Blackburn High School VCE Handbook 2021

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Blackburn High School VCE Handbook 2021
CRICOS Code: 00861K
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development

Blackburn High School
VCE Handbook

                                                          60 Springfield Road Blackburn, Victoria, Australia 3130
Blackburn High School VCE Handbook 2021
Table of Contents

Our School Values and Learning Norms _____________________ 3                     Victorian School of Languages _________________________________13
Introduction to VCE Handbook __________________________________ 3                University Enhancement Studies ______________________________13
VCE Administration __________________________________________________ 4          Virtual School Victoria (VSV) ___________________________________14
VCE Learning Expectations _______________________________________ 4              General Achievement Test (GAT) _____________________________14
VCE Attendance _______________________________________________________ 5         Unscored VCE _________________________________________________________14
BHS Attendance Procedures _____________________________________ 6                Special Provision _____________________________________________________15
BHS Expectation & Procedures __________________________________7                 Special Examination Arrangements __________________________15
Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) ____________________ 8                  The Careers Website _______________________________________________16
VCE Scoring & the ATAR ___________________________________________ 9             Seeking Careers Support at _____________________________________17
                                                                                 Blackburn High School
Scaling ____________________________________________________________________10
                                                                                 Work Experience _____________________________________________________17
Changing or Withdrawing from ________________________________10
VCE Units of Study                                                               Career Action Plan ___________________________________________________18
Early start VCE _________________________________________________________11      VCE & Careers Expo ________________________________________________18
VCE Study Alternatives ___________________________________________12             VTAC (Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre) ___________19
Vocational Education & Training (VET) _____________________12                    SEAS (Special Entry Access Scheme) _______________________19
Vocational Education & Training (VET) _____________________12                    Post-School Planning & VTAC Interviews ________________ 20
and your ATAR
                                                                                 Seeking Wellbeing Support ______________________________________21

Acronyms                                                                         VCE Policies
Blackburn High School – BHS                                                      All Policies and supporting documents referenced
Victorian Certificate of Education – VCE                                         in this Handbook can be accessed by the Student’s
                                                                                 House Microsoft Teams.
Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority – VCAA
Victorian Tertiary Administration Centre ( VTAC)                                 Learning Achievement and Learning Norms Policy

Vocational Educational Training – VET                                            VCE Attendance Policy
Assessment Task – AT                                                             Uniform Policy
School Assesses Coursework – SAC                                                 ICT User Agreement
School Assessed Task – SAT                                                       Unscored VCE Policy
Information Communication Technology – ICT                                       VCE Subject Selection Handbook
Australian Tertiary’s Admission Rank – ATAR                                      Year 10 Subject Selection Handbook
University Enhance Studies (UES)                                                 Early Start VCE application
Virtual School Victoria (VSV)
General Achievement Test (GAT)
Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS)

Page 2 | BHS VCE Handbook, 2021
Blackburn High School VCE Handbook 2021
Our School Values and Learning Norms

Respect                                                     and knowledge required to understand and engage with
                                                            the world they live in.
Of oneself, others and of learning are displayed through
honesty, integrity, consideration and the celebration of    This is demonstrated through involvement in the rich
diversity in a safe and inclusive environment. We teach     opportunities within the school and wider communities.
students to have due regard for the opinions, feelings,     Students are supported to take increasing responsibility
wishes and rights of others.                                for their own learning, their relationships with others
                                                            and their participation in all aspects of their school life.
Pursuit of Excellence
Students are supported to reach their full potential        Learning Norms
by developing wide-ranging skills and capabilities,         We speak to students about doing their best learning
and to show growth academically, personally and             each day. We have learning norms for students and
socially. We value and celebrate effort and achievement.    staff which we believe leads to effective learning. Our
We motivate students to do their best, at whatever          learning norms are:
level that may be, by nurturing a culture of striving
for excellence which in turn opens up the pathways          – We enter the class on time, prepared and willing
to success.                                                    to actively contribute to our learning.
                                                            – We learn from our mistakes.
Citizenship                                                 – We challenge ourselves and others to do our best.
Students are encouraged to become active and
informed citizens through their participation at a local,   – We value curiosity, creativity and thinking.
national and global level. We teach students the skills     – We behave in a respectful and constructive way.

Introduction to VCE handbook

This handbook has been prepared to assist teachers,         Teams or the VCE Improvement Leader with
parents and students at BHS in matters relating to          any questions.
Victorian Certificate of Education and Vocational
Education and Training (VCE/VET). It also contains          VCE Improvement Leader: Martin Baxter
information on BHS rules relating to student
behaviour, roles and expectations as they complete
their VCE/VET courses.

The Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority
(VCAA) is responsible for the development,
maintenance and implementation of the VCE. The
information in this booklet is based largely on the VCE
Administration Handbook, an official publication of the
VCAA. Blackburn High School is fully accredited for the
conduct of the VCE.

