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2016 News

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22 December: Review of Victoria’s Education and Training Reform Regulations

The Department of Education and Training is reviewing the current Education and Training Reform Regulations 2007(Regulations) before they sunset on 26 June 2017. The public consultation period is now open and will close on Tuesday, 5pm on 28 February 2017.

Further information

13 December: Child safe standards - Update

Schools
Every Victorian school has now completed the VRQA online self-assessment process, with the VRQA receiving all 2232 school child safe standards self-assessments.

Congratulations to all Victorian schools for your commitment to zero tolerance for child abuse.

Only 13 per cent of Victorian schools are yet to submit their child safe standards declaration and statutory declaration to the VRQA.  If you have not yet submitted your school’s declarations, please email a scanned copy to vrqa.schools@edumail.vic.gov.au as a priority.

The VRQA has commenced a pilot program to trial the assessment tools and reporting templates for reviewing schools’ compliance with the child safe standards. The program will inform the process for monitoring compliance which is to be rolled out next year. Thank you to the schools that have agreed to be in the pilot program.

Non-school senior secondary education providers
Thank you to all non-school senior secondary providers for completing the child safe standards self-assessment and for submitting the declarations.
From 2017, compliance with the child safe standards will form part of the review and re-registration process.

Registered training organisations
Registered training organisations (RTOs) are required to meet the chid safe standards from 1 January 2017. RTOs should visit the VRQA’s child safe standards website for more information about the seven standards and to access the resources available.  

 

13 December: Warburton Primary School shares child safe standards journey

 

For Warburton Primary School, doing all they can to keep children safe is their bread and butter.

Schools have been working this year to self-assess how their policy and practices keep children safe, and how they have embedded the principles of the child safe standards into their school culture.

Warburton Primary School is just one of the schools that has demonstrated creativity in its response.

Principal Damian Marley said the school rewrote the standards in child-friendly language, tested them with Years 4 to 6 students and printed them in the school newsletter.

The school also badged its website header with “child safe school” and is preparing to print the standards on posters.

'We’re focused on making it very visible so it gets embedded in our school culture,' Damian said.

'We don’t want to dump a big pile of documents on our community.'

Damian said the school of just 57 students always endeavoured to focus on the importance of respectful relationships, particularly with vulnerable children who present with trauma, have challenging behaviours or have faced neglect.

'The school has always done what it can to care for and nurture kids but also to change behaviour with education,' Damian said.

'We attempt to really highlight the importance of students regulating their own behaviour and to empower them as much as we can while they’re still at school.'

Damian said the child safe standards reflected the school’s theme of providing constant support to children.

'It’s not just another compliance action — it’s very much our bread and butter,' Damian said.

'It is very important for us to be proactive.'

Warburton Primary’s child-friendly child safe standards

Warburton Primary School is a child-safe place! We have seven standards to prove it.

Standard 1: Child safety is everything to us. A school without safe children is no school at all!

Standard 2: We walk the talk. Read our policy here!

Standard 3: We have a code of conduct that all adults working here have signed. Read it here!

Standard 4: We carefully choose the best staff, we train them well and we keep bettering ourselves to keep you safe.

Standard 5: If something goes wrong, we will not waste any time in helping you and your fellow students.

Standard 6: We keep looking around to minimise and prevent any risks to your safety.

Standard 7: We teach you ways to grow and thrive and improve in your learning and in your relationships with others.  We believe in the importance of your voice. Everyone has a say!

 

13 December: Apprenticeship and Traineeship Dispute Resolution Policy

Apprenticeship and Traineeship Dispute Resolution Policy

Most apprenticeships proceed smoothly but occasionally disputes between apprentices and employers arise.

As previously reported in e-news, the VRQA has changed its disputes resolution policy and its associated procedures. 

Information about these changes, including the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Dispute Resolution Policy is now available on this website.

13 December: Revised self-assessment tool for independent schools

 

Revised self-assessment tool for independent school

The revised Independent School Review Self-Assessment Tool  (doc - 435kb) is now available on the VRQA website.

The self-assessment tool is a downloadable resource to help independent schools prepare for a review. Recently updated to reflect new requirements, the tool is used to assess compliance with the minimum standards for school registration.

It outlines the evidence schools need to demonstrate compliance with each standard.

More information about the tool is available on this website.    

13 December: VRQA Complaints FAQs

 

 

Ever wondered what is involved when a complaint is made to the VRQA?

The VRQA recently published its complaints FAQs to answer questions that may arise during the complaints process. The FAQs outline what can be expected and the steps involved when a complaint is made about an education and training provider.

For more information see Complaints handling process FAQs.

13 December: Reminder: Bushfire preparedness

 

   Schools are reminded that that they are required to meet the VRQA Guidelines on Bushfire Preparedness.

 Under the guidelines, all schools are required to maintain an emergency management plan that includes guidelines for emergency bushfire management. The emergency management plan must be reviewed at least annually and after any significant incident.

Additional bushfire preparedness measures must be taken by schools listed on the Bushfire at-Risk Register maintained by the Department of Education and Training (DET), including:

  • informing students, staff and parents/guardians about relevant arrangements
  • maintaining a register of bushfire emergency equipment and making sure this equipment is in working order
  • maintaining notices of bushfire evacuation procedures and emergency contact numbers.

New VicEmergency App and VicEmergency hotline Launched
The new VicEmergency App brings together advice and warnings for fires,Drilling floods, storms, earthquakes, tsunamis and water safety. It replaces the FireReady app and can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.

