Posted on 28. Mar, 2012 in News

The Baillieu Government’s $50 million cut to Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) is having a significant impact school budgets, a new survey has revealed.

Shadow Education Minister James Merlino said a State Opposition survey of schools has shown the cut to VCAL was impacting on schools’ ability to offer a range of programs.

“Principals, teachers, students and families across Victoria have known for a long time that Ted Baillieu’s $12 million a year cut to VCAL would have an impact on their schools,” Mr Merlino said.

“With more than 100 schools responding to the survey, the Baillieu Government should now have a clear understanding on just how these cuts are hurting schools and students.

“Schools have had to take money from other programs or cut teaching hours to ensure the VCAL program is available in 2012.

“In some cases, the funding shortfall has forced principals to contemplate discontinuing the popular alternative program to VCE.

“Mr Dixon claimed the cuts wouldn’t affect the ‘delivery of VCAL’ but this survey makes it clear this isn’t true.”

Mr Merlino said the survey found that as a result of Mr Baillieu’s cuts, schools were coping in different ways, including: • Reducing literacy specialist teachers; • Ceasing employing Managed Individual Pathways (MIPs) teachers (career advisers); • Cancelling the expansion of VCAL to a ‘satellite’ program, to further reach out to disengaged students; • Going in to debt in order to keep VCAL running; • Reducing maintenance staff who assisted with practical VCAL projects; • Considering cancelling a school camp; • Reducing the range of electives and programs i.e. music or driver education courses; • Reducing numeracy tutors; • Increasing class sizes by up to 25 per cent; and • Employing less teachers or reducing their hours.

“Mr Baillieu can’t ignore this problem any more. His callous cuts to VCAL are limiting students’ options and forcing people out of work,” Mr Merlino said.

“This survey shows the lack of coordination funding is detrimentally affecting staff and students. Mr Baillieu must rethink this short-sighted decision and reinstate coordination funding for VCAL.”

VCAL was started by the former Labor Government in 2002, and is undertaken by about 20,000 students at more than 400 schools, TAFEs and adult learning centres.

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