Many parents choose to home educate because they know they can best meet their child’s special education needs through creating a nurturing learning environment in their home and community. When applying for an exemption from the Ministry of Education, the applicant needs to state whether the child has “special education needs” or not. More information may be required in order to get an exemption for a child with special education needs. This document from MOE comprehensively outlines the services you can (and can’t) access. Also, the Ministry of Education home education page has some information about home educating a child with special education needs including details about the services which can be accessed. Online networking groups are also a valuable resource and a place to ask other home educators about the exemption process for children with special education needs.

The NCHENZ Special Education Advisor has put together a Resource List for parents/caregivers of children with special education needs.

In addition to the information under the Exemption Application section, this is what the Ministry of Education expects if you intend to home educate a child with special education needs:

“Many children and young people have special education needs. This can include learners with learning difficulties, communication, emotional or behaviour difficulties, or intellectual, sensory or physical impairments. If your child has special education needs you must be able to satisfy the Ministry that your child will be taught “at least as regularly and well as in a special class or clinic or by a special service”. Special education means the provision of extra help, adapted programmes or learning environments, specialised equipment or materials to support children and young people with accessing the curriculum, support them with their learning and help them participate in education. The Ministry needs to be confident that your child will be taught as well as they would be in a school which provides appropriate special education assistance. An assessment report from the Ministry of Education’s Special Education team (SE) would be helpful (especially for a new entrant 6-year-old). This should ascertain the child’s level of needs and assist the Ministry in establishing your ability to teach “at least as regularly and well” as in a school that would provide appropriate special education assistance.”

Click here to see a list of the Ministry of Education special education district offices.

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At a glance …

  • You must declare whether or not your child has special education needs when you apply for an exemption
  • You need to satisfy MOE that you will educate your child as well as if the child was attending a special class or clinic
  • If your child does not have diagnosed special education needs when you apply for an exemption, but subsequently is diagnosed, there is no need to notify MOE