Hands off our hands-on learning
"If it wasn’t for the coordinators of the VCAL program ... I probably would have dropped out in Year 10."
Mitchell Dunne, student, Narre Warren South P-12
School communities have been shocked by the Government's decision to axe $48 million in coordination funding from secondary schools' hands-on learning program, VCAL.
VCAL is one of the state's most successful programs, offering students a vocational, hands-on alternative for Year 11 and 12 that leads to real jobs.
Catering for 20,000 young Victorians each year, it keeps thousands of disengaged and disadvantaged students in school, particularly in rural and regional areas and in special settings.
The AEU, along with schools and community groups, is campaigning to reverse the cuts. As VCAL co-ordinator Bronwyn Carlos says: "This is an opportunity for us to have a voice. These are kids we really care about."
Why these cuts are wrong
Some schools report that the loss of funding means they will be forced to cut back or discontinue their VCAL provision. Others will have to cut other programs in order to maintain VCAL.
The Government's own advisors say the program is underfunded, and its curriculum authority says VCAL's results have been "outstanding", with 87% of students going on to further education, training or work.
The AEU is calling on the Victorian Government to reinstate priority funding to the VCAL program as a matter of urgency.
Open letter to former Premier Ted Baillieu
More than 120 principals and community leaders wrote to Premier Baillieu in the first week of Term 4 to raise their serious concerns about the cuts to VCAL funding. In the absence of a reply from the premier, they went public with their concerns, with an advert in The Age, Herald Sun and regional papers across Victoria.
- Download the advert here (PDF)
2011 Branch Council Resolution
On September 2, the AEU Joint Primary and Secondary Council passed a unanimous resolution condemning the Baillieu Government's decision to abandon some of our most vulnerable students by cutting funding to VCAL coordination in secondary and special schools.
Letter to school councils
AEU branch president Mary Bluett has written to every state school council in Victoria — primary, secondary and special school — asking them to support the fight against the VCAL cuts. You can download the letter here.