Remember, VCAL is a worthy learning pathway

It’s this time of year that the Media celebrates near perfect results of students who have completed their VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education). Congratulations to all of these students and it would be just reward for all the hard work they have put in.

It’s a shame though that such recognition is not given to the students who have worked just as hard (though maybe not quite so academically) in completing their VCAL.

VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning) is a pathway for students who prefer a more hands on approach and enables them to complete years 11/12 and gain a certificate.

It was good to see The Age give some recognition to VCAL students.

Helping others puts students on the path to success

Jewel Topsfield and Sarah-Jane Collins

December 14, 2010 – 9:52AM

ONE of Jaclyn Greaves’s favourite experiences in year 12 was what she calls the ”pig lady from Vietnam”. As part of the subject work-related skills, her class raised funds for Kiva, an organisation that distributes loans to help entrepreneurs in developing countries set up their own businesses.

Thanks to the efforts of Jaclyn, Kurt Cabanilla and their classmates at Glenroy Specialist School, the ”pig lady” was able to buy pigs for a farm, while the class tracked her progress on the internet. What is even more remarkable about Jaclyn and Kurt – who were among 9876 students who received their Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning yesterday – is they have physical and intellectual disabilities.

”What I think is terrific is that these kids, who have got plenty to worry about in their own lives, are looking to help others,” said Glenroy Specialist School principal Raelene Kenny.

Jaclyn Greaves and Kurt Cabanila at Glenroy Specialist School, where they passed their VCAL. One of the subjects included helping a woman in Vietnam buy pigs for a farm. Photo: Jason South

”The biggest achievement is them understanding they can participate at a mainstream level and do well. We’ve set ourselves the challenge of letting the world understand that children who finish at our school should be included in mainstream tertiary education.”

Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School was also celebrating yesterday, as four of its VCE students were among the 32 who received the magical Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank of 99.95, the highest possible.

Madeleine Barrow was so stunned at the perfect result that she posted this status update on Facebook: ”Did I somehow manage to fall asleep and am I dreaming or is this real?”

After her results failed to arrive via an SMS text at 7am, Madeleine was too nervous to log on to the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre website for another hour, not wanting ”to be confronted with reality”. Turns out reality was pretty sweet. ”I was very, very surprised. My parents checked to make sure I hadn’t mis-seen it because that was something that was probable at the time,” said Madeleine, who will probably study science.

Mac.Robertson Girls’ High is a selective-entry government school, with more than 1200 students sitting exams in June to compete for 225 year 9 places. It also has small intakes in years 10, 11 and 12.

”It’s entirely different from other schools. We were expected to complete a term’s worth of homework in one week at Mac.Rob, it was that intense, but it’s worth it,” said Christina Fa, who also received 99.95.

Other schools to excel were Scotch College, Mount Scopus Memorial College and Melbourne Grammar School, which each had three students who obtained the maximum score.

Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre director Elaine Wenn said girls continued to outperform boys overall, making up 55.25 per cent of students who received a score of more than 90. ”However, boys continue to outnumber girls at the highest level of 99.95, with 18 boys and 14 girls receiving the top rank,” Ms Wenn said.

Twenty VCE students won scholarships at the University of Melbourne that cover HECS fees and $5000 per undergraduate year. Monash University also offered scholarships. The Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank is awarded across all states except Queensland.

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