Transition into VCE/VCAL

Moving into the final years of secondary schooling is an important time in your child’s life. This is a time where decisions about education pathways at school are made in light of your child’s aspirations, personal goals, strengths and abilities. It is also a time when (with positive support and training) your child can develop increased independence and autonomy. The transition process should begin in early secondary, to allow time for your child to develop skills and abilities to support their success in their final years of schooling, and to allow you and your child time to explore the education pathways that will enable your child to make informed course and career decisions. View key strategies on maintaining open communication with your child during the transition process.

Choosing an education pathway

There are a number of educational pathways available for young people. From early secondary, the Student Support Group can collaborate with your child to establish their career interests, post-secondary goals, and personal strengths and abilities (see Transition from secondary school to tertiary education, training or employment). Part of this process will involve making decisions on the education pathway that will best fit your child’s aspirations, goals, strengths and abilities. There are many educational pathways, and your child can achieve their personal goals with the right support and planning.

Traditional pathways

Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL), Vocational Education and Training (VET), School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (SBAT)

If your child plans to attend a university, they may need an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) based on their study scores. If this is the case for the course(s) they are interested in, they will need to complete the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). It is important to note however that in 2016 only 26% of domestic undergraduate students were admitted to courses based on their ATAR*, with other pathways for entry including VET, secondary education without ATAR, and post-school qualifications.
The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) is a more ‘hands on’ approach to learning, and helps students to gain entry to TAFE, apprenticeships, traineeships or employment. Students can in some cases create a pathway for entry to university, but it is important to check specific course requirements before making a decision on which pathway best aligns with a student’s aspirations. It is important to check specific course requirements before making a decision on which pathway is best. The careers advisor at your child’s school can support you and your child with this process.
Students can also undertake VET as part of their VCE or to receive a nationally recognised training qualification in a specific industry, or a School Based Apprenticeship and Traineeship, in which they combine part-time training and employment with VCAL or VCE.


Your child may be eligible for special provision, if at any time, they are adversely affected in a significant way by their disability, or by other personal circumstances. Your child must still complete all school work related to satisfactory completion of the outcomes of a VCE or VCAL unit, however a range of accommodations can be made to support them.
Your child may be able to undertake VCE/VCAL over several years to enable successful completion of their studies, however this will need to fit in with the Student Resource Package guidelines.
The use of assistive technology for enhancing the learning process is encouraged, however it is important that new or emerging assistive technology is discussed with VCAA regarding use within school-based assessments and VCE external assessments.
Your child may receive supports from aides where appropriate, such as a reader, scribe, or clarifier. Your child’s current aide cannot be appointed in a VCE external assessment unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Your child may be eligible for Special Examination Arrangements if their capacity to access a VCE external assessment is significantly impacted by their disability. This may involve rest breaks, extra working time, examination papers in an alternative format (e.g. Braille, enlarged print), use of assistive technology (e.g. Assistive Hearing Technology), a reader/scribe/clarifier, or alternative examination venue.
If your child wishes to attend university/TAFE, consider applying for Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS), which allows selection officers to consider educational disadvantage.

Alternative/additional programs:

In some cases a student may experience more success in an individualised teaching and learning program. This provides the student with opportunities to continue to engage with their peers in class, while learning key life, social or workplace skills. Schools would provide individual reports on your child’s achievements as an ATAR will not be provided.
Certificate I in Transition Education is a government-accredited course provided by TAFE that teaches students key life skills such as vocational and employment skills. This course prepares them for post-secondary life.