Students enrolled at Blackburn High School must abide
by the administrative guidelines and regulations of
the VCE/VET/BHS. It is the responsibility of teachers,
students and parents to be fully aware of the VCAA
and BHS rules. Please contact your House Leadership
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Blackburn High School VCE Handbook 2021
VCE Administration

VCE Leadership Team                                        Careers and Wellbeing
Principal – Joanna Alexander                               Pathways Co-ordinator – Jay Brutovic
Assistant Principal – Caroline Gachon                      VASS Co-ordinator – Kaye Sampson
VCE Improvement Leader – Martin Baxter                     Student Wellbeing – Stephanie Cassidy
                                                           Assistant Principal – Geoff Vezey

VCE Learning Expectations
There is an expectation that VCE students will
demonstrate the maturity required to be a member of
the senior school community. Senior school students
should always role model positive behaviours and
attitudes in and out of class. Our BHS Learning Norms
provide a framework to guide and support student
learning behaviours both in the class and at home.

To be successful in the VCE students require a balance
of academic and extra-curricular activities. We actively
encourage them to be involved in a broad range of
school programs including:
– Curriculum areas
– House Performing Arts
– Leadership
– Mentor group
– Sport

In addition, they need to understand that there is a
distinction between homework and revision. Students
who maintain a regular revision timeline are more likely
to achieve a higher level of performance.

Page 4 | BHS VCE Handbook, 2021
Blackburn High School VCE Handbook 2021
VCE Attendance
VCE students, as stipulated by VCAA, must meet            Approved absences
the attendance requirements of BHS.
                                                          Approved absences are a result of illness or students
VCE students should attend all scheduled classes for      engaging holistically in the breadth of programs and
each VCE unit. Routine and regular class attendance       experiences available to students at Blackburn High
is required for the student to acquire and demonstrate    School, these include:
mastery of the pre-requisite skills and knowledge.        – Absences supported by a medical certificate or
Teachers need to be able to sight the development           similar medical documentation, which must be
of these understandings if they are to validate and         lodged with the house administration assistant in
authenticate the student learning. Students who do          the student’s House.
not regularly attend scheduled classes will struggle
to demonstrate the understandings and required            – A student’s participation in another aspect of the
capabilities to gain a Satisfactory rating for each         school’s educational program (such as sport, music,
Outcome and an overall Satisfactory for the VCE study.      excursion or camp).

VCE Units are based on the VCAA required minimum of       Unapproved absences
50 hours of class time. All students should ensure that   Unapproved absences may result in authentication
they are familiar with the contents of this document as   issues for the student, these include:
well as VCAA information on VCE and VET subjects.
This information can be found at:     – Absences covered by a parent or guardian note,
as well as on the school careers website.                   but without a medical certificate.
                                                          – Holidays taken during school time.
A VCE student’s absence from class will be deemed
either an approved absence or an unapproved.              – An absence from a whole school activity.
                                                          – Lateness to class. A student who is late to class
                                                            will be permitted to enter the class at but will be
                                                            recorded as ‘late’ and this lateness will be counted
                                                            as an unapproved absence for the time missed.

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Blackburn High School VCE Handbook 2021
BHS Attendance Procedures
This information needs to be read in conjunction with         Signing out when leaving school
the Blackburn High School Attendance Policy.
                                                              before 3.15pm
Blackburn High School students should attend their
classes daily and actively participate in their learning      – Similar to signing in procedures, the school needs to
to assist them to achieve their best. Attendance data           know which students are attending school and which
for students is available in real time via the Student or       students are not on school grounds with regard to
Parent Portal.                                                  signing out.

The Victorian Department of Education research                – Students attendance and signing out is being
literature clearly demonstrates that the single most            monitored, in line with the school’s Emergency
important determinant to a successful senior secondary          Management Plan, and any student failing to sign out
school experience is a high rate of attendance. We              will receive a Friday Assistant Principal’s Detention.
support students to achieve 100% attendance and                 Significantly it may put staff and/or students’ safety at
celebrate students who achieve high attendance.                 immediate risk if there was an emergency at school.

