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The Raising Children website has published new resources on helping children and teenagers coping with face masks. 

Even though children under 12 are not required to wear masks, they might feel anxious or upset when they can’t see your face or the faces of other carers and familiar people. Teenagers might have mixed and varying feelings about face masks.

Here are links to the pages:

 

 

The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) has a COVID-19 advice page on its website, but if you still have questions you can all the VCAA on their hotline:

1800 134 197


 

A message from Hon. James Merlino, Minister for Education, 2 August 2020:

Today we made the significant decision to go to Stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne and Stage 3 in regional Victoria. It’s a tough call but one that had to be made.

Based on the advice of Victorian and national health experts, we need to go further in our efforts to drive the Coronavirus numbers down.

So what does this mean for schools and early childhood?

On Monday, students and staff will continue as they have been.

Tuesday will be a pupil free day for schools.

From Wednesday in metropolitan Melbourne all students in p-12 will learn remotely. On-site supervision will be available for students of permitted workers, vulnerable students, and in some cases, students with disabilities.

From Thursday early childhood services in Melbourne will also only be open to families of defined workplaces where the child needs care and to vulnerable children.

In regional Victoria all students will learn remotely although our specialist schools will remain open for students. On-site supervision will be available for all students of permitted workers, vulnerable students and any student with a disability.

Early childhood services will also remain open as normal in regional Victoria.

I know this is challenging for everyone but it something we simply have to do. We have no choice if we want to slow the spread of the virus.

This is all about stopping around 1 million students, their families and teachers from moving around the state.

For VCE students my message is clear. You will sit your exams and you will receive an ATAR by the end of the year. I know it is challenging but we will support you every step of the way.

2020 is turning out to be a year that none us could even imagine.

But if we all stick together we will get through this.

Thank you to our amazing principals, teachers, and school and early childhood staff who continue to do an outstanding job in circumstances that are extremely difficult. I could not be prouder of the work you do.

 


 

31 July, 2020

Parents Victoria is very concerned by the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the community and in our schools in particular. Although a small percentage of schools overall have had to be closed due to positive cases, the number compared with last lockdown have increased dramatically. Parents are understandably worried about the physical health of their children, where they are required to attend onsite. This is added to their concerns about their children’s mental wellbeing, impacted for some because they have to be at school, and others because they are required to Learn from Home (LFH) again.   There is no one answer which will suit everyone.

At this time, Parents Victoria calls on the State Government to review its decision to keep senior students learning onsite. We believe more flexibility must be provided to school principals to put arrangements in place to suit their local communities. These should include lessons and resources being available online again for senior students, who could then LFH if that were their preference, or could participate in remote learning onsite at their school, or in a nominated school within a local cluster. The cluster model could operate for all students who cannot LFH (medically vulnerable families, essential worker parents, etc.). The majority of teachers and staff should also be authorised to work from home. These options should be available to all students attending specialist schools, too.

We would suggest a decision is made for at least the remainder of Term 3, and that any such decision remains in place for the indicated period. Constantly changing decisions lead to more anxiety for families. A decision relating to Term 4 should be made as early as is practical. Communication to families from the Government/DET and schools must be timely, factual, and not contradictory.

Most critical is the health and wellbeing of students, their families, and all staff in our schools.

All enquiries regarding this release should be directed to Gail McHardy, Executive Officer: 0413 589 627 or via email.


 

 

The Herald-Sun reported today that, "An increased number of locked-down Melbourne students are attending school in person compared to the city’s first wave of coronavirus, despite current cases eclipsing those recorded in Term 2."

The article says that up to 5% of Prep-Year 10 students are attending school in person in Term 3, compared to only 3% in the Term 2 lockdown.

listening

… and talking to decision-makers on your behalf.

PV recently made a submission the State Government, via its Engage Victoria website, about the Government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. Our submission was partly informed by your answers to our ongoing “We’re listening” survey. (The survey is still open: you can use it right now to tell us how things are going for you and your family, and we’ll continue to use your responses as we talk to decision-makers.)

The survey responses showed a wide range of impacts, positive and negative, that the COVID-19 restrictions have had on school-age children and their families.
Here are just a few samples:

