Victorian Home Education Advisory Committee

The Victorian Home Education Advisory Committee (VHEAC) provides feedback to us and the VRQA about the regulation of home schooling.

Regulation of home schooling is outlined in the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017.

The VHEAC is made up of:

  • members of the home schooling community
  • representatives from the VRQA and the Department
  • representatives from the disability sector
  • a home education researcher.

A list of the home education representatives on the VHEAC and their contact details are provided on the HEN website.

If you're a parent, you can read about how to home school your child.

Join the VHEAC

Vacancies currently exist for home education representatives. Nominations for these positions were open to members of the home education community. Nominees expressed their interest in standing for election in writing to the VHEAC Secretariat at vheac@edumail.vic.gov.au before 14 June 2021. Nominees provided their name, contact details, and a 150-word blurb summarising their skills, experience and/or reasons for wanting to be involved in the VHEAC.

Nominees for home education representative

Name: Dr George Variyan
Blurb: My name is Dr George Variyan. I am a long-time home educating parent and advocate who understands the diversity of the home educating community in Victoria, and also Western Australia. I am currently an academic at Monash University, in the Faculty of Education, and am conversant with the wider research in home education internationally and through the work of my colleagues at Monash. I lecture in the Master of Educational Leadership, which includes teaching in ethics and decision-making. My current research work is in the area of gender in schooling, climate activism, higher education, and ethics. I am interested to bring my experience as a home educator, and academic, to support the role of the VHEAC.

Name: Kirsty James
Blurb: As a long-term home educator, I was involved with the 2006 and 2017 regulatory changes. I have always been active in the community, attending groups, running HEN science sessions, holding regular mums’ nights, starting a co-op, and organising excursions. Three of my children (15, 20, 22) have never attended school.

Being Assistant Co-ordinator of HEN with responsibility for Newbie Support has prepared me well for VHEAC. I check plans and reviews and created the HEN registration information. I have represented HEN in the media, and at VRQA and DET meetings where I discussed the inequality of TAFE access.

You may know me from Kryal, HEN Facebook groups, personal interactions, or not at all. Whatever our degree of relationship, I hope to represent you with integrity. I intend to promote and protect the interests of our wider community, ensuring that home education remains a valid alternative for the next generation.

Name: Megan Fisher
Blurb: I was home-schooled from prep all the way to the end of high school. During my university years I attended Purdue University and graduated with a science degree with a focus on virology and molecular biology. During my years as a student and after graduating I worked as a research assistant in a x-ray crystallography laboratory helping with viral protein production, purifying viral proteins, and working on data extracted from x-ray crystallography to determine the molecular structure of viral proteins.

Upon the arrival of my first child I stepped down from research and began teaching in the homeschool community. I have taught chemistry, maths, biology, art and dissection classes for over ten years. I currently homeschool all five of my children and we all attend a local academic homeschool co-operative.

Aside from homeschooling I teach English and citizenship classes to Afghan women in the Narre Warren South community. I grew up in a homeschooling environment and my kids are now second generation. Because of this I would like to be able to give back to the homeschooling community and share what I have learned from being homeschooled as well as being a homeschooling parent.

Name: Kamya Foster
Blurb: I am the mother of two teen girls, in our fourth year of home education. Having a lived experience of disability, I am a passionate advocate for choice in education models that enable the best fit for each child. My interest in serving on the Victorian Home Education Advisory Committee stems from this passion, from a desire to serve the home education community, and from a deep sense of fairness for all families to home educate their children in a way that suits their needs. I believe in fair access to education and opportunities for all children.

I have considerable experience in leadership roles and community service roles, having volunteered in community organisations for 30-plus years, including the Casey Cardinia Foundation Trust (a philanthropic fund), Rotary Club of Pakenham and our local church.

A Public Practice CPA accountant with 30 years experience, I strongly believe in accountability, collaboration and integrity. I believe I will bring a pragmatic approach to issues represented, offering respectful opinions and considered feedback.

Name: Michelle Heriot
Blurb: I believe children have a right to learn in an environment that supports them to develop healthy minds and a sense of who they are. I strongly align with home education as a vital and successful education option that caters for diverse needs, beliefs, and values in our community.

I would love to be a member of the VHEAC, advocating and lobbying on behalf of the home education community, and leveraging my experiences and skills.

My experiences and skills have spread over many industries (private, public and community organisations), including people with intellectual, physical, and psycho-social disabilities, and as a parent and home educator of a child with learning and social differences.

The roles and responsibilities I’ve performed have been educator, facilitator and coach, curriculum and program design and development, business, training and recruitment consultation, organisation set-ups including small businesses and RTO’s, as well as a member of a national industry committee, all of which incorporated administration, leadership and management.

I’ve collaborated with and led people with diverse personalities, beliefs, values, and motivations, have enjoyed the breadth of these experiences and value the changes I’ve been able to make for people’s lives. I believe I will be a valuable, passionate, and productive contributor within the VHEAC and look forward to being successful with my application.

Nominees for disability advocate representative

Name: Dr. Jenny Heriot, Au.D.
Blurb: My name is Dr. Jenny Heriot, Au.D. and I am passionate about improving the lives of children with disabilities. I hold a Doctorate in Audiology and for 16 years I’ve had the honour of watching children hear for the first time as a paediatric (and adult) cochlear implant audiologist. Nowadays, I’m a teacher; I teach audiologists how to program cochlear implants via Cochlear – where I work two days a week; I lecture at La Trobe at the graduate course in advanced audiology (one week a year), and I proudly home-school my two children alongside my husband. I have done this while managing my own disability, a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.

Our son - who has ADHD and is on the autism spectrum - wasn’t thriving in mainstream school. My husband and I began our home education journey with him, and it transformed our family life and his view towards learning. After watching his success, we began home education for our second son as well. When I’m not during the week, I run a weekend theatre troupe for kids on the autism spectrum (www.fullspectrumtheatre.com.au).

We have been so supported through our journey that I want to use this role to listen and support to other families on their journey. Thank you for considering me for this important role.

Name: Heidi Ryan
Blurb: I would like the opportunity to represent the diverse needs of home educators in the role of Disability Advocate, and feel my experience and qualifications align with the purpose of this role. I am currently home educating 2 of my 3 autistic daughters, whilst working in a support/mentor role in my local autistic community groups. I have spent the last 20 years working as a speech pathologist with early intervention and school aged children with multiple, complex, and varied disabilities, and recently upgraded my qualification to add a Graduate Certificate in Disability with a focus on advocacy. I am keen to put into practice the advocacy skills and knowledge gained, and feel my background supports my understanding of the individualised needs of the home educating disability community. I also grew up with a significantly disabled sister, and understand the family perspective of disability and education, including support for disabled parents.

Members of the home education community vote for their preferred candidate through an election process, which will be open for two weeks from 2 August 2021.

The VHEAC's future

The current home education representatives not up for election this time will vacate their positions in 2023. They may also nominate for re-election. 

Home education representatives (and the disability advocate) elected in 2021 shall hold tenure for four years from the date of appointment, after which time their positions will be open to election.   Membership of VHEAC occurs on a voluntary basis and no sitting fees are payable unless otherwise agreed with the department. Reasonable expenses incurred in participating in VHEAC's work will be reimbursed in accordance with our Travel Policy and Procedure and by prior agreement with the VHEAC Secretariat.

Communiques

Download communiques from VHEAC meetings:

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017