The VicEmergency app can be used to create up to 20 tailored watch zones across multiple devices including mobile phones, tablets and the VicEmergency website. The app allows users to monitor advice and warnings for multiple locations. FireReady users will need to set up new watch zones as they do not transition across to the new platform.

The new VicEmergency Hotline (1800 226 226) brings together all emergency numbers including the Victorian Busfhire Information Line, the Victorian Emergency Relief Information Line and the VICSES Flood and Storm Information Line.

The VicEmergency website, app and hotline brings together information and warnings from agencies including Country Fire Authority (CFA), Department of Economic Development and Transport and Resources (DEDJTR), Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Life Saving Victoria, Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB), and Victoria State Emergency Service (SES).

Further Information

 

28 September: Expressions of interest - Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority Board Member

The VRQA is seeking expressions of interest for members of the VRQA Board to commence terms of appointment in March and October 2017.

People willing to contribute to the regulation of education and training in Victoria are invited to express interest. Members are appointed for up to three years and are eligible for an annual remuneration.

For more information see the Get on Board website.

22 September: Child safe standards online self-assessment and declaration process

Schools quick to complete the self-assessment and declaration process

Thank you to all school principals who have completed the child safe standards online self-assessment and submitted their statutory declarations.

The VRQA has now received most of the documentation from independent and Catholic schools with positive feedback coming from the sector.

 

Mary Kearney, principal at St Joseph’s Primary in Northcote said completing the process was a timely opportunity to bring child safety to the forefront of discussion, prompting her and senior staff to reflect upon and improve existing school policies and procedures.

Government schools were issued the online self-assessment and declarations on 31 August – 1 September 2016 and have until 28 September 2016 to complete the process or seek an extension. An impressive number of government schools were quick to complete the process with the VRQA having already received many government school self-assessments and statutory declarations.

The VRQA has published a number of resources to help schools still completing the process, including an instructional video Compliance requirements. The Department of Education and Training has also published a number of resources on the PROTECT portal.

Non-school senior secondary provider update

In October, the VRQA will release an online self-assessment and declaration process to all non-school senior secondary providers (NSSSP). Details about this process will soon be provided. In the meantime, a number of resources are available to help NSSSPs prepare for the upcoming process, including:

The child safe standards came into effect for non-school senior secondary providers (NSSSP) on 1 January 2016.

22 September: Podcast to guide RTOs through changes

A useful new resource is available to all registered training organisations (RTO) wishing to add the TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment to their scope of registration.

A two-part podcast, developed by the VRQA with the VET Development Centre, guide listeners though changes to the updated qualification and helps RTOs understand what the VRQA requires when applying to add the TAE qualification to their scope of registration.

The podcasts follow on from the VRQA TAE workshops held in May and August 2016. They can be downloaded or streamed from the VRQA website. Audio transcripts can also be downloaded.

For more information see:  Certificate IV in Training and Assessment podcast.

22 September: For those offering new VET qualifications in 2017

Registered training organisations (RTOs) wanting to deliver a new qualification in 2017 should apply to amend their scope of registration as soon as possible.

An RTO cannot advertise that it delivers a qualification until the VRQA has approved it to the scope of registration. Timelines and evidence requirements for this process vary, so it is best to apply now.

If you are applying to add a unit or qualification that is replacing a superseded item, you will need to determine if the item is equivalent. This information can be found on www.training.gov.au.

Applications for equivalent units or qualifications do not require evidence of readiness or payment if they are submitted within the transition period. RTOs with standing applications for amendments to training packages do not need to apply to replace superseded scope items.

Applications for non-equivalent scope items have an application fee and will require you to provide evidence of readiness.

If you have any questions regarding our application processes please contact us at qar@edumail.vic.gov.au

 

22 September: Homestay alert for schools - new rooming house laws

This year, the Victorian Government implemented the Rooming House Operators Act 2016 requiring the registration of rooming houses in Victoria.

For schools, the Act only applies where a school has arranged accommodation for students at a homestay providing paid accommodation to four or more people at the premises. This excludes the homestay provider’s family and applies to both domestic and international students.

Many CRICOS providers, including the Department of Education and Training, have their own education provider standards for homestay accommodation which set a limit of one, or at most two students in any homestay.

For further information, please contact Daisy Adams, senior regulation officer, adams.daisy.d@edumail.vic.gov.au or (03) 9032 1540.

22 September: Group training organisations – information now online

Victorian group training organisations are now co-regulated by the VRQA and Apprenticeship Employment Network (AEN). These arrangements came into effect on 1 July 2016.

Details about the new regulatory arrangements, including the Group Training Organisation’s Policy and Procedures (docx - 127.27kb) are now available on this VRQA website.

30 August 2016: Information Sheets No. 3 and No. 4

In order to provide our stakeholders with useful information that will assist them to make informed decisions we have developed the third and forth information sheet for 2016. 

Information Sheet No. 3: Vocational education and training providers in Victoria

Information Sheet No. 4: Registered schools in Victoria.

 

 

8 August 2016: Child safe standards resources for schools now available

 

An online child safe standards self-assessment and declaration process is being phased in for all Victorian schools.

