information.

Once you have received an Exemption Certificate for your child, it is valid until the end of the year in which they turn 21 unless you cancel it or your child starts attending school.  You do not need to apply each year. Twice a year the MOE sends home-educating parents a declaration letter (to declare that they are continuing to home educate) which must be completed and returned to the MOE.

In the declaration letter you can also elect to receive the supervisory allowance which is paid after processing your declaration near the end of May and November each year.  You can continue to home educate your child and receive the supervisory allowance until the end of the calendar year in which your child turns 21 but you cannot apply for an exemption for a child over the age of 16 years.

Writing your child’s exemption application may seem a daunting task at first but don’t panic! It is a very useful process to help you focus on your educational vision and clarify your future goals. The Ministry of Education has its own information page on homeschooling and the exemption process. You can find it at Ministry of Education – Home Education.

FAQ’S

Where do I send my exemption application?

Your exemption application should be posted, hand delivered or emailed to your local MOE office. In Auckland, the postal address is: Private Bag 92644, Symonds Street, Auckland 1150.  The physical address is: 12-18 Normanby Road, Mt Eden, Auckland.  The email address is: enquiries.auckland@education.govt.nz. The Auckland office will email to let you know they have received the application within one week of receiving it.  If you do not hear from them within one week please phone the MOE on 09-632-9400 or email us on govtliaison@ahe.org.nz.

When should I send in my exemption application?

Even though many people in NZ send their children to school at age five, a child is only legally required to attend school from the age of six.  Therefore you need an exemption for every child six years or older. You can apply for an exemption any time after your child turns five but it will only become active when your child turns six.  If your child is six years or older you must apply for an exemption before they leave school.  It takes 4-6 weeks to process an application – please allow sufficient time for this.

What do I need to put in my exemption?

The MOE will want to see an individualised programme for each child (including twins, triplets etc) but of course you can use the same routine, resources and community facilities for each exemption.  The MOE provides more information on how to fill out the exemption form here.

Do I need to follow the NZ Curriculum?

No, you do not need to follow the NZ curriculum, but you must include basic numeracy and literacy (maths, reading and writing).  All other learning areas are up to you. However, you are unlikely to have your exemption approved if your curriculum areas are too narrow.

Where can I view the NZ curriculum?

You can view the NZ Curriculum online at http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/

I need some guidance.  Where can I go for help?

The Ministry of Education provides guidance on how to fill your exemption form here.
There is also an online guide available (for a fee) written by Cynthia Hancox, an experienced home educator – Home Education Exemption Guide.

If you need additional help or reassurance you can ask for information and advice from experienced home educators you already know; attend an AHE Information Session (click here for the next Info Session); or seek help through either our Enquiries person (email: enquiries@ahe.org.nz or 09 3022 866), or our Government Liaison person (email: govtliaison@ahe.org.nz).

Is there someone who can look over my exemption application?

Yes.  Please contact us at govtliaison@ahe.org.nz

What about special needs?

You must state in your application whether or not your child has any special education needs and how you (or others) plan to home educate them taking that into consideration.