*** Some information provided may vary due to Covid-19 ***
1. Where can I find out about uniform, computers, times of the day and other questions that I have about the day-to-day running of the school?
Kurnai’s Policy Documents include this information as well as Child Safety and Mandatory Reporting, Medical Information, Medication and First Aid, Bullying and Harassment, Behaviour Management, Camps, Canteen, Child Safe Code of Conduct, Communication, ICT and Mobile Device, BYOD, Financial Management and Control etc.
All College policies are reviewed by College Council as part of the 4-year review cycle. All policies are available to be viewed on the Kurnai College web page http://kurnai.co/policies
2. What is VCE and VCAL? What is the difference?
The VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education) is a qualification recognised around the world that provides diverse pathways into further study or training at University or TAFE and to employment. It is a certificate that most students in Victoria receive on satisfactory completion of their secondary education.
The VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning) is a senior secondary certificate of education recognized within the Australian Qualification. This course aims to provide the skills, knowledge and attributes to enable students to make informed choices about employment and education pathways. Personal development, students’ interests and pathways for senior secondary students, in the context of applied learning, underpin the design of VCAL.
The differences include:
- VCE students can obtain an ATAR score which aids in entering tertiary studies after completion of Year 12
- VCE offers a more theory-based approach.
- VCE requires completion of School Assessed Course Work (SACs)
- VCE students must complete one English, English Language or Literature but the rest of their subjects are their own choice. Remember a university course may have prerequisite subjects you need to complete to apply for the course.
- VCAL students have set subjects that they must do with the Vocational Education and Training (VET) being the one area of choice.
- VCAL students do not gain an ATAR score, however they can choose to do a TAFE course initially in order to obtain entry to tertiary studies or complete alternative tertiary pathway programs to allow them assist to University.
- VCAL offers a more practical approach.
- VCAL has compulsory work placement and Competency Based assessments.
- VET is compulsory in VCAL but is also an option in VCE.
- The application and an interview process also forms part of the entry process for VCAL. This is coordinated at year 10 level.
The Similarities include:
- Strict requirements of attendance for students.
- The amount of work the students undertake is equal for both VCE and VCAL but the type of work is different.
- Both have units you need to complete.
3. Will my child be in VCAL or VCE?
Each pathway option will be dependent on each person’s needs and is discussed during careers counselling while in year 10. Students transferring to Kurnai will require discussions with the Careers Team at the University Campus who will help you make the right decision for you.
4. What is VET? Do I need to do VET?
VET stands for Vocational Education and Training. This is hands-on education based on vocational courses offered through TAFE or other training providers. This could be related to: Hospitality, Sports and Recreation, Agriculture, Music, Retail and more.
VET is not a senior secondary certificate. Your child must study a VET course within a VCAL program. If studied in the VCE it can count towards the completion of the VCE and add to the ATAR score.
Depending on the provider VET is held on either Wednesday or Friday.
5. How do I go about selecting my classes?
A suitable timetable is created after careers counselling is held while in year 10. New transfers will need to make an appointment with the Careers team to work out a suitable timetable.
6. What are the class times?
University Campus will operate classes from 8.30 am to 2.50 pm. Students are to be in attendance five minutes before the start of their first class. University Campus is a senior learning environment and, as a result of this, there are no bells for the commencement and finish of classes. Students are expected to self-manage and arrive at class on time.
7. Do I get spare study periods?
For any periods that you do not have an allocated class you will be required to attend Study Hall. Study Hall is a marked attendance class where students are able to catch up on schoolwork, revise and prepare for SACs or exams.
8. Do I get any homework?
All students are encouraged to participate in a homework/home study program which aims to assist with:
- Completing unfinished classwork.
- Carrying out of extension projects and exercises.
- Development of study and review skills.
- Development of independent research skills.
- Increasing reading confidence.
- Development of the habit of regular study as preparation for senior courses.
Home study has three major elements, all of which should be part of each night's work:
- 1. Review of the day's work - including reading, summarising, re-working some examples.
- 2. Work on set projects.
- 3. Reading of novels, magazines, newspapers.
The amount of home study and homework varies for each year level, increasing as students reach the later years of their education.
The University Campus run after school study clubs on a Tuesday and Thursday afternoon in the library supported by staff and tutors.
9. Do I need to do work placement?
Students completing VCAL are required to secure work placement with a business for 150 hours over the year. This is completed on Fridays instead of attending school.
VCE students can access work placement during holidays although this is not required to complete the VCE.
10. Do we need to purchase any textbooks?
Students need to purchase any textbooks as required for their selected classes and class stationery.
The College book provider is Morwell Newsagency. Instructions and due dates for submitting booklists will be included with the booklist. All parents and students should carefully study the booklists which are made up to cover the needs of students new to the campus. You may already have many of the items on the list. All students must have the textbooks shown on the booklist. Students are responsible for bringing paper, pens, pencils, rulers, etc, to classes.
