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VIC Update: Bushfire youth workshops, 1000s of tutors and 580k students return to school

More than 584,000 primary, secondary and specialist school students in Melbourne will return to the classroom this week as part of a staggered return to face-to-face learning.

Premier Daniel Andrews was happy to announce the news: “Schools have extra measures in place to help students and teachers return safely – but everyone has a part to play by staying at home if you’re sick and getting tested.”

All primary school students, students in Year 7 and students studying VCE and VCAL subjects, as well as students at specialist schools will be back in the classroom this week.

Primary school and specialist school students in regional Victoria returned to face-to-face learning last week while all other students at regional schools, including Years 7 to 10 and VCE and VCAL students will return from today.

It will mean more than 846,000 students across government, Catholic and independent schools in Victoria will be back in the classroom by the end of this week.

Students in Years 8 to 10 in metropolitan Melbourne will return from Monday 26 October, in the final step of the staggered return of students and teachers to classrooms across the state.

This staged return is based on the advice of the Victorian Chief Health Officer and is designed to limit movement across the community as staff and students return to school, as well as enable monitoring of the impact of the first stage of students returning to school.

The staggered return will also allow for schools to work with parents to support the safe return of students to on-site learning and enable schools to review the implementation of risk-mitigation measures as all students return.

This will include staggered start and finish times, physical distancing at school entrances and drop-off points, and restrictions on the adults who can enter school sites.

As students return to face-to-face learning, schools will focus on supporting the mental health and wellbeing of students and identifying students who will need help catching up.

The Victorian Government recently announced a $28.5 million package of initiatives to ensure more students can receive more support, including through the Navigator Program, LOOKOUT, Mental Health Practitioners and the Mental Health in Primary Schools pilot.

Minister for Education James Merlino said: “Our focus for Term 4 is on making sure that every student is supported and getting our students back to the classroom is a significant step forward.”

Thousands of Tutors Hope to Boost Post-Lockdown Learning

More than 4,100 tutors will be deployed across Victorian schools in 2021 to ensure no student is left behind in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.  

The $250 million package is the single biggest boost to individual learning support in Victoria’s history, and will make sure any student who may have fallen behind or become disengaged gets the help they deserve. The package will support more than 200,000 students across the state.

The Victorian Government is calling upon pre-service teachers, teachers on leave, retired teachers and casual relief teachers to sign up to be tutors to get back in the classroom.

Working in small groups, the tutors will be available for every single Victorian government school, providing extra support for students who need it – no matter their circumstances or background.

Our teachers have done a remarkable job this year and with the additional support of onsite tutors, these teaching teams can ensure that students have dedicated and individualised support throughout 2021.

The vast majority of Victorian students spent much of Term Two and Three learning remotely. While some students excelled, some struggled – particularly those in disadvantaged cohorts.

Evidence suggests students who struggled most with online learning included those with low levels of English, those already at risk of disengaging from school, or those with home environments not conducive to remote learning. To bring these students up to speed, the package includes:

  • $209.6 million for every government school to attract and employ 3500 tutors across the 2021 school year, to deliver small group learning to students who need it. It is estimated around 80 per cent of these tutor roles will be filled by women, who have been the most impacted financially throughout the pandemic.
  • $30 million to employ 600 tutors at non-government schools to support disadvantaged students.
  • $8.6 million in 2021 for Family Engagement Initiatives to support schools working with families to lift student outcomes and re-engage students with learning. This includes an additional 16 Koorie Engagement Support Officers and 60 additional multilingual and bicultural workers.

Schools will determine how tutoring support is best implemented in their school. The tutors will provide targeted teaching to students, with a focus on literacy and numeracy as these are the foundational skills.

This package is on top of the additional funding announced for further mental health support for students and to support kinder kids starting school next year. To register interest in being a tutor visit www.education.vic.gov.au

Youth Workshops Target Bushfire-Hit Communities

Minister for Education James Merlino has invited young people in Outer Gippsland and Ovens Murray areas affected by last summer’s bushfires to sign up for online youth advocacy workshops on 15, 20 and 22 October to help lead local bushfire recovery as part of a Bushfire Trauma Recovery & Resilience program to rebuild their local communities.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville said: “Engaging young people in recovery activities and decisions will bring fresh ideas and ensure that our actions meet the needs of our young people so that they are supported and able to lead within their communities.”

The workshops will support young people to lead and engage with recovery in their community and are run in partnership with Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic).

Young people are also invited to take part in a workshop on 6 November to advise on the establishment and operation of a youth-led disaster recovery network.

Young people are urged to bring their fresh ideas and forward-thinking to the interactive workshops to help inform bushfire recovery projects and initiatives over the next two years, including the establishment of a youth-led disaster recovery network. The information will also be published in a final report due for release in 2021.

There will be further consultations in October to December with youth, in partnership with YACVic and Bushfire Recovery Victoria, as part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to fund support for communities impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires.

As part of this funding, the Department of Education and Training has established a Trauma Recovery Team to provide expert advice and psychosocial support to schools to support children and young people to recover and rebuild from the impacts of the bushfires.

To register, visit  yacvic.org.au/get-involved/events/youth-advocacy-workshops/#TOC-3.

School News

School News is not affiliated with any government agency, body or political party. We are an independently owned, family-operated magazine.

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