Survey for education, training, industry and community stakeholders

The Review does not expect or require you to complete every question in this survey. Please complete the questions that are most relevant to you.

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For example, 'I am a current VCAL teacher at a Government secondary school'.

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Objectives of applied learning

The Review understands that vocational and applied learning is currently serving multiple purposes in Victoria, including student retention, student engagement and reengagement, inclusion and post-school transitions for students. While these purposes may appear to be in tension, they should be seen as being on a continuum towards a successful post-school transition. For example, viewing reengagement through vocational and applied learning as an initial step towards enhanced learning and a successful post-school pathway.

Design

The Review understands that there is some concern that the current VCAL structure is too complex (e.g. the relationship between different strands and levels) and that there is a lack of rigour in relation to assessment and curriculum content, particularly within the Literacy and Numeracy Skills Strand, and reporting of VCAL achievement.

The Review has heard that there are a number of design issues relating to VCAL, including the overall Victorian senior secondary certificate framework and the relationship between VCAL and VCE. Feedback suggests that there is a desire for more flexibility and permeability between the VCE and VCAL.

The Review has heard that VCAL plays an important role in providing pathways for students with special needs or in special settings, and students reengaging with education. Initial feedback from stakeholders involved with these student cohorts is generally positive about VCAL and the opportunity it provides students to continue with secondary school education.

Delivery

The Review understands that there are range of challenges impacting the delivery of vocational and applied learning, including difficulty accessing VET in rural and regional areas, and the cost of delivery and associated administrative burden relating to VCAL and VET.

During initial consultations, the Review heard that workforce challenges are also a barrier to delivering high-quality vocational and applied learning. These challenges include difficulty attracting and retaining high-quality vocational and applied learning teachers and trainers, capability gaps for existing applied learning teachers and limited opportunities for professional development.

Student outcomes

Feedback suggests that the lack of a clear objective and some design features of VCAL, VET delivered to school students, and SBATs are leading to differing views regarding what a ‘successful’ student outcome is. For example, is it a successful VCAL outcome if a student exits school early but successfully transitions into a full-time apprenticeship? Or is it a more desirable outcome for that student to complete their senior secondary certificate before transitioning into post-school education and training or work?

The current design of vocational and applied pathways also limits what outcome measures are available. In contrast to VCE, which focuses on achievement of study scores, much of the focus of VCAL student outcomes relates to completion rates. Some post-school destination data are also collected and monitored to help the system understand the outcomes for vocational and applied learners. However, post-school destination data are often not reported alongside completion rates.

The Review understands that further granularity of senior secondary student data could support schools and the system to measure success for vocational and applied learners and drive accountability for outcomes.

Reputation

Feedback suggests that the separation of the VCE and VCAL has led to VCAL being seen as the inferior senior secondary certificate, or as some stakeholders have phrased it, ‘not the VCE’.

The Review understands that for public confidence to improve, the design and delivery challenges outlined above need to be highlighted and addressed. It will not be enough to simply rebrand VCAL.

In consultations to date, the Review heard many examples of the benefits and career opportunities associated with vocational and applied learning. More could be done to improve public awareness and understanding of these benefits

Additional thoughts and comments

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