A number of new resources to assist schools to meet the child safe standards are now available from the VRQA, the Department of Education and Training (DET) and the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV).
The following resources about the child safe standards are available on the VRQA child safe standards website

  • Compliance requirements (video)
  • SAMPLE child safe standards compliance self-assessment and action plan
  • Preparing for compliance (video)
  • Child safe standards compliance self-assessment and action plan (pro forma)
  • Strategies to embed a child safety culture checklist (standard 1)  
  • Process for developing a child safety policy (standard 2)
  • Child safety code of conduct checklist (standard 3)
  • Child safety code of conduct: acceptable and unacceptable behaviours checklist (standard 3)
  • Staff selection checklist (standard 4)
  • Child safety risk management checklist (standard 6)
  • What is a school environment? (video)
  • Informing the school community (standards 1,2,3,5)
  • Safety at your child’s school (for parents)
  • Choosing a school for your child (for parents)
  • YMCA: Creating a child safe culture (video)
  • Promoting the safety of children with a disability (video).

A video resource about who makes up a school community is coming soon.

The resources were informed by the VRQA child safe standards readiness tool findings and consultation with key school sector and parent organisation stakeholders.

DET recently published PROTECT, an  online portal with a range of resources for schools such as fact sheets, online training modules and templates.

CECV has also produced a number of resources to help Catholic schools with each of the seven child safe standards.
Further information

 

8 August 2016: Compliance with the child safe standards

An online child safe standards self-assessment and declaration process is being phased in for all Victorian schools.

The VRQA recently notified all independent and Catholic school principals by email of the requirement to self-assess against the child safe standards as set out in Ministerial Order No. 870 and complete a declaration and statutory declaration.

The VRQA has produced Compliance requirements, a video resource to guide schools through the self-assessment and declaration process.

Michelle Green, Chief Executive of Independent Schools Victoria and Stephen Elder OAM, Executive Director of the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria recorded video messages of support for the child safe standards for their schools.

Government schools will be emailed about completing the process in September 2016.

Government schools can watch the short Preparing for compliance video for an explanation of how to prepare for the September self-assessment and declaration process.

The VRQA has developed a number of resources, including the Child safe standards compliance self-assessment and action plan to help schools assess their compliance with the child safe standards and identify any gaps to be addressed.

Government schools are encouraged to begin the self-assessment process now.

All schools have four weeks to complete the process or request an extension. For more details, watch: Compliance requirements or see our FAQs.

Compliance with the child safe standards is not a requirement of the 2016 school reviews.

Reviews conducted during the remainder of the year will adopt an educative approach so that schools are aware of and are supported to meet the new requirements.

The VRQA is working with the Department of Education and Training, the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria and Adventist Schools Victoria to finalise school review arrangements for 2017.

Further information

 

 

8 August 2016: Changes to the apprenticeship dispute resolution process

 

 

Most apprenticeships proceed smoothly but occasionally disputes between apprentices and employers arise.

The apprenticeship dispute resolution process has changed to resolve disputes as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Parties to a dispute may choose to have it resolved by a delegate ‘on the papers’, without the need for a formal proceeding. Time limits have also been introduced to stop employers and apprentices being left in limbo after an apprentice’s employment has ceased.

Information on these changes will be available soon on the VRQA website. In the meantime, if you would like to know more, contact Chris Ingham, Executive Manager, Apprenticeships and Traineeships at ingham.christopher.j@edumail.vic.gov.au.

8 August 2016: A new group training regulatory system

 

Victorian Group Training Organisations are now regulated under new arrangements that commenced on 1 July 2016.

The VRQA and the Apprenticeship Employment Network (AEN) are now working together to co-regulate Victorian group training organisations (GTOs).

Each GTO will self-assess their compliance annually, through a survey administered by the AEN. This information will then be provided to the VRQA who will determine which organisations require further audit using a risk-based approach. All new applications will go through this self-assessment and review process.

The VRQA will make all decisions on new applications and on renewal, cancellation and suspensions of GTOs. In an Australian-first, the Victorian system will adopt the revised national GTO standards.

Information on these changes will be available soon on the VRQA website. In the meantime, if you would like to know more, contact Chris Ingham, Executive Manager, Apprenticeships and Traineeships at ingham.christopher.j@edumail.vic.gov.au.

17 May 2016: Update TBM Training P/L (In Liquidation)

On 16 May 2016 the Victorian Supreme Court appointed a new liquidator. Mr Salvatore Algeri of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu is now the liquidator.

The new liquidator can be contacted on 9671 7060 or by email tbmtraining@deloitte.com.au.

Students who were accessing their entitlement to government subsidies under the Victorian Training Guarantee (VTG) at TBM Training, will be able to continue to access this entitlement at their new training provider.

Students may visit the Victorian Skills Gateway for information about alternative training providers that deliver the relevant qualification and offer VTG funding. Students can also call the TAFE and Training line of the Department of Education and Training on 131 823.  

13 May 2016: Information Sheets No.1 and No. 2

In order to provide our stakeholders with useful information that will assist them to make informed decisions we have developed two information sheets for 2016.

13 May 2016: Profile: VRQA Board Chair Ms Pam White PSM

Ms Pam White PSM joined the VRQA Board as Chair in March 2016.

Pam comes to the VRQA having held many executive positions in the Victorian Public Service including chief executive officer of the Victorian Bushfire and Reconstruction and Recovery Authority and acting chief executive officer of the Victorian State Services Authority.

A full biography of Pam is available on this website.

Pam spoke to Louise Mitchell, senior communications officer VRQA, about joining the VRQA.

What excites you most about joining the VRQA as Board Chair?

