TAFE & Registered Training Organisations (RTOs)
TAFE and other Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) can be a great option for home-educated students wishing to pursue university studies or transition into a career.
Although technically possible for a few select courses, TAFE entry at age 14 can be difficult. It’s worth remembering that TAFE is primarily an adult learning environment and may not be suited for a younger student’s social and emotional welfare, even if they are academically capable.
Entry to TAFE becomes less complicated the older you are, however changes to funding and policy mean that entry requirements may differ from year to year. It is best therefore to contact TAFE or your preferred RTO to find out the requirements.
Admissions to TAFE
Applications for entry to full-time TAFE courses are managed by TAFE Admissions. Part-time courses are managed by each TAFE college directly. You can find more information about full-time TAFE admissions here. For part-time admissions, contact the TAFE you wish to study at.
When students are under 18, TAFE costs are quite affordable, with courses costing approximately $400/year plus resource fees. Once students are over 18, fees become thousands of dollars.
Admissions to TAFE work on a points system. A score of band 8 or above on the Year 9 NAPLAN (National Assessment Program – Literacy & Numeracy) test or passing the OLNA (Online Literacy & Numeracy Assessment) are often requirements for TAFE admission, however, there are other options for admission if a student hasn’t sat either of these tests.
A range of factors can contribute points toward TAFE admission including work or work experience, volunteering, courses and study completed through home education, and more. It’s best to call TAFE and chat with someone about your child’s situation. Speaking on the phone or in person is usually more effective than emailing.
Year 9 NAPLAN
Home-educated students can sit the NAPLAN test but it has to be done at the same time school students sit the test. Talk to your moderator about arranging for your child to sit the NAPLAN test. This website has more information on NAPLAN key dates and other information.
Home-educated students can sit the OLNA test instead of NAPLAN. This website has more information about OLNA and key dates. Contact the School Curriculum and Standards Authority for more information or to register: email@example.com
TAFE and Home Education Registration
If your child is enrolled and participating in a full-time course at TAFE and you have a completed and signed Parent and Health Consent form lodged with the State Training Provider, you may be able to deregister from home education and have your child on a Notice of Arrangements (NOA) instead. You can find information about the NOA here.
Some families with a student who is studying full-time at TAFE choose to remain registered for home education rather than be on a NOA. Talk to your moderator about what is most appropriate for your family.
If your child is studying part-time at TAFE, they will likely need to remain registered for home education and you will need to continue to show your moderator your child’s educational program and demonstrate that they are making progress. If your child’s TAFE studies do not include all the required curriculum areas for their age, you may need to show how your child is covering those extra areas.
Keep in mind that your child may well have covered many areas of the curriculum through to Year 10 level before they enroll in TAFE. You may be able to show the moderator that your child no longer needs to include a certain subject area if they have completed it already.
TAFE Tips from Experienced Home Educators
A Certificate of General Education isn’t a requirement
Some home-educators assume that students need to start their learning at TAFE or their senior secondary home education years by doing a Certificate of General Education but this is not the case. Whilst a Certificate of General Education may be useful for some students, many students are better served by choosing TAFE courses in areas of interest to them.
Enrolment age for different courses
Students usually need to be 15 or 16 to enroll in a Cert III or higher. Some TAFE courses have prerequisite certificates but some courses allow students to enroll into a Certificate III without first having done a Certificate I or II.
TAFE as a pathway to university
A Diploma course at TAFE generally provides entry to most university courses. Some Certificate III or IV courses may also provide a direct pathway to university, especially when combined with other elements such as a portfolio or STAT test.
Benefits of university entry via TAFE
TAFE is a more accessible pathway to university for many students than studying for the ATAR exam. Many parents find that when students pursue TAFE courses through their senior high school years, they finish year 12 with genuinely useful qualifications that can be used to find employment, practical skills in areas of interest, and eligibility (especially with a diploma) to start university if they wish.
TAFE can be very supportive
Many parents report that TAFE was very supportive of their student’s learning differences, challenges, or the need for accommodations. TAFE can also be supportive of students who have no experience with formal learning environments, providing they have a good attitude to learning.
The social environment at TAFE
Some parents report that their child thrived in the social environment at TAFE whereas others said their child found that difficult or required a significant period of adjustment. It depends on the personality, maturity, and readiness of the individual. RTOs may provide a different social environment for some students.
Registered Training Organisations (RTOs)
Costs for courses at RTOs are varied but usually significantly more expensive than TAFE for high school students, however, some RTOs may suit a student’s particular needs better than TAFE. Apprenticeships are also another option for some students in their senior secondary years.
This website has more information about RTOs and Apprenticeships/Traineeships.
This fact sheet provides very clear information about Apprenticeships/Traineeships for home-educated students.
Jobs and Skills WA is also a useful organisation to contact and talk to if you are seeking an RTO, vocational training, or an apprenticeship for your child.