Overview on Berwick College’s Pathways  – Presented on 23/02/2015 Senior School Information



The Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) is awarded on behalf of the State Government of Victoria to students upon successful completion of Years 11 and 12 and allows entry to tertiary institutions. Students in Year 12 are assessed using school coursework and external examinations. Outstanding students can extend their studies by undertaking a university subject within the VCE. Students can also complete a VET program as part of their VCE studies.

The minimum requirements for obtaining the VCE is satisfactory completion of 16 units including:

  • At least 3 units of English or English Literature
  • At least 3 sequences of units 3-4, other than English


  • A unit is equal to a semester and approximately 100 hours duration
  • VET in Schools programs can contribute to the completion of VCE
  • VTAC advises that for the calculation of the ENTER, satisfactory completion of both Units 3 & 4 English is required

For further details about VCE, subject selection and requirements please refer to the 2018 Curriculum Guide SENIOR. Further information about the VCE can also be found at: www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/


Students in Years 10, 11 and 12 are able to complete a Vocational Education and Training (VET) program as part of their VCE or VCAL studies. VET programs are similar to TAFE programs and allow students to complete all or part of a Vocational Certificate.

Berwick College is the host school in the local area for a range of programs including:

  • Certificate II in Building and Construction
  • Certificate II in Electro-technology
  • Certificate II in Automotive Technology
  • Certificate II in Music Industry Skills
  • Certificate II in Community Services
  • Certificate II in Business
  • Certificate II in in Community Recreation

These programs run each Wednesday and are available to both Berwick College students and students from neighbouring schools. Similarly, Berwick College students travel out of the school on Wednesday and Fridays to access programs run at other local schools or TAFE colleges.

For further details about VET, subject selection and requirements please refer to the 2018 Curriculum Guide SENIOR.

Foundation VCAL and VCAL

The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) has been running for more than 10 years at Berwick College. The VCAL is designed to provide additional pathways for Years 11 and 12 students interested in vocationally orientated career options or moving straight into employment. We currently have 140 students enrolled in either the Intermediate or Senior Certificate.

The VCAL is an applied learning program in nature and much of the learning is ‘hands on’. The VCAL runs parallel to the VCE and provides students with a wider range of educational and training pathways. The VCAL is equal in status to the VCE.

The VCAL is accredited at three levels:

  • Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning -Foundation
  • Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning -Intermediate
  • Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning -Senior

Students develop Individual Learning Programs to suit their vocational pathway as part of their VCAL. The Learning Program covers four Curriculum Strands and provides opportunities for students to develop and apply personal, social and work related skills. They are:

Strand 1 – Literacy and Numeracy

Completed at school and may include the literacy and numeracy units from VCE English and VCAL literacy and numeracy units.

Strand 2 – Industry Specific Skills

One day out of school (generally Wednesday) in a VET program. Some courses are delivered at Berwick College while others are offered at other providers. Students are able to access an enormous range of VET programs including Building and Construction, Hairdressing, Equine Studies and Multimedia.

Strand 3 – Work Related Skills

One day out of school (generally Friday) undertaking Structured Workplace Learning. This may include work, apprenticeships, traineeships and units such as Occupational Health and Safety or planning for employment.

Strand 4 – Personal Development Skills

This may include local and community based projects, voluntary work and structured activities to help develop self-confidence, teamwork and other skills important for life, employment and active citizenship.

Structured Workplace Learning

Students are responsible for finding their own structured workplace learning placement. This must be finalised by the fourth week of the new school year. Prior to the commencement of the work placement, students must complete a Structured Workplace Learning Arrangement Form  to ensure they have Public Liability Insurance which is covered by the Department of Education.

For further details about VCAL, subject selection and requirements please refer to the 2018 Curriculum Guide SENIOR.