The mentor teacher, house leadership and wellbeing            – All students need to sign out at their House if they are
teams provide students with support to achieve 100%             leaving before 3.15 pm.
attendance. Mentor teachers routinely monitor the             – All Years 11 and 12 students must sign out when
attendance of their mentor students. When the student           leaving before 3.15pm on a Wednesday. On Wednesday
has been away for two or more days the Mentor Teacher           there will be a year level list that students must sign
will communicate with the student and/or parents to             instead of the normal sign out sheet.
determine if additional support is required. When the
                                                              – If students are staying at school with no scheduled
student’s low attendance places them in a position where
                                                                classes, then they must sign out on the relevant year
they may not successfully achieve their learning, formal
                                                                level sheet and sign back in again on the normal sign
communication will be sent to parents or guardians.
                                                                in/out page.
Our House programs are key parts to education at
                                                              – Students must not sign out for another student or ask
Blackburn High School and compliment the learning and
                                                                someone else to sign out for them. If students notice
teaching programs. For the student to achieve their best
                                                                that someone else has not signed out, please remind
at school and for staff to provide the required assistance,
                                                                them to do so.
all students are required to attend mentor group and
actively participate in house programs and assemblies.        The normal sign/out book will still be available for all
House programs and assemblies provide connection              other students to use. Normal sign in and out procedures
opportunities for students and staff, as well as informing    apply all other times.
students about school and important VCE information.
                                                              Leaving School Grounds
Reporting student absences and/or                             VCE students are required to remain on school grounds
arriving late to school                                       between their first and last scheduled classes, including
                                                              mentor group. Students are not to leave school premises
The student’s parent or guardian should use the Parent
                                                              at any time during the day unless they have signed out
Portal to registrar their child’s absence.
                                                              at their House Office and have parental approval to leave
When a student is absent from school their parent(s) or       school for a valid reason such as a medical appointment,
guardian(s) will receive a text message - provided they       dental appointment or other unavoidable reason. Staff
have registered their mobile number on the system.            monitor student attendance daily.
If a student arrives late to school, their parent(s) or
guardian(s) must use the parent portal to document the
time of arrival and reason for being late. The student
should bring a note from a parent or guardian to give
to the house administration person and sign in at
their House Office if they arrive at school after 9am.

Page 6 | BHS VCE Handbook, 2021
Blackburn High School VCE Handbook 2021
BHS Expectations & Procedures

Uniform Requirements                                       of each term. If students have concerns with the use
                                                           of the kitchen, they should communicate with the
VCE students are always required to adhere to the          school captains.
school uniform policy. Year 12 students may wear
the Year 12 rugby top in place of the regular school
jumper and blazer. The Year 12 rugby top must not be       Students Driving to School
defaced, and if it is, students will be expected to wear   The School is responsible for student safety not only
their blazer.                                              while they are at school, but also on their way to and
                                                           from school. Students who wish to drive to school
VCE students are expected to wear their blazers            must complete a Vehicle Registration form which is
for formal occasions, such as School Assemblies.           located on the House Microsoft Teams. Students are
In Term 4, Year 12 students may wear neat casual           not permitted to park their cars on school grounds.
clothing, aligned to the school values, during their       As per VicRoads regulations, students must not
final week of formal classes. The senior student           drive with more than one passenger. Students who
leadership team plans a themed approach for each           wish to travel to and from school as a passenger in
day. If a student does wear inappropriate clothing,        another student’s vehicle must have written parental
they will be asked to remove the item of clothing          permission and these forms are available from the
or be sent home to get changed into appropriate            house office.
clothing. The Principal reserves the right to
determine what is or is not acceptable clothing.           ICT User Agreement
Students whose clothing is deemed inappropriate            VCE students are expected to abide by the School’s
will be asked to see the relevant House Leader and a       ICT User Agreement. For more detailed information
parent or guardian may be contacted about a student        please refer to the ICT User Agreement.
wearing suitable clothing.

Study Periods
The purpose of Study Periods is to support student
learning. Students may wish to work independently
or collaboratively to consolidate understandings.
Students can access study areas throughout the
school including the Resource Centre or House
Study area.

Step Up Program
Step Up occurs at the end of each calendar year.
The Step-Up program is designed to orientate
and familiarise students with their teachers and
expectations associated with their VCE study.
These outcomes occur while classes commence
their learning activities for the year ahead.

Year 12 Kitchenette
Year 12 students have access to a kitchen which
 can be used throughout the day. Students should
respect the area and clean up after themselves. All
food and unwashed equipment will be removed at the

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Blackburn High School VCE Handbook 2021
Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE)

Satisfactory completion of VCE                             School Assessed Coursework –
The VCE is awarded on the basis of satisfactory            (SAC) Unit 3 & 4
completion of units according to VCE                       Students are required to complete each SAC on the date
program requirements.                                      specified by their teachers, under supervised conditions.
                                                           If a student misses a scheduled SAC due to an approved
The minimum requirements to gain the VCE are:
                                                           absence the teachers will reschedule an alternate sitting.
– satisfactory completion of 16 units, which               The onus is on the student to supply documentation for
  must include:                                            their absence to their House Administration Assistant.
– three units from the English group, including            If a student’s absence from the SAC is unapproved, they
  a Unit 3–4 sequence                                      will receive a zero for that SAC. This result will impact on
– at least three other sequences of Unit 3–4 studies,      their overall level of achievement in the VCE study.
  which can include further sequences from the
  English group                                            School Assessed School
To satisfactorily complete VCE Units students              Tasks (SAT’s)
must demonstrate all the required knowledge and            In a range of practical and folio based subjects teachers
skills outlined in each VCE Study Design. Evidence         will monitor and record each student’s development of
of achievement of outcomes is collected by the             work, from planning and drafting through to completion,
teacher through a range of tasks that are designated       in the study specific School Assessed Task Authentication
for the study. These can be a mix of scored and            Record form. This requires regular sightings of the work
unscored tasks.                                            by the teacher. Observations of individual work done in
                                                           class will also be recorded. The teacher and student sign
The decision about satisfactory completion of a unit is    each recorded observation.
distinct from the assessment of levels of achievement.
                                                           Students are required to submit each SAT criteria on the
The VCE is normally completed over two years, but          date specified by their teachers. If a student misses a
students may accumulate units over any number of           scheduled SAT due to an approved absence the teachers
years. It is possible for adults returning to study, and   will reschedule an alternate submission time. The onus is
students who have received credit equivalent to a full     on the student to supply documentation for their absence
Year 11 in another jurisdiction, to complete their VCE     to their House Administration Assistant. Otherwise, SAT
in a single year.                                          will default to a zero score for those criteria.

Assessment Tasks – Unit 1 & 2                              If a student’s absence for the final submissions for any
                                                           SAT criteria is unapproved then they will receive a zero
Students are required to complete each Assessment          for that SAT criteria which will impact on their overall
Task on the date specified by their teachers, under        result in the VCE study.
supervised conditions. If a student misses a scheduled
Assessment task due to an approved absence the
teachers will reschedule an alternate sitting. The onus    The Learning Achievement and
is on the student to supply documentation for their        Learning Norms Notification
absence to their House Administration Assistant.
                                                           The Learning Achievement and Learning Norms
If a student’s absence from the Assessment Task            Notification policy assists teachers to support and
is unapproved, they will receive a zero for that           communicate to students, their parents/carers and BHS
Assessment Tasks. This result will impact on their         staff about the expectations of completing Assessment
overall level of achievement in the VCE study.             Tasks, School Assessed Coursework/ School Assessed
                                                           Tasks and adhering to learning behaviours as outlined by
                                                           our student learning norms.

Page 8 | BHS VCE Handbook, 2021
Blackburn High School VCE Handbook 2021
VCE Scoring & the ATAR

Study Scores                                                 How is the ATAR calculated?
The majority of VCE studies generate a study score           VTAC uses VCE results issued by the VCAA (Victorian
out of 50. Each study score is generated as a result         Curriculum and Assessment Authority) to calculate
of the student’s level of achievement in their scored        the ATAR. The ATAR is a percentile rank, so it shows
assessments. The scored assessments consist of both          the relative performance of each student compared
internal SAC’s/SAT’s and the VCAA examination.               to everyone else in their age group.

A student must be assessed for levels of achievement         The ATAR is a rank based on each student’s aggregate
in a minimum of two of the graded assessments in order       (or total) produced by adding:
to receive a study score.                                    – The VTAC scaled study score in one of English,
                                                               English Language, Literature or English as an
Please note: The following five combinations of VCE
                                                               Additional Language (EAL)
studies cannot be included in calculations of the ATAR;
that is, only one study from each of these combinations      – The next best three VTAC scaled study scores
could be used to calculate the ATAR. Students who              permissible; and
are enrolled to study the same language in both a VCE        – 10% of the fifth and sixth permissible scores
Languages study and a Certificate II or III VET language       that are available.
qualification (either simultaneously or sequentially) will
receive credit for only the VCE Languages study.
– An English and English as an Additional Language (EAL)
– Chinese and Chinese as a Second Language (CSL)
– Indonesian and Indonesian as a Second Language (ISL)
– Japanese and Japanese as a Second Language
– Korean and Korean as a Second Language

No more than two studies of Maths, English, Music, History
and LOTE can be included in the primary four; the other
may be used as an increment for the Australian Tertiary
Admissions Rank. i.e. treated as a fifth or sixth study

Australian Tertiary’s Admission
Rank (ATAR) – Calculation
The ATAR is not a score out of 100. It is a percentile
rank. It shows a student’s achievement in relation to
the other students across Victoria that completed
their VCE in the same year.

The ATAR is calculated by VTAC solely for the use
of tertiary institutions to compare the overall
achievement of students who have completed different
combinations of VCE studies. VTAC forwards the
ATAR along with application information to selection
authorities at institutions.

                                                                                          W: | Page 9

What is scaling?                                            Why are subjects Scaled?
Scaling adjusts for the fact that it is more difficult to   To select applicants fairly, institutions need an overall
obtain a high VCE study score in some studies than          measure of the performance of students undertaking
others. This is not because some studies are inherently     the VCE in all studies and in all combinations. Study
harder or easier, it is because some studies attract a      scores are scaled to consider the different levels of
more competitive cohort of students.                        competition in different studies.

Scaling ensures that students are neither advantaged        More detailed information relating to subject scaling
nor disadvantaged based on the studies they choose.         can be found at the VTAC website.
All VCE study scores are scaled by VTAC.
                                                            The Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC)
                                                            advises that satisfactory completion of a scored Unit
                                                            3–4 sequence from the English group of studies is
                                                            required for the calculation of a student’s ATAR.