I have a passion for public policy, and the whole agenda of the VRQA is critical to public policy. It doesn't get much more important than the education of children and students. 

I'm excited to be joining for the review of the regulations because this is the time to influence the agenda. It's the time when you get to reflect on what's worked and what hasn't and what changes you can recommend to government.

Is there anything you would like to say to the VRQA's stakeholders? What would you most like the VRQA and its stakeholders to know about you and your approach?

I bring a deep knowledge of government to the VRQA Board, including policy making and regulation.

I've always been really passionate about the need for government to be transparent and fair. Working in government as a regulator, or any capacity, is an incredibly important position. You get to know things about people and organisations, you've got power to do things and you have to use that power fairly, transparently and carefully to achieve good outcomes.

I'm equally passionate about public servants acting fairly and transparently and I will bring that passion to the VRQA. From what I can see, that's what the VRQA does. It has prided itself on that, and it is an objective that I'm really committed to.

These are the values and behaviours that underpin a society that people like living in, feel comfortable with, feel safe in, and feel they are going to be fairly treated in. It's something we need to hold onto at all costs.

Is there a professional accomplishment that you are most proud of?

A couple of things. Child protection notifications were going through the roof when I took over as Deputy Secretary for Children, Youth and Families in the Department of Human Services. We decided to have a root and branch look at why this was occurring and what the solutions might be.

We developed a really good understanding of where all the notifications were coming from and looked at some quite different, non-prescriptive, ways of dealing with that. We funded groups of providers to come together to deal with local issues – schools, maternal and child health nurses and welfare organisations. From there, the child protection legislation was ultimately rewritten and a whole lot of new money came in to support those local initiatives. I was really proud of the public policy breakthrough and attracting a lot of money into the area.

The other one was introducing consumer-focussed funding into disability services. The program was called Making a Difference and it was for young children with a disability living with their families. We gave families a certain amount of money to spend on whatever made a difference in keeping the child at home.

Now I look at the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Making a Difference was the start of tying money to individuals. I'm sure consumer-focussed funding was looked at elsewhere as well but I look at the impact of Making a Difference as a public policy piece and I feel incredibly proud of that.        

There is a strong focus on education and training in the Victorian government at the moment with the Education State and other initiatives. What do you see as some of the opportunities for the VRQA in the coming years?

The VRQA is charged with making sure that schools and other organisations meet minimum standards to ensure that children and young people get a good education. We can continue in that role. However, with all the experience that the VRQA has, and drawing on information from the broader sector, we can also make a real contribution to a discussion about what makes education better.

To have the basic requirements for education in place is a prerequisite, we can't fall below that. Even from my brief experience of the VRQA, its wealth of knowledge gives additional insight into what are the other things that generate quality education. They might not be factors that the VRQA regulates or has got control of, but the knowledge comes from being involved with various schools that are doing a fantastic job and those that are struggling and trying to work out the elements that make that difference.

I'm looking forward to working with the VRQA and its stakeholders to continue this work.

 

 

13 May 2016: Child safe standards implementation: update

Working together toward compliance
The VRQA has been busily working with stakeholders in the schools sector to understand how we can help them prepare for the 1 August 2016 implementation of the child safe standards.

In April, the VRQA held a workshop which was attended by over 50 representatives from Victoria’s schools sector to discuss what resources schools need to help them meet the child safe standards.

‘It a was morning of great collaboration’, said the VRQA’s Director, Lynn Glover, ‘attendees worked though each standard, identifying resources and ways we can work together to not only meet the child safe standards, but implement a cultural change in our schools where child safety becomes everyday practice.’

The VRQA’s recommendations from the workshop will soon be made available to all schools.

Child safe standards information sessions for principals and key staff
To help principals, schools governors and key school staff understand and implement the child safe standards, the VRQA is conducting a series of information sessions in Melbourne and selected regional centres throughout May and June 2016.

The information sessions will provide an overview of the child safe standards and the requirements of Ministerial Order No. 870. They will also explore the experiences of organisations that have strengthened their culture of child safety.

Booking is essential. Due to demand, the VRQA has scheduled an additional session in Melbourne on 8 June 2016.

The information sessions will be held in the following locations:

  • Bendigo – 17 May 2016, 2pm
  • Melbourne CBD– 20 May 2016, 1pm – BOOKED OUT (waiting list available)
  • Moe – 23 May 2016, 1pm
  • Geelong – 27 May 2016, 1pm
  • Benalla – 30 May 2016, 1pm
  • Ringwood – 1 June 2016, 1pm – BOOKED OUT (waiting list available)
  • Ballarat – 3 June 2016, 1pm
  • Frankston – 6 June 2016, 1pm – BOOKED OUT (waiting list available)
  • East Melbourne – 8 June 2016, 1pm

See the events page on the child safe website to secure your place.

The VRQA is calling for expressions of interest to attend an information session in Mildura. If you are interested in attending an information session in the Mildura region, please email the VRQA with your school’s details and include the number of staff who would be likely to attend.

To ensure that all schools can access the information provided at these sessions, some presentations will be filmed and the content made available on the VRQA’s child safe standards website.

Schools weigh in with what they need
Victorian schools have told the VRQA where they require assistance to meet the child safe standards by responding to the VRQA Child Safe Standards Readiness Tool.

Invitations to complete the readiness tool were sent by the VRQA to 2,244 schools from all sectors. Forty-eight per cent of schools completed the readiness tool online.

