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Special provision for other circumstances

Compassionate Late Withdrawal

A student may, under exceptional circumstances, be given approval for Compassionate Late Withdrawal from VCE Units 3 and 4. The principal or principal’s delegate must apply to the Manager, Student Records and Results, on the student’s behalf, for permission to withdraw from one or more VCE Unit 3 and 4 studies. 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. This provision is designed to assist students who have made a genuine attempt to continue with their VCE studies while suffering major adverse circumstances, but find that they cannot complete their studies. If the exceptional circumstances claimed are for medical reasons, evidence from an appropriate health professional, is required as part of the application. No fees apply for Compassionate Late Withdrawal.

Compassionate Late Withdrawal from a VCE Unit 3 and 4 study will not be approved if a student has a final, reported grade for a VCE external assessment or School-based Assessment. If the student has scores for an external assessment or School-based Assessment associated with Unit 3 only, and wishes to continue with that study the following year, the school may apply for Interrupted Studies status on the student’s behalf.

Interrupted Studies

Interrupted Studies status enables students to complete VCE Units 3 and 4 and have a study score calculated over two calendar years. The principal or principal’s delegate, must apply to the Manager, Student Records and Results, on the student’s behalf.

The Interrupted Studies provision is primarily designed as a means to manage a student’s program to ensure access to the full range of assessments. Schools will need to demonstrate a student’s eligibility in the application documentation, the action taken so far in managing the student’s circumstances, and the arrangements being made by the school to ensure that the student can complete their studies when they return to study in the following year.

Eligibility for Interrupted Studies

Students who are enrolled in Units 3 and 4, and undertake a recognised overseas exchange program or 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 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).

Students who will be unable to satisfactorily complete Unit 3 in a study in the year of departure should consider Compassionate Late Withdrawal from the study, encompassing both Units 3 and 4.

Interrupted Studies status is not granted to students who wish to enrol in an alternative course of study or participate in activities of personal interest. Schools may consider making specific arrangements for a student who chooses to participate in sporting events, either interstate or overseas, and who will be absent from school for a brief period. These arrangements should focus on allowing students to achieve satisfactory completion of outcomes.

Students who take up full employment or a full-time apprenticeship, but maintain their commitment to the VCE by continuing enrolment in at least two sequences of Units 3 and 4, may be considered eligible.

Australian Defence Force personnel may apply for Interrupted Studies status. Schools should contact Student Records and Results for advice.

Interrupted Studies status will not be granted to students who satisfy the outcomes for Unit 4, but were unable to sit VCE external assessments in the October–November assessment period. In these cases the student may be eligible to apply for a Derived Examination Score (DES).

Exemption from the GAT

Updated February 2024

From 2022, the GAT will be delivered in two sections:

  • Section A will assess literacy and numeracy skills
  • Section B will assess skills in mathematics, science, technology, the arts and humanities, with an increased focus on critical and creative thinking skills

While the GAT already plays an important role in quality assuring VCE assessments, it will now provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate they have the literacy and numeracy skills expected of students completing studies at senior secondary level.

All students enrolled in one or more VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3-4 sequence will be expected to sit both Sections A and B.

Students enrolled in VCE Vocational Major – and no VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3–4 sequences – will be expected to sit Section A.

In addition to measuring literacy and numeracy, the VCAA will continue to use a student’s GAT scores (from both sections) to:

  • contribute to statistical moderation of School-based Assessments
  • calculate a DES
  • check the accuracy of external assessment marking.

Special Examination Arrangements for the GAT

Special Examination Arrangements may be approved for students with disabilities, illness or other circumstances that affect their ability to access questions in timed external assessments. Special Examination Arrangements such as rest breaks and extra working time are typically approved for the GAT.

Students who experience the onset of an illness, the exacerbation of an existing condition or the occurrence of an injury or personal trauma in the period immediately before or on the day of the GAT should discuss, with their VCE or vocational and applied learning coordinator, a school application for Emergency Special Examination Arrangements, which may assist them to sit the GAT.

Eligibility for exemption from the GAT

A student may be deemed eligible for an exemption from the GAT if they meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • They have a condition, circumstance or impairment for which arrangements cannot reasonably be made. Special Examination Arrangements for the GAT can be provided for students with a vision impairment or students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • They are prevented from sitting the GAT by injury, illness, personal trauma or a serious intervening event
  • They are employed and cannot be absent from work (evidence from the employer is required).

A personal trauma may include, but is not limited to, the death or serious illness of, or an accident involving, a family member.

A serious intervening event may include, but is not limited to:

  • an accident before or on the day of the GAT
  • attendance at a funeral of a family member or other person of close relationship
  • the required attendance at a legal proceeding.

Applications submitted on the basis of illness, injury, personal trauma or a serious intervening event require independent evidence from an appropriate professional.

Note: An application for an exemption from the GAT cannot be submitted solely on the basis of:

  • a student requiring Special Examination Arrangements
  • student not completing any graded assessment. Students who opt not to complete any graded assessments associated with VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3–4 sequences will not be granted an exemption on those grounds.
  • Interrupted Studies status or Compassionate Late Withdrawal
  • a student being interstate or overseas at the time of the GAT.

Interrupted Studies status and Compassionate Late Withdrawal

It is important for a student who has been granted Interrupted Studies status to attempt the GAT in both years, but particularly in the academic year they return to complete the study.

If a student has been withdrawn from VCE Vocational Major and/or all VCE or scored VCE VET units at Unit 3 and 4 level before the GAT, there is no need to apply for an exemption from the GAT. A student who has been withdrawn after the GAT is not eligible to apply for an exemption from the GAT.

Interstate and overseas arrangements

Students may be eligible to sit the GAT interstate or overseas if they:

  • are on an exchange program overseas
  • are on exchange in Victoria and are returning home immediately before or during the VCE external assessment period
  • are representing Australia for an official duty, for example, in a sporting, academic, military or cultural event
  • or their parent/guardian have been asked to work interstate or overseas.

Schools must submit an Application to sit VCE external assessments interstate or overseas form to the VCAA.

Evidence of eligibility must be submitted with the application form.

Events such as family holidays, birthdays and weddings are not considered valid grounds for an application to sit VCE external assessments interstate or overseas.

The Application to sit VCE external assessments interstate or overseas form is available on VASS.

How to apply for exemption from the GAT

If a student’s circumstances are deemed to meet the eligibility requirements for an exemption from the GAT, their school may apply to the VCAA using the Application for Authorised for exemption from the General Achievement Test (GAT) form which is available on VASS.

Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS)

The Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS) is the umbrella program run by most institutions to which students will be applying for courses through VTAC. The Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS) is for tertiary applicants who have experienced educational disadvantage.

For more information about SEAS, visit VTAC.

The information in this section is also available in Word format.