Changing or Withdrawing from VCE Units of Study
Blackburn High School dedicates time and resources to       Students may apply to either change or withdraw from
ensure pathway planning and subject advice is available     VCE Units of Study in accordance with the policies
to all students prior to subject selection. However, each   located at: on the
semester some students request to change or withdraw        Blackburn HS Careers Website.
from subjects they have selected to complete as part
of their course of study and the school needs to ensure     All students and families are strongly encouraged to
this process is regulated.                                  read the Subject Change Policy and Process to ensure
                                                            they understand the appropriate reasons Subject
                                                            Changes and Withdrawals are permitted.
Page 10 | BHS VCE Handbook, 2021
Early start VCE

We expect, challenge and support students to achieve their best in
all facets of school life. The school value ‘pursuit of excellence’ and
our learning norms framework provides the context for teachers and
students to achieve their best daily.
Year 9 students can submit an application to participate      Studying a Units 1 & 2 subject
in the early start VCE and the benefits to students
doing an early start VCE are:                                 in Year 10
– Being immersed in and learning about VCE policies,          Year 9 students will need to complete a written
  as well as learning and assessment pedagogy                 application, available in the Year 10 Course Handbook,
  and procedures.                                             and demonstrate consistent academic performance
                                                              overall, in Semester 1. In addition, a very good work
– Concentrating on VCE learning in one area of study          ethic needs to be demonstrated and endorsed by
  during their Year 10 studies.                               the classroom teacher and the Learning Area Leader.
– The student can decide if the Units 1 and 2 subject         Students are still required to choose 5 subjects in Year
  they study should be continued to be studied in             11 and 12 as per VCE subject selection guidelines.
  Units 3 and 4.

We offer Year 9 students who have performed at a high
                                                              Studying a Units 3 & 4 subject
level with their learning an opportunity to submit an         in Year 11
application to study one Units 1 and 2 class during their     Subject to approval, eligible students may undertake
Year 10 studies. The school examines the student’s            Units 3 and 4 in Year 11. Year 10 students who have
sustained learning profile, assessment data and               performed well in their Units 1 & 2 subject will be given
application to determine if students can participate in       the chance to study a Units 3 & 4 subject as part of
an early start VCE. Therefore, Year 11 students who have      their Year 11 studies if they have continued to perform
performed well will be given the chance to study a Units      at a high learning standard. This selection can be made
3 & 4 subject as part of their Year 11 studies if they have   during the usual subject selection process.
continued to perform at a high learning standard.
                                                              Most students will follow a chronological pattern of
                                                              units from Units 1 to 4, generally taking Units 1 and
                                                              2 in Year 11 and Units 3 and 4 in Year 12. This is the
                                                              recommended procedure and the VCE program is
                                                              arranged on this understanding.

                                    VCE Studies at Blackburn High School
                                    For more information about the VCE studies offered at BHS please refer to
                                    the VCE subject selection Handbook.

                                                                                             W: | Page 11
VCE Study – Alternatives
In addition to the VCE studies offered at BHS, our
students are able to access VCE studies, or equivalent
at a range of external providers. These studies broaden
the range of subjects available to students or enable
specific vocational or academic courses to be explored
while still engaged in secondary education.

All students seeking access to such courses must have
an approval from the VCE Improvement Leader and the
Careers team prior to enrolling.

Vocational Education & Training (VET)

As part of your senior schooling, you are now able to       that qualification. So, the faster you can learn and
study courses that not only contribute towards your         demonstrate these, the quicker you can complete
VCE, VCAL and ATAR (with certain restrictions), but         the qualification.
also give you an industry recognised qualification
when you complete that course.                              For a full list of VET course available please refer to
                                                            the Blackburn HS Careers Website.
The courses are called vocational courses and can
be studied at school or through another Registered          The fantastic thing about all these courses is that
Training Organisation such as TAFE.                         not only do they contribute towards your VCE/VCAL
                                                            (and some will count towards your ATAR depending
These vocational courses form part of the Australian        upon your pattern of study), but you will also gain an
Qualifications Framework. This is the national standard     nationally recognised industry qualification. This means
of training and means that a qualification you receive      that if you choose to go to TAFE when you leave school,
here, is recognised anywhere in Australia. The courses      and continue your study in that same area, you will be
are also “Competency Based” – this means that you           deemed to have completed part of that TAFE course
move through the course and achieve the relevant            already (you did it while still at school!).
qualification by demonstrating that you have the
knowledge and can perform the skills required for

Vocational Education & Training (VET) and your ATAR
Students receive a (S) for a unit of competence when they have demonstrated competence (achievement of all
learning outcomes) as assessed by the Registered Training Organisation (RTO). Most VCE VET programs consist of
four VCE VET units containing one Unit 3–4 sequence. Students will receive a (N) for a Unit of Competence if they
have not yet demonstrated competence. Students receive a (N) for a module when they have not yet demonstrated
achievement of all learning outcomes.

Page 12 | BHS VCE Handbook, 2021
Victorian School of Languages

Students intending to study a language outside school must notify the VCE Improvement Leader and submit
enrolment forms to the VASS coordinator. The list of languages is available through the Victorian School of
languages or an alternate provide provider.