Of the schools that responded, most schools believe they are partially but not fully ready to meet the child safe standards. Schools have indicated that they are least ready to meet Standard 4 (screening, supervision, training and other human resources practices that reduce the risk of child abuse) and Standard 2 (a child safety policy or a statement of commitment to child safety).

Two thirds of schools intend to update or review their current child safe policies to comply with the child safe standards, and more than half would like assistance to develop child safe standards policies and practices.

Most schools identified Standard 4 (screening, supervision, training and other human resources practices that reduce the risk of child abuse) and Standard 6 (strategies to identify and reduce or remove risks of child abuse) as the standards for which they would like further guidance. Over 80 per cent of respondents indicated that they would like to attend an information session about the child safe standards in their region.

As a result, the VRQA will be conducting information sessions throughout May and June 2016. Booking is essential. See the VRQA’s child safe standards website for a full list of event times and to reserve a place.

In addition, the VRQA is working with key stakeholders to develop resources schools have said will help them to meet the standards. These include: a risk tool (Standard 6); a checklist for staff selection (Standard 4); a checklist for a code of conduct and advice regarding acceptable behaviours (Standard 3); sample communication plans and possible messages for schools to communicate with school communities (all standards); and advice regarding procedures for responding to and reporting allegations of child abuse (Standard 5).

The VRQA will identify and develop additional information resources for the other standards schools have identified as either needing the most help with or being least prepared to meet.

The VRQA will continue to work with stakeholders and schools to develop and create a culture of child safety in all Victorian schools.

NSSSPs invited to self-assess against the child safe standards
This month, the VRQA invited around 50 registered non-school senior secondary providers (NSSSPs) to complete the VRQA Child Safe Standards Self-Assessment Tool. The self-assessment tool enables NSSSPs to assess their policies and practices against the standards.

NSSSPs with students under 18 years are encouraged to complete and submit the self-assessment tool as it will identify any gaps between the standards and NSSSPs’ current arrangements. It will help the VRQA to identify and target resources and guidance materials needed in the sector.

Completing and submitting the self-assessment tool is voluntary and the responses to the tool are collected in a way that individual NSSSPs cannot be identified.

NSSSPs have had to meet the child safe standards from 1 January this year. The self-assessment tool closes on 18 May 2016.

Child safe standards website
The VRQA’s child safe standards website has been revamped with further resources and information to help education and training providers prepare to meet the new standards. The website is continuously being updated with news and resources. Make sure you are checking it regularly as we work toward 1 August 2016.

 

 

13 May 2016: VRQA Board approves new guidelines for schools and non-school senior secondary education providers

The VRQA has updated the Guidelines to the minimum standards and other requirements for registration of schools including those offering senior secondary courses and the Guidelines for non-school senior secondary education providers: minimum standards for registration to provide an accredited senior secondary course.

The changes ensure the guidelines align with all relevant legislation including recent changes to the Education and Training Reform Act 2006, the Crimes Act 1958 and the introduction of the child safe standards.

The updated guidelines which were approved by the VRQA board at its 5 April 2016 meeting, are available to download below.

13 May 2016: VET- Transition period extended for training packages endorsed September 2015 – March 2016

The transition period for training packages endorsed from September 2015 to the end of March 2016, has been extended from 12 to 18 months.

This comes following an agreement made between the Australian Government Minister for Vocational Education and Skills and state and territory skills ministers who have temporarily extended the transition period due to the significant number of training packages endorsed by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC).

The extension applies only to updated training package qualifications endorsed between September 2015 and March 2016, and will assist registered training organisations (RTOs) to prepare for and implement the large number of updated qualifications during this period.

Please note the following applies to all VRQA registered RTOs:

  • the VRQA will not remove a qualification or amend an RTO’s scope of registration without written permission from the RTO. This is done by completing VRQA Form B and is in accordance with Condition 9 of the AQTF Essential Conditions and Standards for Continuing Registration. RTOs are responsible for managing their scope of registration.
  • RTOs eligible for equivalent training package products to be included in their scope may have their scope of registration updated, in the VRQA’s discretion, by lodging a standing application (Form E ).
  • RTOs may continue to enrol and deliver training in a superseded training package product prior to the transition date. After the transition date, RTOs must complete training enrolled students in as timely a manner as possible, or transfer them to the new training package product as appropriate. The VRQA encourages RTOs to move to the newest version as soon as practicable to ensure no student is disadvantaged.
  • no new students can be enrolled in the superseded training package product after the end of the transition period.

Further information relating to the announcement, including a list of eligible qualifications, can be found on the Australian DET website.

Please direct any queries to the VRQA at qar@edumail.vic.gov.au.

 

13 May 2016: VET: TAE Training and Education Training Package approved 

The Australian Industry and Skills Council (AISC) approved the revised TAE Training Package.

Please refer to the AISC Communique 1 April 2016 for full details.

Changes to the Certificate IV qualification in the TAE Training Package Version 2 include:

  • TAEASS502 Design and develop assessment tools – added as a core unit, imported from the Diploma of Vocational Education and Training
  • TAELLN411 Address adult language, literacy and numeracy skills – added as a core unit
  • TAEASS401 Plan assessment activities and processes - added a new element and performance criteria and increased the volume and frequency of assessment requirements
  • TAEASS402 Assess competence – increased the volume and frequency of assessment requirements
  • TAEASS403 Participate in assessment validation- added new performance criteria and increased the volume and frequency of assessment requirements
  • a statement in each of the qualification descriptors outlining the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Volume of Learning specifications related to the qualification level.

