Matt Coughlan and Daniel McCulloch
(Australian Associated Press)
Year 12 students will not face more study in 2021 to complete secondary school under a federal government deal with states and territories.
Education ministers have met on Tuesday to thrash out a plan for students trying to complete their final year in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan has pledged that every year 12 student would end 2020 with an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank.
“There will be no year 13. There will be no mass repeating,” he said in Melbourne on Tuesday.
“You will get your leaving certificate this year and you will be able to go on to university, vocational education and into work.”
The commonwealth will work with universities to determine how ATARs will be finalised given the challenges around the coronavirus.
States and territories will determine assessment processes.
“What we all are going to endeavour to do is to make sure that this year’s ATAR scores are the same as last year’s ATAR scores,” Mr Tehan said.
“But we will take into account those students who have to learn from home, those who might not be able to access the technology like others do.”
Universities have already started talking to schools about how to make sure there is a clear pathway for 2020 school leavers.
They already use interviews, recommendations from schools and assessing a student’s academic record across the whole of years 11 and 12 to decide if they are suited to a particular course.
Meanwhile, medical experts continue to insist schools are safe even as parents are urged to keep their children home if they can.
As the bulk of students move to online learning in term two, Mr Tehan said teachers would have extra resources to deliver education.
The minister said there was no medical advice saying schools were unsafe.
“It’s safe for kids to be at school,” Mr Tehan said.
“It’s safe for teachers to be there teaching those children, with all the normal requirements taken into account.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there was no international medical data suggesting a big risk to children by sending them to school.
He said health advice around schools was driven by occupational health and safety.