Year 12 students may be forced to repeat their academic year unless an agreement is reached for them to work from home.Schools have been closed in Vic
Year 12 students may be forced to repeat their academic year unless an agreement is reached for them to work from home.
Schools have been closed in Victoria because of the coronavirus outbreak since March 24 – as state officials work alongside the federal government to create a robust distance learning plan for students.
But if a plan is not reached a Year 13 may be created by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, while internal assessments could be pushed back to 2021.
Pictured: Geelong Grammar School. Year 12 students in Victoria face potentially having to repeat their school year – creating a Year 13
A playground closed off to the public in Frankston in Melbourne. State officials in Victoria are battling to draw up a plan for distance learning for students
‘What we need for Year 12s is some sort of certainty… even if that certainty changes down the road,’ the president of the Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals Sue Bell told 3AW.
‘What Year 12s are aiming for is an ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank), an Australia-wide qualification we need to actually work with other states as well and that’s why it’s taking a little bit longer to come to an agreement.’
She said she was hopeful an agreement would be in place to prevent internal assessments being pushed back to next year, but was preparing for all eventualities.
‘Teachers are ready to work remotely, and we’ve been planning furiously for this – I think probably that is going to be the most effective way of working at the moment,’ Ms Bell said.
State and federal ministers will meet on Tuesday to canvass options including extending the academic year or postponing final exams.
They will also discuss boosting overall scores and changing university application procedures.
State and territory curriculum and assessment authorities will present all available options to the meeting.
Federal education minister Dan Tehan said it was likely responses to the pandemic would vary between jurisdictions.
Term two in Victoria is scheduled to begin on April 14 – three weeks after premier Daniel Andrews brought the school holidays forward to March 24.
Schools are expected to open with reduced staff numbers to accommodate children of keyworkers.
The Victorian government has already stated it aims to have students getting an ATAR by the end of 2020.
‘It is my aim that they can get an ATAR, if not within this calendar year, then very soon thereafter,’ Mr Andrews told ABC News.
‘We’ve got six or eight weeks at the end of the year that we can catch up.’
Mr Andrews added term two would likely involve students working from home.
‘That’s why it was so important to bring the school holidays forward, so we can do that work around online learning,’ he said.
Universities themselves are keeping a close eye on how the virus and disruptions are playing out for their potential graduates.
But the sector’s peak body says it’s still too early to know what concessions might have to be given.
‘This unprecedented situation is changing so rapidly that the impacts on both universities and schools six, nine and 12 months from now just aren’t possible to predict,’ Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson said.
‘However, universities are nonetheless aware of the potential impact of COVID-19 on school examinations and are developing contingency plans. These will be updated as circumstances change.’
The uncertainty comes as it is revealed more than 1700 casual staff in government schools in the Northern Territory will continue to be paid in the event schools close due to coronavirus.
Over 1800 support staff – including cleaners, grounds and maintenance personnel, canteen staff and classroom support staff – are employed directly by NT government schools, with 90 per cent of them casual.
NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner has meanwhile said school attendance is optional for the remainder of term one.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said he hoped students could receive an ATAR in the state by the beginning of 2021 at the latest