University Enhancement Studies

University enhancement studies                               These studies:

can be accessed by students who                              – contribute to the satisfactory completion of VCE
meet the selection criteria as                               – can contribute between 3.0 and 5.5 as an increment
                                                               to a student’s aggregate and therefore contribute
outlined by the relevant university.                           to their ATAR

Normally students enrolling in university studies will be    – provide students with the experience of studying
in the top 5% of the state, based on results in a unit 3-4     at first year university level
sequence completed as a Year 11.                             – students may get credit towards university completion

                                                                                         W: | Page 13
Virtual School Victoria (VSV)
The VSV provide students with an opportunity to             at the VSV. A student will only be considered for
complete subjects that are either not offered at their      enrolment into a VSV subject if the student is unable
school, or not available due to timetabling clashes or      to access a subject is a pre-requisite for tertiary entry.
other issues. All VSV subjects have been developed and
are taught in accordance with the VCAA requirements.        Students wishing to participate in either an
The Principal must approve any application to study         enhancement or VSV program must seek additional
                                                            information from our Pathways Coordinator.

General Achievement Test (GAT)
The GAT, or General Achievement Test, is run by             sequences are expected to sit the GAT and will not
VCAA for all students studying a Unit 3/4 subject.          be granted an exemption on those grounds.
The purpose of the GAT is to allow VCAA to measure
a student’s performance against their ability. The mark     The General achievement Test is a test of general
for the GAT is used as a check for determining your         knowledge and skills in three broad areas:
final score for a subject or as one of the inputs used to   – Written communication
calculate a Derived Examination Score. Thus, it is very
much in the interest of the students to do as well in it    – Mathematics, science and technology
as possible.                                                – Humanities, the arts and social sciences

Students not completing any                                 All students enrolled in one or more VCE/VET units 3
                                                            +4 sequence must sit the GAT. While no special study
graded assessments                                          is required or possible, students should familiarise
                                                            themselves with the scope and structure of the
Students not completing any graded assessments
                                                            examination by trialling proof GAT examinations.
associated with VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3–4

Unscored VCE
Purpose                                                     it may be in the best interests of some students to take
                                                            up the option of an Unscored VCE and the school needs
Blackburn High School dedicates time and resources to       to ensure this process is regulated.
ensure pathway planning and subject advice is available
to all students prior to completing their VCE. However
                                                            – To ensure that the integrity of the parent/student
                                                              information sessions, course selection process and
                                                              pathways advice remains consistent and clear
                                                            – To ensure decisions to undertake an Unscored VCE
                                                              are made for the appropriate educational and career
                                                              planning reasons
                                                            – To ensure that all changes to student learning are
                                                              approved by the appropriate school leaders
                                                            For more information please refer to the Unscored
                                                            VCE Policy.
Page 14 | BHS VCE Handbook, 2021
Special Provision
VCAA Special Provision aims to undo disadvantage and         outcomes of a VCE or VCAL unit. Students absent from
seeks to enable all students the opportunity to perform      school for prolonged periods must still comply with the
their best. By ensuring that all students are provided       school’s authentication procedures to demonstrate that
with the support to demonstrate their capabilities if        they have completed the work and that the work is
their learning and assessment programs are affected by       their own.
disability, illness, impairment or other circumstances.
                                                             Students who are eligible for integration funding may
Students may be eligible for Special Provision if, at any    not necessarily meet the eligibility criteria for Special
time, they are adversely affected in a significant way by:   Provision in the VCE or VCAL.
– an acute or chronic illness                                There are four areas of Special Provision for the VCE:
  (physical or psychological)
                                                             – Student programs
– factors relating to personal circumstance
                                                             – School-based assessment
– an impairment or disability, including
  learning disorders                                         – Special Examination Arrangements
                                                             – Derived Examination Scores
These circumstances do not include matters or
situations of the student’s own choosing, such as            In each case there are specific eligibility
involvement in social or sporting activities or school       requirements that apply. For student programs and
events. Prolonged absence from school or study is            school-based assessment, the school is responsible
not in itself grounds for Special Provision. However,        for determining eligibility and the nature of the
provisions are available to students experiencing severe     provisions granted. For Special Examination
hardship that may result in prolonged absence.               Arrangements and Derived Examination Score
                                                             applications, the VCAA is responsible for determining
Students granted Special Provision must still complete       eligibility and for granting approval.
all school work related to satisfactory completion of the

