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COVID-19 Lockdowns May See Year 12 Students Waiting until 2021 for ATAR

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has admitted the future of the current school year is unclear, and may see year 12 exams pushed back until the following year.

Hand completing a school exam

Australian high school seniors may be left waiting until next year to achieve their ATAR

Alberto G./Creative Commons

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has revealed that the current lockdowns as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic may see senior high school students forced to wait until next year to achieve their ATAR.

As COVID-19 lockdowns continue around Australia, questions related to schooling have become more and more prominent as Aussies seek answers about what the coming year holds.

While Victorian schools closed on March 24th, effectively bringing with it an early start to the school holidays, it’s become increasingly clearer that students may not be able to return to continue their schooling in the near future, causing uncertainty and worry amongst students and parents.

Now, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has discussed these lockdowns in an interview with the ABC, revealing that year 12 students may be forced to wait until 2021 to receive their Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).

“It is my aim,” Andrews explained. “If they can get an ATAR, if not within this calendar year, then very soon thereafter. We’ve got six or eight weeks at the end of the year that we can catch up.”

Admitting that he too is unable to provide answers to even his own son Noah, who is currently in year 12, Andrews makes it clear that “the key point here is to get this right.”

Speaking to 3AW this morning, Sue Bell of the Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals explained that the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority were discussing things, but admitted there is a need for certainty and clarity for Australian schools.

“What we need for year 12s is some sort of certainty,” she explained. “Even if that certainty changes down the road.

“Schools want to know what [the VCAA’s] plans are and when those trigger points kick in.

“Whether it’s moving exams back, not doing internal assessments… I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to deliver something earlier than [pushing assessments into next year].

“What year 12s are aiming for is an ATAR, an Australia-wide qualification we need to actually work with other states as well and that’s why it’s taking a little bit longer to come to an agreement.”

While term two is scheduled to begin on April 15th, Andrews explains he’s still unclear about how things will operate in the state’s schools, but admits that things will be “different”.

“I don’t think term two will look like a normal beginning of term two,” he explained. “It is going to be different.

“There’ll be an arrangement where some students will be learning from home and that’s why it was so important to bring the school holidays forward, so we can do that work around online learning.”

In related news, Andrews recently made his frustrations towards those who continue to defy lockdown requirements, sharing out a tongue-in-cheek playlist urging listeners to stay at home to help slow the spread of the virus.