Victorian Essential Learning Standards

Victorian Essential Learning Standards

Victorian Essential Learning Standards

Summary of presentation from Michael White, Chief Executive Officer, VCAA

November 2004

(Please see Powerpoint presentation for further information)

Curriculum reform is based on what outcomes we expect of children’s education

We want children to be:

  • Community members
  • Responsible individuals
  • Informed citizens

These are educational purposes. However’ there is disparity between this and the CSFs

Curriculum is formal and intended and implemented and experienced.

Current curriculum direction is based on 8 key areas and described in terms of 747 outcomes. It doesn’t cover all our desired educational purposes so a new structure has been developed.

A New Structure

This new structure is the product of input from consultants and will be trialled in schools over 2005 to gauge its practicality.

There has been an increase in the phys. ed, technology and design areas.

A key driver is connecting outcomes with the communities’ expectations and children’s developmental processes.

There are three identified purposes for learning.

Students leave schools being able to:

  • Manage themselves as individuals and in relation to others
  • Understand the world in which they live
  • Act effectively in that world

So students need access to 3 core interrelated strands to achieve these outcomes. These are:

  1. Physical, personal, social development
  2. Knowledge- ie discipline based learning
  3. Interdisciplinary learning- Thinking, communicating, problem solving.

All are equally important and schools must determine how best to interweave these strands, taking into account the context of the school’s priorities, demands and needs, to provide interrelated areas of study.

The Curriculum framework needs to represent Victoria’s best schools’ systems ( integrated learning.)

Best way to weave 3 strands together will vary, depending on the school. This could pose a big challenge and long term effort for some schools; others may encounter little change.

Time allocated to the different strands is up to a school’s discretion.


What do/should students know and how well do/should they know it?

There will be 6 levels of standards with priorities set at each level. These can be quite different between level 1 and 4. Key areas have different values at different levels

We must be able ensure parents of state-wide consistency in these standards.

The purpose of having these standards is to enable assessment of students achievement and progress.

Strands (See Slides)

  1. Health, PE etc
  2. Art, English Maths etc
  3. Communications, Design, I.T. creativity, thinking etc.

A New Language

There is a new language to address essential learnings. We talk about Domains and Dimensions.

A domain is a description of essential knowledge, skills and behaviours within each strand. Each domain is divided into dimensions and standards will be written for each dimension.

2005 will be the validation year

Implications of VELS for schools will take at least a year to be absorbed. There will be continued consultation between VCAA and schools.

VCAA and schools are co-constructing in developing curriculum plans and programmes. Schools will mould structure and framework to fit their school.

OSE will provide details of accountability processes.

There is a lot of work to be done around reporting on physical, personal and social and interdisciplinary strands.


Will be finalised by early next year then publicly distributed.

Important to emphasize that this is process of co-construction not top down implementation.

Prof. Peter Dawkins

“Making schools better”

Quality of teachers – most important variable [as opposed to class sizes etc.]. This supported by much research and data.

So; how?

-importance of rewarding good teachers. Measurement isn’t difficult for principals.

Option: higher wages

Socio economic background. Remains an influence of students performance/achievement.

Locations at disadvantage

Private/Public sector. Complicated range of reasons. On average, private schools do better. Have advantages. Can public sector captor such advantages?

Residualisation of public sector. Parents moving children from public to private. Danger of widening gap between two sectors. Reform Australian system? Difficult

big range of types, fundings of private sector. Compared to UK, Australia has more students in private. Attempt to get more integrated system.

Funding Models

Wide variety. Government funding often not tied to government schools ownership. Could have privately owned schools in public system and funded similarly as public schools. Limited ability to change fees – level playing field.

General will be to improve integration of education between state and federal. More rational system.

More integrated public/private model: ideas

Funding to be student focus. $/student. Families choose, given considerable autonomy

Private owned schools in public sectors would have same restrictions as public schools.

Means testing for student funding – this can increase poverty traps.

Take average income of families in an area in which student lives. Own income increases would affect student funding.

Parents occupation

Income contingent loans. Payed back based on future income of student [radical end of ideas]

Schools able to charge top-up fees?

  • Could prohibit compulsory fees – not many private schools would join this system
  • Would take a lot of $’s out of education.

Fee ‘tax’. If charge fees, reduce subsidy.

Families getting low subsidies could pay fees.

This system could style get quite segregated.

Keep fee free places available – attempt to rectify equality issues.