Sunday 12th July
As most of you have probably been anticipating since Tuesday, it was announced this morning that term three will commence with remote learning starting in week two at schools in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. Here’s what we know so far:
- Continuing on from the announcement on Tuesday students who are studying VCE, VCAL and VET, including Year 10 students with subjects in those streams, will not be returning to remote learning and will complete their VCE, VCAL and VET subjects at school.
- Like term two remote learning students who are vulnerable, in out of home care or whose parents are essential workers can learn from school.
- All students with disabilities, whether in mainstream school or a specialist school will continue learning from school.
- Remote learning will last at least as long as the Melbourne and Mitchell Shire renewed lockdown – currently scheduled to last until the 19th August – and possibly beyond that.
VicSRC continues to work closely with the DET to ensure every student is supported in their remote learning – including material support like access to devices and stable internet connection and emotionally with mental health support. We know young people are doing it tough right now, so it’s crucial that schools, families and the government listen to them, include them in decisions and support them to feel empowered in this difficult time.
Tuesday 7th July
The 2020 journey is continuing here in Victoria. If you’ve been watching the news you’ve probably seen that the number of cases in Melbourne is climbing. This afternoon the Premier announced that the steps being taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 will include an extended school holiday period and preparations for a possible return to learning remotely.
Here’s what we know:
- This information will only affect schools in metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire and will not impact most regional and rural students.
- Special schools will re-open as planned on Monday 13th July and will not be returning to learning remotely.
- Students in Years 11 and 12 who are studying VCE, VCAL and VET (as well as Year 10 students with a VCE component) will also not be returning to learning remotely. These students will return to school on Monday 13th July. This is to ensure their VCE studies are not disrupted and that they have the same support as rural and interstate students.
- For all other students school holidays will be extended by a week with five pupil free days to give teachers time to prepare for the return to learning remotely.
- During this time a supervised school holiday program will run for the children of essential workers who cannot work from home.
- Ongoing discussions are under way with Catholic and Independent schools to ensure equitable arrangements are put in place for all schools in the affected areas.
We urge all schools and staff at the Department of Education and Training to read our recent report on student’s experiences of learning remotely. While the report was written with the idea that students would be returning to schools in term three the voices and experiences documented will be important in ensuring the possibility of renewed learning from home works for as many students as possible. Several recommendations from the report can also be used to improve this second remote learning experience, including ensuring every student has access to devices and internet to support their learning, make sure mental health is just as important as academic success and support and progress student agency as a top priority.