COVID-19 and the restrictions placed on schools and educational institutions, workplaces and the general community, have had an impact on the delivery of VET across Tasmanian schools, during term 2, in 2020. Given this new environment, a cooperative approach between education sectors is needed to ensure current learner cohorts are still able to undertake quality training and attain education outcomes. Schools and RTOs will need to continue to work closely to develop innovative, flexible and adaptable training and assessment solutions for school students.
RISK ANALYSIS PROCESS
- A cross-sector working group led by the Vocational Learning and Career Education team in 9 to 12 Learning has been working to classify the level of risk involved in delivering qualifications to students in Tasmania, during the learning from home period in Term 2. The working group consists of representatives from:
- Vocational Learning and Career Education (VLCE)
- Tasmanian Secondary Colleges RTO (DoE)
- Guilford Young Colleges RTO (Catholic Education Sector RTO); and
- Independent Schools Tasmania.
- Draft Risk Analyses for the qualifications in industry areas, developed through the consolidation of previous consultations, were made available to VET teachers across the State.
- The level of risk for each qualification has been determined by the practical components involved in the course, and more specifically, risks associated with:
- access to facilities and technical equipment
- time needed to develop technical practical skills
- access to excursions and off campus activities/assessments
- inability to complete overnight camps.
- inability to participate in vocational placements and demonstrate client service skills.
- Teachers participated in Microsoft Teams meetings, facilitated by the VLCE VET Teacher Leader, to discuss risks. They also completed a survey about the assigned risk rating for the qualifications they deliver. Completion rate for the survey was over 60 per cent of all VET teachers delivering to school students. This was a positive result considering the challenges and pressures that teachers have experienced since the changes made to teaching and learning due to COVID-19 in 2020.
- At the end of the consultation process, qualifications were deemed as High-Risk, Medium-High Risk, Medium-Risk and Low-Risk.
- Qualifications that have been most impacted, involve experiences that cannot easily be replicated outside of a ‘real’ workplace, however, teachers have adapted to these changes and pursued creative and innovative ways of ensuring students can continue learning and being assessed in changing industry environments.
- Public health advice will determine whether certain activities involved in Medium-Risk and High-Risk qualifications can proceed safely, as restrictions are lifted, with students recommencing school in week 5 term 2, 2020.
The below recommendations are intended to mitigate risks identified during the consultation process. These recommendations are to schools across the three education sectors (DoE, Catholic, Independent) across Tasmania:
- Restructure Training and Assessment Strategies to move activities that are currently limited to a future date in line with Tasmania’s Roadmap to Recovery and Public Health advice.
- Work with students to recalculate TCE point differences to evaluate impact of attainment when changes have been made to the original intended units of study and discuss solutions.
- When full qualification achievement is not possible, investigate options for completion with students as part of their transition planning, both into year 12 and post-schooling.
- Consider adjusting activities that require interaction with members of the public to be completed using internal resources and agencies. If required, work with the RTO to contact the Australian Industry Skills Council for amendment to requirements for 2020 only.
- Request additional support for vocational placements through government agencies.
- Whilst the preference is for students to complete their assessments within the school years through the provision of additional sessions and experiences, if students require additional time to complete assessments to demonstrate competency, work with the RTO to extend the end-of-year resulting timeline.
- Where a student is undertaking VET and is on an ATAR pathway, consideration should be made for the scheduling of their assessment.
- Where VET programs have other delivery and/or assessment considerations, discussions should occur with the RTO and further support may be sought through the Vocational Learning and Career Education team (DoE), Catholic Education Tasmania or Independent Schools Tasmania.