VCAL Contact

For further information relating to VCAL please contact:

Applied Learning Leader
Mr Julian Walton
(03) 8768 1072

Assessment Rules for Students

The VCAA has set down six rules, which students must observe when preparing work for assessment. These rules apply to all assessment tasks. They are:

  • Students must ensure that all unacknowledged work submitted by them is genuinely their own work.
  • Students must acknowledge all resources used. This includes text and source material, the name(s) and status of the person(s) who provide assistance, and the type of assistance received.
  • Students must not accept undue assistance from any person. Undue assistance would include providing actual adjustments or improvements to a student’s work, or dictating or directing a student to include particular text.
  • Students must not submit the same piece of work for assessment more than once.
  • Students who knowingly assist another student in a breach of rules may be penalised.
  • Students must sign a general declaration (Protocol of Understanding) that they will observe the rules and instructions for the VCE and accept disciplinary provisions.

Attendance VCE & VCAL


It is a requirement that students attend all timetabled classes so that teaching and learning opportunities are maximised. Attendance in class provides opportunities for student work to be authenticated by teachers. Work which cannot be authenticated will not be accepted for assessment.

VCE and VCAL requirements are set externally and teachers must comply with these rules. The VCE comprises three components:  assessed work, completion of outcomes to a satisfactory standard and attendance.  VCAL requires the completion of outcomes to a satisfactory standard and attendance.

The VCAA has stated that “where a student has completed work but there has been a substantive breach of class attendance, the student may be awarded an N”

VCE & VCAL Attendance rules

All absences must be explained by parents

A student absent from classes for part of a day must sign in or out at the Senior School.

A medical certificate must be provided for any absence of three or more consecutive days

Approved Absences

Approved absences are defined as follows:

  • Any absence supported by a medical certificate
  • Any absence due to family/welfare circumstances supported by the learning team leader, later year’s coordinators, principal class or welfare staff. Eg. funeral, family holiday, family illness
  • Any absence to attend an approved educational activity like sports, excursions, camps, tertiary information seminar

It is a student’s responsibility to ascertain what work has been missed, to obtain any handouts and to complete the required work as soon as possible after an absence.

It is the student’s responsibility to provide teachers with suitable evidence related to absences. Students should keep any notes, medical certificates and approved absence slips in their planner. These must be shown to the class teacher and home group teacher within three school days of the absence.

Redemption of absences

Students are required to redeem absences for each unit. Approved absences do not require redemption. However unexplained and parent explained absences are subject to redemption as follows:

  • Students can have up to and including 6 parent explained absences per unit per semester without the need for redemption.
  • Students with 7 to 12 parent explained absences per unit per semester are eligible for redemption.
  • Students with more than 12 parent explained absences per unit per semester automatically fail the unit.

Redemption classes will be run on two Saturday mornings in Term 2 and Term 4 from 9:00am to 12:45pm and students are required to wear full school uniform. Students are required to complete school work during this time. No other redemption classes will be held outside of these times.

For each period to be redeemed, 45 minutes must be spent in redemption classes. Students will be able to redeem absences only once for any one unit. The teacher in charge of the redemption class will inform the relevant learning team leader/coordinator who will inform the class teacher when a student has completed their redemption class.

Students who fail to complete the required redemption or have more than 12 parent explained absences will fail that unit. This will be indicated on the report with at least one outcome fail for that unit.

Late Arrivals

All students who arrive late to school must have a note signed by the parent/guardian and sign in at the Careers office before going to class.

Class Attendance

  • Students present at school must attend all timetabled classes. Failure to do so will result in an after school detention of an equivalent length of time.
  • Absences due to an approved school activity (sport, excursion) will be monitored within the school attendance system. Such absences do not count towards the total of missed classes. Students should inform class teachers of any known future commitments of this type.

Period 0

Some Year 11 classes will be held before school so students undertaking VET or other TAFE courses do not miss classes on Wednesday. A few Year 12 classes may also be scheduled before school. Period 0 classes will commence at 8.00 am and continue until the warning bell. Attendance at classes is compulsory and part of the attendance requirements.

