New pathways open for senior secondary students

There are big changes to senior secondary education for students following a vocational pathway. ISV's Pam Hargreaves explains.

If you have kids in year 10 or 11, you’re probably having conversations with them about their plans for the final years of their schooling and the subjects they’ll be studying, to help set them up for their lives beyond school.

The conversations will likely be about what they’re good at, what type of student they are, their interests in and out of school, what they enjoy, and what they’d like to do in the future, after years 11 and 12.

If you’re having those conversations, you should be aware of changes to senior secondary school education that come into effect next year. The changes are designed to give students options that meet their individual needs, abilities and aspirations.

Two ways for students to obtain the VCE

From 2023, there will be two ways students can obtain their Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). Under the changes, students can enrol in VCE or the new VCE Vocational Major (VCE VM), a two-year program that will replace the current Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL).

The VCE VM is designed for students who prefer to learn in a ‘real world’ environment applying practical skills and whose aspirations when they finish school don’t depend on an ATAR for admission to university.

It’s a two-year program developed to be a pathway for students who want to take up an apprenticeship, traineeship, tertiary study, or to enter the workforce immediately after year 12.

Students study core units that include VCE VM Numeracy and Literacy, undertake up to a maximum 180 hours of vocational education and training in subjects that suit their interests. They must complete 16 units and are also able to choose from a range of other VCE subjects. There are no external exams.

For those who aren’t ready or able to complete the VCE, there is a new option called the Victorian Pathways Certificate.

The pathways certificate (VPC), is a new inclusive option, normally completed in years 11 and 12, but flexible so students can start earlier or finish over a longer period than two years. It’s a standalone offering and is not part of the VCE – but students who undertake it can transition to VCE or VCE VM.

Students must complete 12 units, including core components in VPC Literacy and Numeracy, and VPC Work Related and Personal Development skills. They also have the option of adding VCE, VCE VM and VET units, plus the option of accruing up to a maximum of 180 hours across multiple VET qualifications. There are no external exams or ATAR.

The Department of Education and Training advise the VPC is suitable for students whose education has been disrupted, who might have additional needs, who have missed significant periods of learning, or who are at risk of disengaging from their education.

Find out more from the VCAA
‘Get VET’ How do you like to learn? promotional video; © VCAA 2019