The new qualification TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment is deemed not equivalent to the superseded qualification TAE40110 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

RTOs have 18 months to transition to qualifications in the updated TAE Training Package.

The VRQA will update on the implications for existing trainers and assessors as soon as information is made available by the Australian Department of Education and Training. State VET regulators are working together to ensure a consistent approach on this matter.

Due to the important nature of Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, any VRQA provider wishing to add the qualification to scope will require a site audit. This is to ensure all requirements such as qualified trainers with current vocational competency and training and assessment strategies are in place.

The VRQA is conducting workshops to assist providers to understand the changes and to transition to updated qualifications. Please note the workshops are invite only, however, RTOs intending to add a TAE qualification to scope should also attend.

RTOs wishing to add a TAE qualification to scope, please email the VRQA at qar@edumail.vic.gov.au to book into a workshop.

The VRQA requires attendance at a workshop before an RTO can apply to add the updated TAE to scope.

The next workshop is scheduled for Monday, 1 August 2016 from 1.00 - 4.00 pm.

Please direct any queries to the VRQA at qar@edumail.vic.gov.au.

 

 

13 May 2016: VRQA Guidelines for VET Providers – Annual Declaration of Compliance and Third Party Agreements

Annual Declaration of Compliance

This year’s annual declaration of compliance (docx - 102.47kb)   was due on 1 April 2016. Please make sure the annual declaration is signed by the RTO’s Principal Executive Officer and submitted to the VRQA at qar@edumail.vic.gov.au as soon as possible.

If you note any non-compliance or you believe you cannot sign the declaration of compliance, please advise the VRQA in writing at the email address above.

Not submitting the declaration or not contacting the VRQA will be deemed as non-compliance with the ongoing registration requirements of the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF). The VRQA will follow up individually with non-compliant RTOs.

Under Guideline 5, Condition 5.1 of the VRQA Guidelines:

An RTO registered with the VRQA must provide an annual declaration of compliance with the AQTF Essential conditions and Standards for Continuing Registration (the AQTF Standards) and these Guidelines, and in particular whether it:

  • currently meets the requirements of the AQTF Standards and these Guidelines across all of its existing scope of registration; and
  • has met the requirements of the AQTF Standards for all AQF certification documentation which it has issued in the previous 12 months; and
  • has training and assessment strategies and practices in place that ensure that all current and prospective students are or will be trained and assessed in accordance with the requirements of the AQTF Standards and these Guidelines.'

The VRQA has noted feedback received from RTOs on the format of the current Annual Declaration of Compliance, which will be revised for 2017 to allow for RTOs to provide additional comments and serve as a self-compliance checklist.

Please direct any queries regarding the declaration to the VRQA at qar@edumail.vic.gov.au.

Third party agreements
RTOs are reminded of the requirements relating to transparency and oversight of third parties in the  2016 VRQA Guidelines for VET Providers (docx - 204.24kb) which came in to effect for all VRQA RTOs on 1 April 2016.

Under Guideline 2, an RTO must notify the VRQA of the third party agreement:

  • within 30 calendar days of the agreement being entered into, or prior to the obligations under the agreement taking effect, whichever occurs first and
  • within 30 calendar days of the agreement coming to an end.

This includes third party agreements currently in place, which must be notified to the VRQA.

To notify the VRQA of third party agreements, please complete and submit VRQA Form F (docx - 353.41kb) to qar@edumail.vic.gov.au.

Guideline 2 defines a ‘third party’ as any party that provides services on behalf of the RTO, which are related to the RTO’s compliance with AQTF and the VRQA guidelines. This may include training and assessment delivered by another RTO or organisation, recruitment of students, outsourced student recordkeeping, and marketing.  Please refer to the frequently asked questions for further details on third party requirements.

Please direct any queries to the VRQA at qar@edumail.vic.gov.au.

 

29 April 2016: Update -  TBM Training P/L (In Liquidation)

On 29 April 2016 at the Creditor’s Meeting a new liquidator was appointed for TBM Training. Mr Paul Vartelas of B K Taylor & Co is now the liquidator. Mr Vartelas can be contacted on 9529 4422.

The VRQA will work with Mr Vartelas to ensure that the liquidator provides students with their relevant  statements of attainment and certificates.

On 10 May 2016 Mr Vartelas advised the VRQA he had issued approximately 135 statements of attainment.   back to top

19 April 2016: TBM Training P/L (In Liquidation)

Attention students

On the 14 April 2016 Mr Barry Drayton appointed Michael McCann, Bedfords Corporate Recovery & Advisory as liquidator. Mr McCann now has the control of the company and is responsible for the operation of the registered training organisation which traded as True Blue Mates.

Mr McCann has advised that he is currently assessing the financial position of the company and that there are insufficient funds to keep the registered training organisation operating. As a result he has closed the organisation.

The VRQA is securing all student records and will work with Mr McCann

  • to ensure that statements of attainment and qualifications are issued where necessary and 
  • to minimise the disruption of training for students.​

Mr McCann has established a dedicated student hotline (9804 0165) and an email address (tbmstudents@bedfords.com.au) that students should use if they have any questions.

Students who have successfully completed parts of their course undertaken at TBM Training should be able to receive Credit Transfers in recognition of the competencies achieved.

Once a Statement of Attainment has been obtained from the liquidator, students should take this to an alternative training provider of their choice to continue their training.

