Education Institute

VCE, VCAL and senior pathways

  • Most students find the senior years of education challenging and demanding. Being unwell during your VCE can add even more pressure and make it difficult to keep up. If your VCE or senior studies are interrupted by illness or hospital admissions, seek support and advice from your doctors, teachers and coordinators. It helps to plan ahead and communicate regularly with your school about your goals and the challenges you may be facing. 

    VCE/VCE Vocational Major (VM) students are encouraged to request a referral to the RCH Education Institute if they need support from a teacher during their RCH admission. 

    Key support people in schools

    • VCE Coordinator
    • Senior school coordinator or year level coordinator
    • Careers or pathway counsellors 
    • Inclusive education coordinator 
    • Student wellbeing coordinators 
    • Student Support Services including psychologists or counsellors 
    • Subject teachers 

    Planning your pathway

    There are many ways to undertake your final years of study. Be open minded and investigate all of your options before deciding on your pathway. Consider your goals for the future, your interests, your usual academic performance and the impact your health condition may have on your studies and attendance. 

    Discuss and research the options below if you think full-time VCE studies may not be possible while managing illness, treatment and recovery.

    VCAA Special Provisions 

    The Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority (VCAA) is responsible for developing and implementing curricula and assessment in Victoria including the VCE, the VCE Vocational Major, Victorian Pathways Certificate and VET studies. The VCAA make provisions for VCE students who are disadvantaged by serious illness, injury or disability. These provisions aim to provide all students with equal opportunity to participate in and complete their secondary level studies. 

    Special Provision is available to students completing the VCE or VCE VM for classroom learning, school-based assessment and VCE external assessments. Specific eligibility requirements apply for each type of Special Provision.

    Special Provisions will be approved based on your individual needs and eligibility. All applications must be submitted by your school and must be supported by evidence and documentation from relevant health professionals. 

    If you think you might need any type of special provision to complete your VCE or VM notify your VCE or senior school coordinator as soon as possible to begin your application. 

    The different categories of Special Provisions include: 

    Special exam arrangements

    Special examination arrangements may be approved to meet the needs of students with disabilities, illnesses or other circumstances that affect their ability to access a VCE external assessment.

    Applications must be submitted to the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) before the end of March each year and may take some time to prepare. Your school will apply on your behalf but you will need to provide documentation and evidence from your medical team so get started as early as possible.  

    Derived examination score 

    Students who are ill or affected by other personal circumstances at the time of a VCE external assessment and whose result is unlikely to be a fair or accurate indication of their learning or achievement in the study may apply for a Derived Examination Score (DES). If their application is approved, a DES will be calculated by the VCAA. 

    Applications on the grounds of illness or injury must be substantiated with evidence from an independent health professional.

    Compassionate late withdrawal

    A student may, under exceptional circumstances, be given approval for compassionate late withdrawal from VCE Units 3 and 4. 

    Documentation of the exceptional circumstances must be included. Compassionate late withdrawal is not available to students who are simply not coping with the demands of VCE studies. 

    Interrupted studies

    Students who are enrolled in Units 3 and 4, and experience serious illness or other major adverse personal circumstance during the course of the year, may apply for interrupted studies status and withdraw from Unit 4 of a VCE sequence. Students may apply for interrupted studies status for their whole program of studies or for only part of their program (for example, interrupting two studies of an enrolment of five studies). 

    Emergency exam arrangements

    Students who experience the onset of an illness or the occurrence of an injury or personal trauma during the assessment period should discuss, with their VCE coordinator, a school application for Emergency Special Examination arrangements, which may help them sit their VCE external assessments. Students are advised to attend every external assessment if at all possible. 

    Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) 

    The Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) is the central office that administers the application processes for places in tertiary courses at universities, TAFEs and independent tertiary colleges in Victoria. VTAC receives and forwards application information and supporting documentation to the relevant tertiary institutions.  VTAC also use information provided by the VCAA to calculate ATAR scores for VCE students.

    VTAC Special Entry Access Scheme 

    If there have been circumstances that have made it hard for you to do your best at study, you should consider putting in a special consideration application via VTAC’s Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS). SEAS is designed to make sure universities and institutions get a sense of your full potential. It enables institutions to consider your circumstances and their impact upon your studies when making course selection and scholarship decisions.

    Your SEAS application needs to be submitted online through your VTAC account early in October so leave yourself plenty of time to gather the required evidence and supporting statements from your medical team and other professionals. Students are responsible for submitting their own SEAS application. 

    Links and resources