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If you have a health condition/disability, balancing high school with other aspects of life, may take a little more work. Prioritising your health might become tricky especially when demands at school increase. However, looking after yourself and knowing where you can access supports will help you to achieve your educational goals. This brochure contains handy hints and information about resources and supports.
It helps to know about your health condition and to be honest about how it affects you. This will help you to negotiate learning supports at school. You could prepare a short script or an information pack so that you know what to say to others, particularly if you are telling teachers or friends for the first time. Your healthcare team could assist you with this too.
Telling at least one trusted or key teacher/ coordinator at school about your health condition/disability helps them to better understand challenges that you may face at school and how it may impact upon your education. An overview of your condition will help to provide you with better support and outcomes at school.
Your friends could also be a great support for you if they have a general understanding of your condition too.
All VCE subjects require you to attend at least 50 hours of class time however individual schools set their own minimum attendance requirements. However, if you have a certified health related issue, schools are able to be more accommodating. If you are missing school due to health reasons, remember to:
VCE is designed for students who are looking for an academic program and who would like to attend university or a general course of study after secondary school.
VCAL is designed for students who want a vocational course of study as it combines two days at school (studying literacy, numeracy work related skills and personal development), one day in a TAFE course and two days working.
It’s best to speak to your VCE/VCAL coordinator about these options and consider which one would work best for you. You could even explore the opportunity to do a bit of both!
If you have a chronic health condition/disability and are undertaking VCE, it is highly recommended that you apply for Special Provision through your VCE coordinator. You never know if your health condition/disability will affect you during exams. You will need to be organised because applications close at the start of March each year. Remember that the form will take time to complete because an impact report needs to be filled out by your doctor, a teacher and yourself so best to organise this well in advance! Your doctor will write a supporting letter for your application which provides details about your health condition/disability, how it impacts upon you, along with recommended educational supports.
Your VCE coordinator will also know of additional support arrangements, such as the ‘derived exam score’ if unexpected circumstances interrupt your studies or impact upon you during exam time.
Applying for SEAS is recommended, particularly if you have experienced disadvantage, including having to manage your health condition/disability. SEAS is a special consideration program which allows selection officers at universities and TAFEs to consider educational disadvantage when making offers. This may not affect your course entry but it may help you if your score falls short of the required ATAR.
SEAS can be applied for directly through the VTAC website online after a course application has been submitted. Submit your application early. Remember you can update your application as often as you like before the closing date in early October of each year.
You can apply under as many SEAS categories as you like, provided you are able to supply evidence to support your application. The categories are:
Your Impact Statement should include how your circumstances have affected you including:
Be honest and open as possible in your Impact Statement and provide specific dates and details of the disadvantage to your studies if possible.
This Statement of Support, which can be used for SEAS and scholarships, should provide information about the ‘impact’ of your health condition/disability. It can be submitted online or in hard copy and should include:
If your doctor is providing this Statement of Support online:
If your doctor is providing a hard copy Statement of Support, download your personalised cover sheet from your VTAC user account and provide this to your doctor.
Once your SEAS application is submitted online, you will receive confirmation by email and check this in your VTAC user account. You won’t be advised of the outcome of your application or ATAR/aggregate bonus, as the university or TAFE will make its own assessment of your application.
There are many different scholarships available, including those for academic performance and other. You can apply for many of these scholarships through VTAC and list of these are available on their website. You only need to submit one scholarship application which is then sent to multiple institutions depending on your preferences.
More information about other scholarships are available through the Department of Education and Training websit https://education.gov.au/search/site/scholarship or through the websites of individual universities and TAFE institutions.
Some other useful sites containing information about scholarships include:
Speaking to your VCE/VCAL coordinator or trusted teacher about additional support is helpful. Often individual teachers are happy to spend extra time with you and the school may have special programs that could assist. Ideally, ask your VCE coordinator about setting up a Student Support Group meeting before you tackle VCE/VCAL to plan for your learning needs taking into consideration your health condition/disability. In preparation for this meeting, write down a list of points that you would like to raise with your teachers and let them know how they can support you and your learning needs.
Some educational support programs available to assist young people with health conditions/disabilities include:
This is for students with chronic and serious illnesses. The program can fund:
Provides educational grants and other related supports for young people with cancer up to the age of 24.
Provides additional assistance in getting back on track with your learning particularly if you have experienced extended absences from school due to your illness/disability. Your school can assist you in applying fo a visiting teacher.
If you have a serious illness or disability, you may be able to access additional funding so that you are able to access greater support through the school, such as individualised support through an Education Support Officer or therapies like physiotherapy or occupational therapy.
This funding is applied for through the Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD) if you attend a government school or the Literacy, Numeracy and Special Learning Needs program (LNSLN) if you attenda Catholic school. The PSD has six levels of funding and the amount of funding awarded will vary each year depending on the nature and severity of your condition/disability. Your school will have more information about this and will be able to guide and assist you with this process if you are eligible to apply for PSD or LNSLN funding.
More information is available on the following sites and through your school:
If you attend an Independent (private) school, you may be able to access additional learning supports through a yearly allocation of funds to support students with serious health conditions and/or disabilities provided by the Commonwealth government to your school. To find out more about this, speak to your school or Independent Schools Victoria.
Talk to your doctor about your preferred VTAC courses or career options so that they can guide you through potential challenges associated with your condition. It’s best to do this before you complete your VTAC preferences form. Whilst you may have your heart set on a particular career path, it may not always be the most beneficial for you in termsof your health or vice versa.
There are many resources and programs available in universities and TAFEs to help you with your learning and wellbeing on campus. This information will be available on their individual websites. Every institution will have a Student Equity and Support Coordinator (SESC) or Disability Liaison Officer (DLO) to support students with health conditions and/or disabilities. They can link you in to a range of different supports including assistive technology, academic support workers, accessible formatting for your learning materials, equipment loans and alternative exam arrangements. You could make an appointment with the SESC or DLO prior to commencing your course to discuss your options.
You may be more interested in exploring other options such as:
1. Apprenticeships/traineeships—helpful organisations include:
2. Employment or volunteer work—helpful organisations include:
There are other great organisations and sites which can provide useful information to help you achieve your educational and vocational potential. These include:
This is a general timeline based on some of the important VCAA and VTAC dates. These will change slightly from year to year so be sureto check specific dates on: