Victorian students to learn from home

Most Victorian students will be learning from home when Term 2 of the school year starts next week, while free internet access and laptops will be provided to students who need it the most.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for the Coordination of Education and Training – COVID-19 James Merlino announced this morning that all Victorian government primary, secondary and special schools will move to remote and flexible learning and teaching.

VCE students will still receive an ATAR score, but there will be a number of changes to the academic timetable for VCE and VCAL students.

Changes include moving the GAT test from June to October or November, postponing end of year exams until at least December, reducing school-based assessment tasks to relieve pressure on students as they move to remote learning and universities will be asked to delay the start of the 2021 university year to account for the impacts of COVID-19 on secondary students.

VCE study scores will continue to be a combination of school-based assessment and external exams. VCAL students will have more time to complete their courses and this will be consistent with the revised dates for the VCE.

The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority is also examining a compressed end-of-year exam schedule – including slightly shortening each exam – in recognition of the disruption caused by the pandemic.

A small number of students undertaking VET may have the award of their VCE or VCAL delayed until the beginning of 2021 so they can complete mandatory practical or workplace learning requirements – ensuring that they are not disadvantaged by the lack of hands-on practice.

Mr Andrews and Mr Merlino said the message from the government was clear, all children who can learn from home must learn from home.

On-site learning will only be available for children whose parents can’t work from home and vulnerable students without access to a suitable learning environment at home.

Small groups of VCE and VCAL students can also attend on-site for short periods of their learning requirements cannot be conducted at home and physical distancing provisions will be made for the safety of teachers and kids.

To ensure more kids can learn from home, the State Government will loan more than 6000 laptops and tablets to students who don’t have access to digital technologies.

Schools will also distribute other classroom devices to ensure all students who do not have access to a laptop or tablet at home will be provided with one.

Free SIM cards or dongles will be delivered to thousands of students at government schools who need them the most.

Priority for the SIM cards and dongles will be given to senior secondary students, students in bushfire affected areas, and families who cannot afford an internet connection at home.

Victorian government schools will resume on Tuesday, April 14 with a pupil-free day while students will begin classes on Wednesday, April 15 with the new arrangements in place for the duration of Term 2.

Mr Andrews said the government is making sure that Victorian students get the education they deserve.

“We’ve done the work and planning so we’re ready to make the move to remote and flexible learning, and I want to thank everyone involved for their dedication to our kids’ education at this unprecedented time,” he said.

Mr Merlino said every student will get the support they need.

“We Will provide a device to every child that needs one and provide thousands more with free internet,” he said.

“We know this is a difficult time, particularly for VCE and VCAL students, but we will support our students, our teachers and our schools every step of the way.”