A mother has won an application to home school her child without providing Education Queensland (EQ) with her current address in a bid to keep her family safe from further domestic violence.
The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT), in a recently published finding, overturned a decision by Education Queensland (EQ) to block a grant approving home education registration on 19 December last year because a mother would not provide them with “her street number, street name and town name”.
The tribunal was told the mother, referred to in the decision as ‘SF’, and her children had moved from the family’s previous home in an attempt to escape domestic violence and wanted to ensure her former partner could not locate them.
“(SF) has been forced to seclude her location to keep her family safe,” QCAT member Bevan Hughes said in his 13 January decision. Despite (SF’s) efforts, her former partner has used numerous unlikely resources to locate her.”
Mr Hughes said one of SF’s children had been diagnosed with a condition affecting their ability to learn and had sought approval from EQ to home school the child.
“Although (SF’s) application otherwise meets the requirements for home education, the Department did not grant it because SF did not provide her street number, street name and town name,” he said.
“At one stage, the Department (EQ) was willing to accept statutory declarations from SF verifying her usual place of residence as simply a town. However, it has since changed its view on the basis that strict compliance with Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 requires an actual address to be provided on a certificate of registration.”
SF sought a review of that decision in QCAT on the grounds that neither the Act nor a form approved by EQ’s Chief Executive “expressly requires” that specific details of a full address be provided for the purposes of home-schooling registration.
Mr Hughes, in a 14-page decision published last Friday, said: “The Tribunal does not consider that an interpretation mandating SF to disclose her street number, street name and town name is necessary to achieve the purposes of ensuring her child is properly registered and that SF is able to be contacted, where she has provided a postal address, mobile number and details of her circumstances.
“By providing these details and remaining in contact, SF has provided a less restrictive and available way to achieve the purposes.
“A blanket and rigid interpretation of these terms is not responsive to SF and her children’s human rights.”
Mr Hughes set aside the EQ decision, substituting it with a decision to grant home education registration for SF’s child.
Read the decision.