THE MAJORITY of public school students in Victoria will be educated from home when Term 2 starts next week.
Premier Daniel Andrews today joined Minister for the Coordination of Education and Training – COVID-19 James Merlino to announce that following advice from the Chief Health Officer all state government primary, secondary and special schools will move to remote and flexible learning and teaching.
Government schools will recommence on Tuesday, April 14 with a pupil-free day before students begin classes on Wednesday, April 15.
The new arrangements will remain in place for the duration of Term 2 and then be reviewed.
The move comes to ensure the physical distancing will help slow the spread of coronavirus, with free internet access and laptops for those students who need it most.
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.
“I know this year will be different to any that students, teachers and families have experienced before – but we are making sure that our kids still get the education they deserve,” Mr Andrews said.
“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.”
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 (VCAA) 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 during this pandemic.
The message to students and parents of government schools is clear – all children who can learn at home must learn from home with exceptions only in extremely limited circumstances.
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 if their learning requirements cannot be conducted at home.
Physical distancing provisions will be made for the safety for teachers and kids.
The state government has announced it will loan more than 6000 laptops and tablets to students who do not have access to digital technology.
Schools will also distribute other classroom devices as required to ensure all students who do not have access to a laptop or tablet at home will be provided one.
The state government will also deliver free SIM cards or dongles to thousands of students at government schools who need them the most.
This includes an agreement with Telstra to provide 4000 SIM cards for government primary and secondary school students.
The state government has also purchased an extra 1000 SIM-enabled dongle devices.