A secondhand book stall is held at the University Campus before Headstart. Information will be sent out to parents in Term 4 with the confirmed date each year.
Text book information is updated yearly and can be found here https://www.booklists.com.au/morwellnewspower/
11. Do students need a computer?
Yes, all students are required to have a computer for the start of the school year. Details of the recommended computer can be found at http://ict.kurnai.co/byod-requirements or by contacting the IT department. Computers can be purchased from the school to ease the burden on parents, and a CentrePay option is available for this also. We do, however, support any computer that is within our minimum specifications.
There are also limited computers available to borrow on a class by class basis from the library.
12. What do Kurnai students wear to school?
Students at the University Campus are not required to wear a school uniform. Students in Year 10 doing a VCE class are required to wear a uniform as per the Junior campus policy.
As the University Campus is an adult learning environment located in the midst of Federation University there is no specific school uniform required. All clothing must still be neat, sensible, with no offensive slogans, words or graphics. To meet Occupational Health and Safety requirements open toed shoes, slides, thongs and sandals are not permitted in some classes.
13. Do the students get allocated a locker?
Lockers are available although most students prefer to keep their belongings in their bag. There are more students than lockers at the University Campus so students need to find an empty locker, put their own lock on it and then register it with the administration. If the keys are lost and access is required, the school may need to break the lock.
14. What do I have to do if I am late or away?
If students are away from school for any reason, parents/guardians are asked to phone the school before 9.00 am. If you are a VCE student, absences on days of School Assessed Tasks and Courseworks (SATs/SACs) must be supported by a medical certificate or similar documentation.
If late to school, students need to sign in at the Advocates’ Office with a note explaining the lateness. Persistent lateness to school will be followed up by the Advocate team. The roll is marked in each class. Parents who have not notified the school of their student being absent or late will receive an initial SMS message to follow up. The telephone number for the College’s Attendance Hotline is (03) 5132 3711.
15. What if I have to leave school early?
Students leaving early from the University Campus are expected to sign out at the Advocates’ Office before departing.
16. Can my child have their mobile phone at school?
Recent state legislations do NOT allow students to have mobile phones on them during the school day. Phones are discouraged to be brought to school, however, if they are with a student, they should be kept in their locker turned off. If students are found with a phone during school hours, it will be confiscated and returned at the discretion of staff. If a student needs a phone for a legitimate medical reason they must contact an Advocate and follow the required process.
17. Can I do my Debutant Ball?
Each year there is a themed Deb Ball that is predominately for year 11 students. This is held late in Term 2. All school charges must be up to date and deb payment made before you are able to commence training.
Expressions of interest are called for in Term 1, and meetings are held to keep the students up to date of planning and due dates.
18. Is there a Graduation Celebration?
A Graduation celebration will take place for all graduating students and their family at the end of VCE exams. Tickets are limited to 3 per student and go on sale early Term 4 each year.
19. Do students go on camp?
There is no set camps at the University Campus, however there may be camps required to successfully pass a certain class (such as Outdoor Education).
Year 12 students do have the opportunity to go on the University camp, this gives students the opportunity to visit numerous Melbourne universities to get an understanding and feel for their next schooling path. This has previously been held in June each year, and costs approximately $50.00.
You may be eligible for the State Government Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund of $225 per annum per student to partially offset this camp. Families holding a valid means-tested concession card or temporary foster parents are eligible to apply. A Special Consideration category also exists.
20. Is there a school canteen?
The University Campus has canteen facilities available at Kurnai Kafé which operates out of the Food Studies area in the 6W building. It is a student run Kafe’ that is open with limited affordable items on select days and times, including barista coffees/hot chocolate, toasties, slices, cookies and hot meals. Cash and card are accepted.
Federation University also has its own cafeteria which students can access. Students may also walk to the Churchill Shopping Centre for lunch.
21. What is Headstart?
Headstart is usually held in the final two weeks of the current year. Students move up a year level and commence their next unit of work and are allocated their summer holiday homework.
22. What is Compass?
Compass is the College online school management system. This is accessible for College staff, parents and students. Items that are managed via Compass include timetables, learning tasks, attendance, news articles, student notes, learning behaviour reports and semester reports.
Log-in details are mailed out to families prior to the student's commencement. If you are having problems with accessing Compass assistance is available from your campus reception.
23. Who do I contact if I need to speak to someone about my child?
Parents are welcome to visit at any time to discuss matters affecting the education of their child at Kurnai College, however an appointment should be made before coming to the school so parents will not have to wait until the teacher is available. On arrival at the school parents must go to the General Office from where they will be guided to the appropriate Teacher or Team Leader.
If you have any concerns or information regarding your child that you would like to share, you can contact their Year Level Leading Teacher, Advocate group or a member of our welfare team.
Key staff contact details are available at http://kurnai.co/key-contacts or email via Compass.