  • I have two children with autism and one excelled with remote learning whereas the other child struggled and did not do much work. Think it also came down to the support from the teachers at each school. One school had a great format and the other was not as supportive and more student reliant.
  • The teachers were wonderfully supportive and approachable throughout Term 2. The work provided was suited to the challenges of remote learning and regular online meets kept my kids on task and able to ask questions and clarify work expectations. Communication from the school to parents was readily available and well thought out.
  • It was incredibly frustrating. We do not have unlimited internet, nor do we have a very good connection… so we missed a lot of content. Both schools were unable to access any assistance for us. The perception that EVERYONE had access to unlimited, efficient internet services was not true for myself, or many other parents in my area.
  • I think my children need to be at school to learn. They went backwards in remote learning and are a lot happier being back at school. They lost their friendships during isolation and had to re build those relationships when they got back to school!!! Would rather my kids be at school than remote learning!
  • Loved it! My children were well disciplined and applied themselves excellently due to no distractions
  • We were very underwhelmed with our students experience which was non-engaging and minimal… We all enjoyed however working with our children at home during this time and understanding how they learn.
  • Stressful and overwhelming. Both kids have difficulties doing the work set without assistance. This has been difficult for me as I am doing a course at university and just don’t have the time to help them but have felt like there was no choice. A lot of the links and compass the app they use didn’t always work and there was constant internet connection issues which added to the stress.
  • I have enjoyed spending time with my teenage children during this time. It has reminded me how much our children need their parents to be more involve

 

In May 2018, the Minister for Education released a new plan: Transforming Career Education in Victorian Government Schools, which outlines the Government’s investment in a suite of career education reform initiatives to redesign career education, to help government school students make better career and pathway decisions, and to meet the demands of a rapidly changing globalised job market.

Some of the key initiatives that government schools now have access to include:

  • My Career Exploration: Teaching and learning resources to ensure students in Years 7 and 8 have the opportunity to explore their strengths, interests, values and the world of work. This includes industry immersion activities both in person, and now in an online format, in response to COVID-19.
  • My Career Insights: A careers advisory service which provides all Year 9 students with access to an online career diagnostic assessment (the Morrisby Tool) followed by a one-on-one career counselling session.
  • My Career Portfolio: An online resource designed to support all students in Years 7 to 12 to develop a Career Action Plan, store files related to their course and career planning, and access links to information to support course and career exploration.

Throughout the disruptions caused by COVID-19 during Term 2, most of the career education reform initiatives were able to continue to be delivered. In particular, the My Career Insights and My Career Portfolio initiatives were both continued to be delivered online as students moved to remote and flexible learning.

Most of the career education reform initiatives will continue to be delivered in Term 3 as well, despite the restrictions caused by COVID-19 this term and the return to remote and flexible learning for some students from 20 July through to 19 August in Melbourne and in the Mitchell Shire.

 

Careers practitioners develop and manage the school’s career education program and ensure that it meets the needs of all students. The role of a careers practitioner may vary from school to school; many careers practitioners are teachers who may also teach other classes.

In general, careers practitioners provide the following services:

For Years 7 -12

  • deliver career education classes
  • support and guide students with their subject, course and career decision-making and help with their transitions from year to year;
  • support students’ career planning through Career Action Plans from Year 7 -12 by ensuring they have access to a careers e-portfolio eg My Career Portfolio;
  • skill up students to research careers and course information;
  • careers counselling (individual as well as group counselling);
  • promote career expos and tertiary institutions’ Open Days;
  • organise guest speakers to talk to students about careers and pathways;
  • assist students in sourcing jobs by teaching job search strategies including writing letters of application, resumes and interview skills;
  • coordinate and manage placements for work experience, Structured Workplace Learning, volunteering and School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (from Years 9 – 12);
  • provide current, unbiased and relevant course and careers information, as well as labour market data;
  • ensure students have a destination/pathway when they leave school

For Years 7-9

  • ensure students in years 7 and 8 have the opportunity to explore their strengths, interests and values and the world of work eg My Career Exploration;
  • ensure all Year 9 students have access to My Career Insights (a careers advisory service that includes the Morrisby tool);
  • provide opportunities for students to be exposed to the world of work eg workplace visits and Taster programs

For Year 12 students

  • provide assistance and careers counselling to Year 12 students in August /September with their VTAC applications and Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS) applications http://www.vtac.edu.au/who/seas.html for tertiary courses; in December each year when the ATARs are released; and during the ‘Change of Preference Period’;
  • encourage Year 12 students to access relevant information in relation to their tertiary course applications eg UCAT for medicine and dentistry courses, scholarships etc;
  • promote career expos and tertiary institutions’ Open Days;

For parents

  • meet with parents/carers to discuss their children’s subject, course and career choices and their pathway options;
  • run career information sessions for parents/carers;

  • provide current, unbiased and relevant course and careers information, as well as labour market data

For staff

  • provide information on student outcomes eg student destinations and transitions;
  • work with classroom teachers to deliver career education in their classes;
  • work with school staff to prepare subject selection guides for Years 7-12;
  • encourage and involve staff in career activities to build a whole school approach to career education.

 

The Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) has launched new online guides for senior secondary students:

 

The Education Department has advice for parents about remote learning for their children in 25 languages. 

You can dowload an advice sheet that covers setting up a learning environment, student responsibilities, mental health and wellbeing, and many other topics.

(And if you can't read Arabic, Dinka, Hindi or Vietnamese, the heading reads, "Learning from home: information for parents and carers".)


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