Assurances given for VET teachers after meetings

Mary Fogarty

Careers Advisers and Vocational Education and Training in Schools (VETiS) Special Interest Groups raised a series of concerns at meetings in Term 3 this year. These issues were related to:

  • implementation of the co-assessment model for hospitality courses in schools
  • issues associated with online EVET courses
  • the responsibilities of VET teachers during students’ work placements.

Federation was concerned there had been inadequate information provided to hospitality teachers with regard to the implementation of the co-assessment model for hospitality, where outside hospitality workers were to assess courses with teachers who had less than three years’ experience working in the industry.

As planning for 2018 courses is already underway in secondary schools, VET teachers asked for assurances that appropriate procedures were in place for assessment of hospitality courses next year.

At a meeting in September with the Director of Secondary Education and Senior Pathways Officers, Federation was told that information and updates would be sent to hospitality teachers through the School Biz portal.

At the meeting, VET teachers were assured that no outside industry people would be coming into schools and there would be no use of any assessor who was not an employee of the Department. Funding would be provided for schools uploading and downloading the assessment material to cater for administrative support and relief.

Careers advisers had expressed concerns at the increasing number of EVET courses delivered online without any additional support provided to the school.

Teachers were expected to supervise students at school as well as liaise with providers with regard to the submission of assessment tasks and other materials thus adding to their workload.

One particular EVET course, Certificate of Aviation (Drones), requires the use of a classroom, an oval, a minimum of 15 students to undertake the course with a school teacher required to supervise the students while the company makes a profit. The Department is aware that teachers are concerned by the growing popularity of the course.

At the September meeting, the Department explained that online and blended (online and face-to-face) courses had been devised for rural and remote access schools.

Online offerings for 2018 by external providers will be 18, which is fewer than in 2017. Enrolments accessing online courses stand at 362 in 2017 out of 2000 students enrolled in VET courses, and 361 are with TAFE NSW.

Federation was also concerned that Safety Alert bulletin No. 66, distributed by the Department’s Senior Pathways Advisers, states that at least one supervisory visit with the student must be made during work placement.

Previous advice from the Department, in a letter from Sharon Ford, Director of Secondary Education in 2014, had been that: “Teachers are required to make contact with each host employer and student. This can be done via a phone call or a site visit. Site visits are not mandatory.”

At the September meeting, the Department agreed to insert the words: “Site visits have clear benefits for students, teachers and host employers but are not mandatory.”

Careers Advisers and VET teachers are encouraged to join their respective Special Interest Groups. Meetings are held once each term at Federation and there is an email list for rural and remote members.

Contact Mary Fogarty by email here for details.