Special Examination Arrangements
Students may apply to the VCAA for Special                   – motor coordination disorder
Examination Arrangement undertaking Units 3&4
                                                             – hearing impairment
studies. Students are eligible for Special
Examination Arrangements if it can be demonstrated           – vision impairment
that achievement on the examination will be
adversely affected by accident or sudden onset               Applications for Special Examination Arrangements
of illness, personal, family circumstances or long           for each student must be made through the VCE
term impairments.                                            Improvement Leader, be endorsed by the principal
                                                             and be supported by recent professional and/or other
Students are eligible for Special Examination                specialist reports and school-based evidence.
Arrangements if it can be demonstrated that their
capacity to access a VCE external assessment is              Special examination arrangements may take the form
impaired due to one or more of the following:                of extra reading time, extra writing time, rest breaks,
                                                             separate room or the use of technological aids. The
– mental health condition                                    relevant information with the required supporting
– health impairment                                          documentation must be submitted to VCAA by the
                                                             due date.
– physical disability
– specific learning disorder                                 If you have an questions regarding special provisions
                                                             please contact your house team.
– language disorder
                                                                                            W: | Page 15
The Careers Website
BHS has a purpose-built Career Information Website        The website also allows the BHS Careers Team to
located at:                communicate directly with students and families via
                                                          the Message Board. It also has a student login area that
The site contains a significant amount of information     allows you to take part in many career development
and is frequently updated with new dates and              activities such as Job Research, Career Action Planning
resources. The BHS Careers Website is a one stop shop     and Resume Writing.
when you are looking for information on anything job,
careers, apprenticeships or university and TAFE related
(and there is so much more).

Page 16 | BHS VCE Handbook, 2021
Seeking Careers Support at Blackburn High School
The BHS Careers Team is overseen by Assistant Principal Mr Vezey and consists of:

Jay Brutovic – Pathways Coordinator VASS                   Kaye Sampson – VCE and Careers Administrator
03 8804 6402                                               03 8804 6512                

Students and families interested in receiving support from The Blackburn HS Careers Team are encouraged to book
in using the Blackburn HS Careers Website.

Work Experience
Work experience is the short-term placement of             For more information regarding Work Experience please
secondary school students, generally from Years 10         visit the Blackburn HS Careers Website.
and up, with employers to provide insights into the
industry and the workplace in which they are located.
It provides students with the valuable opportunity to:
– develop employability skills
– explore possible career options
– understand employer expectations
– increase their self-understanding, maturity,
  independence and self-confidence

Students are placed with employers primarily to
observe and learn — not to undertake activities which
require extensive training or expertise.

It is the student’s responsibility to find the Work
Experience placement, but The Blackburn HS
Careers Team advises all students of upcoming Work
Experience opportunities and assists with completing
the paperwork which needs to be signed by the
employer, your parent(s), yourself and the school.

VCE students interested in completing Work Experience
are strongly encouraged to book in during the School
holidays to avoid missing valuable in class learning.

Certain placements may be approved during class time
on a case by case basis. Placements that clash with
SACs or Examinations will not be approved.

                                                                                       W: | Page 17
Career Action Plan

A Career Action Plan is a dynamic planning document       Students will continue work on their Career Action
owned and managed by young people intended to             Plans in Mentor Group, with the support of their Mentor
reflect their increased career development learning.      Teacher as well as the Blackburn HS Careers Team.
Think of it as a record of the things students have
done, are doing and plan to do in order to reach their    Career Action Plans are able to be accessed by
career goals.                                             Parent(s)/Guardian(s), House Teams as well as the
                                                          Blackburn HS Careers Team and will also be referred
It is a “working document” – this means that it is        to throughout your Course Selection and post-school
something that students will continually add to, modify   planning interviews.
and update over time.

VCE & Careers Expo

Students will be able to access career and future study   opportunities, tutoring services, lecture and study
information first-hand at The VCE and Careers Expo.       skills programs.

The VCE and Careers Expo is Australia’s biggest           All VCE students will be given the opportunity to attend
education and careers expo.                               the expo in April at no cost, however parent permission
                                                          will be required.
Exhibitors include providers of VCE resources and
information, universities, TAFE and training colleges,    Keep an eye out for more information regarding The
organisations with apprenticeship and employment          VCE and Careers Expo Excursion in early 2021.

Page 18 | BHS VCE Handbook, 2021
VTAC (Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre)

The Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) is the       VTAC also:
central office that administers the application processes
                                                             – provides secondary school students with
for places in tertiary courses, scholarships and the
                                                               comprehensive, up to date information on tertiary
Special Entry Access Scheme at universities, TAFEs
                                                               institutions and the courses they run
and independent tertiary colleges in Victoria (and a few
outside Victoria).                                           – calculates and issues the ATAR for VCE students
                                                             – allows students to apply for SEAS (Special
VTAC receives, assesses and forwards application
                                                               Entry Access Scheme) if they have experienced
information and supporting documentation to the
                                                               educational disadvantage during their schooling
relevant authorities at institutions.
                                                             – allows students to apply for scholarships
VTAC is not a selection authority; does not determine
the selection criteria used by institutions and; does not    – co-ordinates sittings for Special Tertiary Admissions
decide who will receive an offer.                              Test (STAT) and Australian Law Schools Entrance
                                                               Test (ALSET)
All decisions about which applicants are offered a           – publishes a range of guides to tertiary study
place are made by the course selection authorities at
institutions using tools and data provided by VTAC.          – conducts information sessions for secondary school
                                                               students and their parents, careers practitioners
After selection decisions have been made by the course         and adults returning to study
authorities at institutions, VTAC sends offer messages
to successful applicants on the institutions’ behalf.