Students who are accessing their entitlement to government subsidies under the Victorian Training Guarantee (VTG) at TBM Training, will be able to continue to access this entitlement at their new training provider.

Students may visit the Victorian Skills Gateway for information about alternative training providers that deliver the relevant qualification and offer VTG funding. Students can also call​ the TAFE and Training line of the Department of Education and Training on 131 823.

8 April 2016: New TAE Training and Education Training Package approved

The Australian Industry and Skills Council (AISC) has endorsed the revised TAE Training Package. Please refer to the AISC Communique 1 April 2016 for details.

 The Certificate IV in Training and Assessment is the benchmark VET qualification. It is considered high risk. Any VRQA provider wishing to add the qualification to scope will require a site audit to ensure all requirements are in place, including qualified trainers with current vocational competency and training and assessment strategies.

Changes to the Certificate IV qualification in the TAE Training Package Version 2 include: 
  • TAEASS502 Design and develop assessment tools – added as a core unit, imported from the Diploma of Vocational Education and Training
  • TAEASS401 Plan assessment activities and processes - added a new element and performance criteria and increased he volume and frequency of assessment requirements
  • TAEASS402 Assess competence – increased the volume and frequency of assessment requirements
  • TAEASS403 Participate in assessment validation- added new performance criteria and increased the volume and frequency of assessment requirements
  •  a statement in each of the qualification descriptors outlining the AQF Volume of Learning specifications related to the qualification level.
The new qualification TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment is deemed not equivalent to the superseded qualification TAE40110 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

 
RTOs with TAE qualifications currently on their scope of registration will have 18 months to transition to qualifications in the updated TAE Training Package. They have been informed of upcoming workshops that are scheduled for 2 May 2016 and 1 August 2016.
 
The workshops will assist VRQA providers to understand the changes and to transition to updated qualifications. Attendance at a workshop is mandatory for RTOs wishing to add the updated TAE to their scope of registration. Please contact the VRQA to register for a workshop.
   
 For more information, please contact the VRQA at qar@edumail.vic.gov.au.

 8 April 2016: Welcome new board members

The VRQA is delighted to welcome new members to the Board.

Ms Pam White PSM, our new chair, comes to the VRQA with a strong executive background having held the positions of chief executive officer of the Victorian Bushfire and Reconstruction and Recovery Authority and acting chief executive officer of the Victorian State Services Authority. She has held a number of executive and senior management positions in the Victorian Public Service including executive director, Service and Delivery at the Department of Human Services. Ms White is a member of the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund and was a member of the Victorian Flood Appeal.

Board member, Dr Sara Glover, is a highly regarded policy and research leader and has been head of the Mitchell Education Program for the past year. She has held an executive position at the former Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, and was the director of Education and Training and principal researcher at the Centre for Adolescent Health at the Royal Children’s Hospital/University of Melbourne.

Mr Jim Williamson comes to the VRQA Board with a range of senior consultancy and management roles with a strong focus on public policy research and program development. He has worked with leading agencies and organisations including Victoria University, the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Victorian Office of Housing and the Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Mr Williamson is a former teacher and has held a number of education and public sector roles.

Ms White, Dr Glover and Mr Williamson replace retiring members Mr Tim Smith, Chair, Mr Graham Spencer and Mr David Windridge.

For more information, see: VRQA Board.

8 April 2016: Child safe standards: resources to ready schools

The Victorian Government has now introduced child safe standards for organisations that work with children. Ministerial Order 870 sets out the specific actions that registered schools need to take to meet the child safe standards.

Registered schools have until 1 August 2016 to meet the requirements of the standards.

The standards already apply to other organisations including overseas secondary student exchange organisations that are not registered schools and non-school senior secondary providers. See the child safe standards website for further information.

A new website: where to go for child safe info
In January, the VRQA launched a useful resource to assist organisations to meet the child safe standards: the child safe standards website.

The mobile friendly website contains information about the standards for school professionals, students, parents and other organisations that work with children. It will be updated with further resources in the coming months and will be a valuable point of reference for schools and education and training providers.

The VRQA Child Safe Readiness Tool: helping schools prepare
To help schools prepare to meet the standards by 1 August 2016, in February the VRQA Child Safe Standards Readiness Tool was distributed to all Victorian schools.

The VRQA received a significant response rate with almost 48 per cent of Victorian schools responding to the readiness tool.

Feedback from the readiness tool is positive, with comments indicating that it is ‘very helpful’, ‘a very practical, useful tool’ with ‘wording that can be used in policy and will incorporate into staff professional development’ and ‘will assist schools to clearly identify areas they are compliant [with] and [where] they require action’. 

The data collected is now being analysed with initial results indicating that schools would value guidance material that includes sample content for strategic and policy documents, an exemplar code of conduct, checklists and templates, and resources that can be accessed by the school community. The VRQA is also looking at options to conduct child safe standards briefing sessions for schools.

The readiness tool closed on 29 February 2016. However, a PDF version of the VRQA Child Safe Standards Readiness Tool (pdf - 522.74kb) can be accessed on the child safe standards website.

The website and readiness tool are just some of the ways the VRQA is working with schools and education providers to strengthen existing approaches to preventing and responding to child abuse.

Children have the right to be safe and protected. Child abuse and the arrangements that allow it to occur will not be tolerated.

 

8 April 2016: 2015 Client and Stakeholder Research

Findings from the 2015 client and stakeholder research show an increase in the overall satisfaction with the VRQA among education and training providers, and apprentices and trainees, although there has been a decline in satisfaction among employers since 2014.

