Transition into VCE/VCAL

Moving into the final years of secondary schooling is an important time in a young person’s life. This is a time where decisions about education pathways at school are made in light of a young person’s aspirations, personal goals, strengths and abilities. It is also a time when (with positive support and training) young people can develop increased independence and autonomy. For young people with a disability, the transition process should begin in early secondary, to allow time for the young person to develop the skills and abilities to support their success in their final years of schooling, and to allow the young person and their family time to explore the education pathways that will enable a young person to make informed course and career decisions.

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 a young person 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 the young person’s aspirations, goals, strengths and abilities. There are many educational pathways, and young people 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 a student 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 ‘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.
Students can also undertake Vocational Education and Training (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.


Students with a disability 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. Students must still complete all school work related to satisfactory completion of VCE or VCAL, however a range of accommodations can be made to support the student.

If the specific nature of a student’s disability may make completing specific unit outcomes challenging, communicate this clearly to the student. Involve parents in these discussions.

Students 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.

Some students may receive supports from aides where appropriate, such as a reader, scribe, or clarifier. The student’s current aide cannot be appointed in a VCE external assessment unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Some students 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.

For students with a disability who wish 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 the student’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.

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