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SHEN – Sydney Home Education Network

for organisers

Guidelines to help you plan, organise and execute a memorable event.

1. get started

Keen to organise an event but don’t know where to start? Here are some guidelines and ideas to get you on your way.

Each event is unique and, as the organiser, you’ll need to consider all aspects of your event.

An event can be an excursion, a workshop or some other one off event. Events can also be held regularly, such weekly gymnastics classes or a monthly park play.

how do i begin?

1. Contact the venue Education Officer (if the venue you plan to attend has one) or find the relevant contact.

2. Ask to make a school booking.

You may need to explain that you’re looking for school rates, as attendees will be school aged children. Some venues haven’t encountered home schoolers before and may question whether home educated children should receive school rates. You may need to explain what home education is.

2. questions to ask

  • What is the minimum number of children required to book this event?
  • How many free adult entries will we receive?
  • What is the cost for extra adults?
  • Are younger kids welcome? Will they be charged? Are they included in the total number of children? e.g., if 30 kids are booked to see a show, does this mean 30 school aged kids, or are pre-schoolers included in this number?
  • When is payment due and how?
  • What is the last day we can cancel the booking without any penalty?
  • How is the cost determined – actual numbers on the day or booked numbers?
  • What days and times are available?
  • How do I make a booking?
  • Do we need our own insurance cover? If you are an HEA member, you can list your event as an HEA event and request insurance  through the HEA. A booking can be made in your name, but you must cite “Home Education Association Inc” as the booking organization. Then list yourself as the contact person and ask that any mail, etc. be sent to your address.
  • Can I confirm the date, time and cost?
  • When do you need final numbers or cancellation?

3. cost

How much do you charge those who attend your event? This can be tricky, and depends on the event cost structure.


Sometimes an event is charged at a minimum cost. E.g., if the cost is $300 to attend a workshop with a maximum of 30 participants, the cost is $10/child.

If you’re reasonably sure that you can fill 30 spots, you’d charge the event at $10/child.

If you’re not sure, you might want to charge a little extra per child to meet the minimum cost.

SHEN can also help to reduce your overall event cost per student.


If you’re simply charged for the number of children who attend the event, attendees can pay on the day.

If, however, you’re charged for the number of children booked to attend the event, it’s better to ask for payment in advance.

You’ll still be charged for children who don’t attend, so specify that refunds cannot be given if a child does not attend.

Charge adults the price that the venue charges you.

This is a common scenario. E.g., you may receive one free adult entry for every 10 kids. As the organiser, you decide how any free tickets are distributed.

Generally, the organiser will use the first free ticket to compensate for time and incidental costs incurred in organizing the event. Some organisers, distribute free tickets at their discretion to other adults. Some divide the benefit and reduce the cost the per adult
across the group. There’s no right or wrong way.

4. payment

This is only a good idea if the venue will charge you for the actual number of attendees on the day. You can be almost certain to have a few no-shows.

You can request that attendees prepay, regardless of when you need to pay the venue. Remember to specify the final due date for payment!

It’s also best to specify that no refunds can be given after payment has been made, although tickets can be transferred to other people.


Prepayment ensures that you’re not handling large amounts of cash on the day of your event, or giving change etc. This can be time consuming. You’ll be busy meeting attendees, completing the attendance list and getting everyone sorted.

Prepayment forces people to commit to an event. Some people book into events and then decide on the day whether they wish to attend or not. Prepayment encourages them to think and plan before they book.

Prepayment ensures that you know who is attending. This is critical if costs are based on booked numbers. If people don’t attend on the day, and haven’t prepaid, you’ll be required to make up the shortfall.

5. insurance

If you’re a member of the Home Education Association (HEA), you can request HEA insurance cover for your event. We suggest that you read the HEA insurance policy, as some events are excluded.

HEA members contribute to the cost of insurance through their annual premiums. It’s only fair that non-members who benefit from this insurance also contribute. We suggest that non-HEA members who attend HEA insured events be charged an additional fee. The fee charged at SHEN events is currently $10/family/event. This is sent to the HEA. As event organiser, you can choose your own fee, if any.

6. promotion


  • SHEN website and newsletter. Just submit your event by filling in the online form. You can change your event if you need to as well.
  • SHEN Facebook group
  • Word of mouth
  • Social Media (other home schooling groups.)
  • HEA website and newsletter. 

Notify the HEA if you need insurance. (Note: You don’t have to advertise on SHEN to make it an HEA event. The two organisations are separate. But, of course, we’d love to share your event here too.)

7. bookings


Promote your event. Include details of the cost, and when and how to pay.
Set up a booking sheet. If you’ve listed the event as an HEA event, you can get a copy of the attendance register from the HEA.

Record names and payment details. Ask for a contact number for emergencies.
Set up ‘contacts’ in your email account with attendee email addresses so you can send final details, and any other messages, to the group.

8. communicate


  • Send out an email with the final details.
  • Specify the meeting time and place.
  • Provide a mobile number for the day.

9. on the day

  1. Bring your booking sheet.
  2. Ask attendees to sign the booking sheet.
  3. Enjoy the day!
  4. After the event (if it’s an HEA event) send your booking sheet to the HEA.