The Federation met with the Department on Friday, 21 August to discuss issues arising from a Memorandum to Directors Public Schools, Directors Educational Services and secondary and central school principals regarding TAFE-delivered VET courses for secondary students.
The Federation raised concerns regarding workload issues arising from the requirement to use a new online tool for student applications and the implications for schools of TAFE, potentially increasing the cost of TVET courses.
In response to the issues raised by the Federation, the Department updated the advice in the “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQs). The FAQs address a number of issues, including the following three key concerns raised by members:
1. Workload associated with the online tool
The Department demonstrated the tool to the Federation. This revealed that a considerable amount of data had been pre-loaded. Importantly, the Department’s FAQ section states that:
“If you have tried this and find it onerous, please discuss with your school principal about accessing school or RTO support funds for relief funds for another person to help. This offer was provided to schools to help with the USI collection process and it is understood that in some high demand areas this proved very useful.”
The Department has indicated that support is available from:
TVET Application Support:
Technical and Student Bulk Upload Support
2. Continuing Year 12 students
“TAFE have agreed to use the existing pricing mechanism for continuing students in 2016. No student enrolled in a BOSTES course with two year duration will be affected by the changes. These students will be given the highest priority for enrolment in 2016. This will also be the case in future years. This applies to any student enrolling in their second year of a TVET course so will include Stage 5 students.”
3. Will fewer students be able to access TVET in 2016?
The Department has advised that TAFE pricing for courses will not be known until Friday, 18 September.
The FAQs state:
“the outcome will be known when schools have completed the data entry and this data is matched to available courses, at available TAFE locations, at the new TAFE prices. TAFE NSW has indicated price rises, while the Department continues to provide at least the same level of funding for 2016 as was available in 2015. There is a need to establish fair and equitable processes to prioritise student demand within budget.”
The Federation will monitor the situation and continue to pursue issues raised by members. The complete list of FAQs and other material related to TVET can be found on the Department’s website.