 Other findings indicate that:
  • stakeholders generally consider the VRQA to be effective in its regulatory function and see the VRQA as positive, open, approachable and increasingly pro-active and collaborative
  • there are continued positive experiences dealing with VRQA staff and the usefulness of information provided
  • regulatory campaigns and educative resources such as the Employer Checklist, the Know your Rights and Responsibilities video and stakeholder forums were well regarded among apprenticeship and traineeship stakeholders.

Opportunities to improve the VRQA’s services to registered education and training providers include providing more information and guidance about regulatory requirements and compliance, and continuing to explore opportunities to provide self-service options and online forms. Improving co​mmunications to stakeholders was also identified as area for improvement. These opportunities will be further considered via the VRQA Board sub-committee process.

The research was conducted by EY Sweeney on behalf of the VRQA in late 2015. A summary and full report of the VRQA 2015 Client and Stakeholder Research are available below.

We wish to thank all providers, apprentices, trainees, employers and stakeholders who participated in the 2015 research. Client and stakeholder research is conducted every year and participation helps shape the direction and activity of the VRQA’s services and engagement with stakeholders.

Insights from the 2014 VRQA Client and Stakeholder research informed the following changes in 2015:

  • targeted issues-based stakeholder forms, including the Board and Stakeholder breakfast format
  • provision of information in the apprenticeship and traineeship sector including the Employer Checklist and the educative video Know Your Rights and Responsibilities
  • a focus on self-service options and the digital services offered.

Please direct any queries regarding the research to vrqa@edumail.vic.gov.au.

Further information:

 

20 January 2016: Regulatory changes for VET

The VRQA Guidelines for VET Providers have changed to align Victoria’s RTO requirements with the national standards.
 
The 2016 VRQA Guidelines for VET Providers (docx - 206.95kb) incorporate the key principles of the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015, while maintaining the strengths of the 2009 Guidelines. The 2016 VRQA Guidelines will continue to ensure quality of training and assessment services, while providing for a nationally consistent approach to VET regulation.
 
Existing RTOs need to review business operations against the 2016 VRQA Guidelines for VET Providers and ensure they can demonstrate compliance by 1 April 2016.
 
New applications for RTO registration will need to demonstrate compliance from 1 January 2016.
 
Guidelines 2-5 have been replaced by the following:
  • Guideline 2: Transparency and oversight of third parties
  • Guideline 3: Trainer and assessor qualifications
  • Guideline 4: Delivery of training and assessment services
  • Guideline 5: Annual declaration of compliance
Important changes have been made to the standards relating to the delivery of an Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) qualification or an assessor skill set from the Training and Education (TAE) Package. See Guidelines 4.3 – 4.7 for a comprehensive outline of these changes.
 
The VRQA will hold an information session covering all changes to the 2016 VRQA Guidelines on Friday, 12 February 2016. Booking is essential. Book online to secure your place.
 
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) have also been developed to assist with the 2016 VRQA Guidelines.
 

Any queries may be sent to qar@edumail.vic.gov.au

20 January 2016: Changes to Overseas Secondary Student Exchange Organisations (SEO) Guidelines

The VRQA Guidelines, Conditions and Application Form for the Approval of Overseas Secondary Student Exchange Organisations (doc - 2.84mb) have been updated to reflect the July 2015 amendments to the National Consultative Committee for International Secondary Student Exchange (NCCISSE) National Guidelines.

The guidelines now:

  • extend the Working with Children Check requirement to all SEO staff who have access to exchange student records – previously, this only applied to SEO staff with contact with students
  • add additional screening requirements for single person households seeking to host exchange students as a ‘host family’
  • strengthen the current provisions prohibiting SEOs from using student images and personal information in the public recruitment of host families
     
  • require SEOs to meet the child safe standards.

 The revised guidelines come into effect for all VRQA-approved SEOs from 1 January 2016 and will continue to ensure the safety and protection of overseas secondary students in Victoria.

Further information

 

20 January 2016: VRQA powers broadened to protect school students as consumers

The VRQA has newly expanded powers to conduct school financial capability assessments of independent schools.

The VRQA monitors and assesses the financial capability of independent schools and may take action to protect the interests of students as consumers if financial viability issues arise.

The VRQA Guideline – School Financial Capability Assessment (docx - 178.8kb) sets out the VRQA’s powers and the approach it takes in conducting financial capability assessments.

The Guideline on School Financial Capability Assessment  reflects the new provisions incorporated in the Education and Training Reform Act 2016.The VRQA now has broadened powers to:

  • conduct periodic financial capability assessments of a VRQA registered school and take action to protect the interests of students
  • suspend or cancel the registration of schools which close or cease to operate, or where a proprietor becomes bankrupt or insolvent
  • conduct a targeted review of the financial capability of a VRQA registered school where the VRQA has concerns about its financial viability.

The Guideline came into effect on 2 December 2015.

Further information

 

 

20 January 2016: 2016 Fees

The VRQA’s fees and charges changed on 1 January 2016 to reflect the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Victorian Government’s policy on cost recovery.

Another Fee-Freeze Year Ahead for VET

This increase does not apply to VET fees which have been frozen for another year. In August 2014 a Ministerial Order was made to hold the 2015 VET fees for VRQA RTOs at 2014 levels. This has now been extended to include 2016.

Further information

For past news articles from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 see: VRQA news archive.

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