Report from Assistant Principal – Learning Innovation

October 20, 2022

by Ms Carol Roberts Assistant Principal – Learning Innovation

The Writer’s Toolbox

St Patrick’s College are very excited to announce our whole school engagement in ‘The Writer’s Toolbox’ programme, commencing this term. ‘The Writer’s Toolbox’ is a research-informed approach to writing instruction, developed by Dr Ian Hunter.

Dr Hunter, himself, has a most compelling story behind the development of the programme.

As a university lecturer, he recognised it was the lack of writing skills and expression of ideas—rather than lack of knowledge—that caused his students to underperform.

Using skills from hundreds of years ago, he developed a specialised method to teach students how to write.

Recently, Dr Hunter spent the day at our College, working with students and teachers, to show us how the programme works. Students and teachers were amazed by the results. Studies of the programme have demonstrated incredible improvement in student writing, for those schools that have taken up the programme.

As part of the implementation of ‘The Writer’s Toolbox’, all teachers will take part in professional learning sessions. In addition, every student will be provided with a license to an online tool, which supports students in their writing development. The online tool uses artificial intelligence, to grade student work and provide individual, targeted feedback. This is supported by a directed and specialised approach to the teaching of writing, which will be delivered by SPC teachers.

As a community, we look forward to celebrating the impact of the programme.


New Senior Pathways 2023: VCE-VM

In 2023, an exciting new senior pathway, the Victorian Certificate of Education – Vocational Major, is being introduced across Victoria. St Patrick’s College are pleased to be offering this new senior pathway to our students, which will provide an alternative course of study to the traditional VCE.

The VCE-VM, as the name suggests, is a course of study which is primarily focussed on vocational pathways. It prepares students to move into apprenticeships, traineeships, further education and training, or directly into the workforce; university entry is a possibility via alternative entry programs. The VCE-VM has flexibility in that it enables students to select a range of VCE, VCE-VM or VET (Vocational Education) subjects, as well as SBATs (school-based apprenticeships), without having to complete the associated external examinations. A student will still complete all School Assessed Coursework/training for each subject. This pathway provides opportunities for students to qualify for their Victorian Certificate of Education – Vocational Major, without the associated ATAR score.

To qualify for the VCE-VM Certificate, students will need to have met the following requirements:

Students must successfully finish at least 16 units, including:

  • 3 VCE VM Literacy, VCE English or VCE Foundation English units (including a Unit 3–4 sequence)
  • 2 VCE VM Numeracy or VCE Mathematics units (any units)
  • 2 VCE VM Work Related Skills units (any units)
  • 2 VCE VM Personal Development Skills units (any units), and
  • 2 VET credits at Certificate II level or above (180 nominal hours – any units)

At the Unit 3-4 level, students must obtain not only the 3-4 VCE VM Literacy (or VCE English) sequence, but they need a minimum of 3 other Unit 3-4 sequences.

The other three Unit 3-4 sequences could include any 3-4 VCE subject, any 3-4 VM subject (eg. Work Related Skills or Personal Development Skills) or any 3-4 VET subject.

In 2023, St Patrick’s College will be introducing several new subjects to facilitate completion of the VCE-VM. These include:

  • VCE VM Work Related Skills Units 1-4
  • VCE VM Personal Development Skills Units 1-4
  • VCE VM Literacy Units 3-4
  • VCE Foundation Mathematics Units 3-4

Please note that only students completing the VCE-VM may enrol in the VCE-VM subject offerings.

We also offer a range of VET studies; it is important to note that for the VCE-VM, only two units of VET are required, at either Unit 1-2 or 3-4. There is no requirement to complete a full two-year VET certificate to gain the VCE-VM.

It is important to note that every student’s pathway is unique, and the new subjects listed above may not be required/necessary for every VCE-VM candidate. The flexibility of the VCE-VM means that any VCE Unit can be included for achievement of the VCE-VM (provided the necessary VCE-VM requirements have been met).

Should your son wish to make changes to his subject selections, there is still time to do so. Please do not hesitate to contact the College, if you would like further information regarding your son’s senior pathway options.