SEAS (Special Entry Access Scheme)

If there have been circumstances that have made it hard      There are four categories in SEAS. You can apply for
for you to do your best at study, you should consider        all the categories that are relevant to your situation,
putting in a special consideration application via           so long as you apply to each category for a different
VTAC’s Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS). SEAS is           reason. Further information about each of these
designed to make sure institutions get a sense of your       categories is available from the links below.
full potential and it enables institutions to consider the
                                                             – Category 1: Personal information and location.
circumstances you have experienced and their impact
                                                               This category includes age, living or school location,
upon your studies when making selection decisions.
                                                               under-representation of a gender in a course or field
SEAS also allows institutions to identify applicants           of study, recognition as an Indigenous Australian,
from under-represented groups when making selection            recognition for being from a non-English speaking
decisions for some courses.                                    background and recognition for being the first in
                                                               your family to attend tertiary study.
SEAS allows selection officers to grant special              – Category 2: Disadvantaged financial background
consideration for course entry to applicants so that you
may be offered a place with a lower rank than otherwise      – Category 3: Disability or medical condition
required, but it does not exempt you from meeting the        – Category 4: Difficult circumstances
published institutional and course requirements.

                                                                                           W: | Page 19
Post-School Planning & VTAC Interviews
The VTAC application process, as well as post-school     These interviews can cover VTAC Applications
planning, can sometimes be complex and daunting for      including SEAS and Scholarships, Interstate or Overseas
some students and families. Blackburn HS is committed    Applications, TAFE Applications, Apprenticeships as
to providing support to all VCE students in organising   well as organising Gap Year Programs.
their pathway after school.
                                                         Parent(s)/Guardians are encouraged to attend these
All Year 12 students and families will be given the      interviews with flexible arrangements available such as
opportunity to book interviews in Term 3 to receive      video conferencing.
assistance with planning post-school options for 2021
and beyond.                                              Any students or families who are confused about the
                                                         VTAC process or would like to have a conversation
                                                         about various post-school options are encouraged to
                                                         make a booking.

Page 20 | BHS VCE Handbook, 2021
Seeking wellbeing support

Seeking learning support                                     5. Learn how to deal with catastrophic thinking
If students are seeking additional learning support, they    A fine art, as whatever you say is likely to be the
should first consult with their class teacher.               ‘wrong thing’ in most cases. Generally, what you do is
                                                             more important than what you say. Providing meals
If necessary, the class teacher may direct them to the       and comfort is often more powerful than words, plus
Learning Specialist or other support person. Additional      a sprinkle of reassurance and encouragement. All-or-
support may also be provided in the form of clubs e.g.       nothing thinking is common, hence the importance of
Maths Club or scheduled study sessions.                      contingency plans.

Students need parent support when completing their           6. Support your young person’s pursuits of
final year studies at school. Parents and guardians can         their interests
support their teenager in the following ways:
                                                             Above all else, encourage your VCE student to pursue
                                                             what they are most interested in. They are likely to
1. Offer a supportive and calm environment for study.
                                                             experience greater success doing something they are
After 13 years of schooling, this is the most stressful      passionate in, and that they enjoy.
time. Emotions are likely to be high. Creating a study-
friendly, consistent and quiet environment is vital.
                                                             Accessing supports at Blackburn
2. Help in developing a time, energy and stress
   management system
                                                             High School
Regular planned times for study throughout the year          Wellbeing process and referrals:
creates better results. Short regular sprints of learning
are more effective than long study marathons (e.g. 20        1. Mentor Teacher should be the first point on contact
minutes and never longer than 50 minutes with a 10              for all concerns.
minute break). Work with your teenager on mapping out        2. Open communication with subject teacher –
the ideal week. Consider sleeping schedules, times for          a great opportunity to encourage your young
unwinding and relaxing, best times for study, best times        person to develop their communication skills by
to consolidate notes and extend memory, social time             contacting teachers directly, to express concerns
and part-time work (please no longer than 10 hours              or ask questions.
a week!).
                                                             3. Assistant House Leaders – for more pressing
                                                                issues and concerns.
3. Understand the VCE and tertiary process
                                                             4. House Leaders – higher level, pressing issues.
To support your year 12 child through this period, a
basic understanding of the processes, key dates and          From here, appropriate wellbeing referrals will be made
requirements is essential. All information is provided,      or other supports suggested if the issues or concerns
and can be further expanded on with an email to the          cannot be managed by mentors, subject teachers, or
mentor teacher, or a quick google search (e.g. Victorian     house leadership teams.
Tertiary Administration Centre VTAC).
                                                             Other supports to consider:
4. Encourage looking at course opportunities                 –
   and options
Before ATARs arrive, preferably. Encourage your young
person to have multiple options mapped out. Knowing          – Visiting your family G.P, who can help with mental
that they have contingency plans is likely to reduce           health care plans and referrals to other services.
panic and anxiety. This will also assist students with the
next stage in their pathway.

                                                                                          W: | Page 21
60 Springfield Road Blackburn, Victoria, Australia 3130
P: +61 3 8804 6464 E:
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