Extended Absence

An extended absence due to illness is covered under Special Provision arrangements.

Missed Work

It is the student’s responsibility to ascertain what work has been missed, to obtain any handouts and complete the required work.

Classwork and Homework

It is the responsibility of students to pay attention, follow instructions and involve themselves in their classes. They must record in their planners the details of all set work and due dates. Students are also responsible for organising their own time in order to complete their school commitments. This requires students to complete work within the timeframe determined by teachers.

Students should draw up a homework timetable, taking into account subjects to be covered as well as outside commitments, including recreation. When specific work has not been set, students are expected to study and summarise notes, read books and practise skills.

As students work at different rates and have different strengths and weaknesses, the following homework times, for five nights per week, are recommended as a guide to students and parents:

Year 11 2 – 3 hours

Year 12 3 – 4 hours

Students who waste time in class or fail to complete work by the due date without genuine reason, may be disciplined by teachers and/or have their marks downgraded. Year 12 students may be instructed to complete any essential class work after school in the Senior School building.

Students who experience difficulty with organisation and time management should seek assistance from the Student Coordinators.

Submission of Work

All work must be submitted by the due date as set by the class teacher. Work must be handed directly to the teacher in class or at their office. If the teacher is absent then the work may be handed to a Student Coordinator at the senior sub-school office.

Work for assessment must not be handed in to another teacher at the main staff room or left on a teacher’s desk. For coursework, extensions of time can only be given by Student Coordinators. For other work, class teachers may grant extensions of time. No work will be accepted more than five days after the due date.

Private Study

Private study periods are to be used for school work and students will be in the Senior School Centre, the library or another venue as designated by the school. Students must use this time quietly and effectively. The Senior School Centre is open from 8.15 am to 5.00 pm each day for private study and computer use for senior school students.

Use of Senior School Centre

The Senior School Centre is open between 8.15 am and 5.00 pm each school day. During class time and after school, both Year 11 and 12 students can use the “common room” area for study purposes. After school, the study area is often used for Year 10-12 students to do SACS and detentions under the supervision of a designated student coordinator. At other times (before school, recess and lunchtimes) the centre is only available to Year 12 students and the hospitality facilities at these times are for the exclusive use of Year 12 students. Year 11 students may use E2/E3 and Year 10 students may use E6/E7 but only under teacher supervision.

The Senior School Centre is available for student use under the following conditions. The space will be closed at the discretion of the student coordinators and sub-school leader if these conditions are not met.

  • All areas (including classrooms) are kept clean and rubbish is placed (not thrown) in bins.
  • There is no graffiti of any sort on walls, notice boards, furniture etc.
  • Care is taken with all facilities at all times.
  • Furniture is left in place.
  • The kitchen area is kept clean at all times.
  • Bags are not brought into the building (except after school).
  • There are no ball games or inappropriate behaviour in any part of the building.
  • Students are to report any damage or equipment malfunction to a Student Coordinator.

Coordinators will not provide change, paper for printers, staplers etc. Students must ensure that they are properly prepared and have whatever equipment they require. It is a good idea for students to keep some printer paper in a plastic pocket in their folders.

Participation in Extracurricular Activities

Students are encouraged to participate in extra curricular activities but must balance this against class requirements. It is important that students do not over commit themselves. VCE students should not participate in more than one school sporting team each term. Similarly, involvement in Student Voice activities, Community Service, Music and Theatre needs to be sensibly controlled.


Assistant Principal Senior School:
Mr Mark Woodbridge
(03) 8768 1003

Senior School Leader:
Ms Sally Mitchell
(03) 8768 1075

Careers, VET & Business Partnerships Coordinators:
Mrs Karen Crawley
(03) 8768 1060

Applied Learning Leader:
Mr Julian Walton
(03) 8768 1072

MIPS Team:
Ms Karen Crawley
(03) 8768 1060