24. When do we have to pay school fees and how much are they?
Currently there are no school fees payable. However, there may be additional charges dependent on your subject choices. Accounts are sent out in the mail each term and payments can be made at any campus office by cash, Eftpos, Bpay, direct deposit, Centrepay or over the phone.
25. Can my child catch a Kurnai school bus?
Students who travel more than 4.8 kilometres from home to school may claim a conveyance allowance. At the beginning of the school year forms for this purpose are available on request from any campus General Office for those who are eligible. Students who live out of town may be eligible for a free bus. Contact the school if this applies to you.
Town Buses – Follow the normal town routes and times. The cost per trip is $1.20. This cost may be subject to change due to an increase in fares. All town buses require a Myki card. Myki cards can be purchased from the Post Office. Students travelling from areas other than Morwell should check with Latrobe Valley Bus Lines regarding fares.
Students who travel on buses are under the absolute control of the drivers and must remain seated whilst the bus is in motion. Any student who is reported for poor conduct may be barred from using the bus.
University Morwell Students – All students living in Morwell who travel to the University Campus daily for their Year 11 and 12 classes should complete a Form 1 Application for Permission to Travel and a Form 3 Conveyance Claim Form so that their eligibility for free travel can be assessed. The school claims for conveyance for eligible students from DET for this travel and pays this money directly to the Latrobe Valley Bus Lines. An ID Card is then created by the school and given to students to access Morwell Conveyance buses free of charge. This ID Card must be carried at all times and shown to bus drivers.
Please note: Newly enrolled students in Year 11 and 12 can access free bus travel if they live over 4.8 kilometres from University Campus and it is their nearest government school. If they live closer to another government school they will probably have to pay for bus travel but discuss this when enrolling.
School bus routes, to and from Kurnai, are updated yearly dependent on passenger numbers.
Paperwork will need to be completed before students access the school bus network.
26. What House group will I be in?
Students will be grouped into house groups according to the groups of their siblings. If no siblings have been at the school before, then house colours are distributed evenly. These groups are used to mix campus students for participation at College events such as swimming and athletics days. Students are encouraged to dress up in their house colour at these events.
Kurnai House Groups
Forsyth – Blue
Freeman – Green
Siddle – Yellow
Thorpe – Red
27. Do we have Parent Teacher Conversations? Do we get Student Reports? What are Learning Behaviour Reports?
A full written Student Report is available at the end of each semester (Terms 2 and 4) on Compass.
Learning Behaviour Updates are issued every 5 weeks throughout the year. These reports give parents/guardians regular updates on your students' progress in eight categories – Submits tasks on time, Task Completion, On time to class, Class Participation, Class Preparation, Works respectfully with others, VCE SAC Results, VCE/VCAL Progression towards outcomes. These updates indicate what behaviours the student is exhibiting to improve their learning but do not indicate academic progress unlike the Student Reports.
Parent/teacher conversations are held at the end of Terms 1 and 3. These conversations are an important part of the overall assessment program. At these meetings, student progress, general curriculum, courses of study, excursions and any concerns are discussed. In order that all parents may have the opportunity to attend these functions, afternoon and evening sessions are usually arranged. Parents are able to book appointments on Compass, the parent and student portal. Day and Evening times are available.
28. Do we get a newsletter?
Each campus produces a newsletter every fortnight. These are distributed via Compass with hard copies available to collect from each relevant office reception upon request.
The College also has a Facebook account. We urge all parents to “like” our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kurnaicollege as a way of having updated information about what is happening at Kurnai. Kurnai will use Facebook, along with a range of other social media and communication tools, in emergency situations such as bush fires and to keep the school community informed with updates.
The campus library also has an Instagram page which we also encourage students and parents to follow at https://www.instagram.com/kurnaicollegeuclibrary/
29. What security is there at the school?
Kurnai College strives to create and maintain a safe school and work environment. Security cameras (closed circuit television systems - CCTV) are installed in the College to monitor school property, to assist in detecting and deterring unacceptable behaviour or activities, and to provide a historical record to assist in investigation.
Security cameras are used to accomplish three important goals:
- To enhance the safety of students and staff.
- To protect school and student property against theft and vandalism.
- To assist in the identification of intruders and of persons endangering the health, wellbeing or safety of school community members.
Camera footage may be shown to internal or external parties in order to establish identities, prove involvement in incidences or assist with disciplinary/legal procedures. This may include, but not be limited to, police, parents, teaching staff, students and Department of Education employees.
30. 2021 School Dates
All DET school dates can be found on the DET website. Campus and Excursion reminder dates can be found on our website calendar.
Term 1: 27 January (staff) to 1 April
Term 2: 19 April to 25 June
Term 3: 12 July to 17 September
Term 4: 4 October to 17 December
For further information contact the Campus Principal, Mr. Geoff Block to arrange a tour and enrolment appointment.