Years 10 to 12

Northern Bay College provides exceptional opportunities for students to pursue pathways which will enhance their academic, career, personal and emotional outcomes.

Pathways to further study and / or employment

Pathways to VCE, VET and VCAL

Study is governed by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) which is responsible for the curriculum, assessment and reporting of both the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) and the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL).


Pages specific to study are available in these links and contained in our course handbooks.

The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL)

The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning is a qualification that skills students in preparation for further training and or apprenticeships in trade. The principles of Applied Learning heavily focus on a student centred approach to embed and further develop employability and life skills. At Northern Bay we adopt the approach of developing and fine tuning deep learning using the competencies and student voice to devise theme project based learning. Northern Bay College has three Certificates from year 10 to 12 based upon individual levels.

We integrate curriculum, based on student choice and needs which reflect the relevant frameworks. Students migrate through the levels building a repertoire of skill sets reflecting their best pieces of evidence in their Portfolio which is formally showcased, in intervals through the duration of the year. We pride our program on teamwork and communication amongst staff and students to collaborate a dynamic program.


The VCAL learning program must include Vocational Education and Training (VET) units of competency. However, you are not required to focus on or complete any single VET qualification. For example, you can choose to undertake various units of competency from a range of VET qualifications to meet the VCAL requirements, and gain experience in a range of vocational areas. The range of VET options is extensive with recognised training packages available from industries including automotive, engineering, building and construction, hospitality, business, music industry skills, retail cosmetic services, nail technology, hair and beauty, sport and recreation. Alternatively a school based apprenticeship/Traineeship (SBAT) is required to obtain a VCAL certificate.

VCAL units at each level reflect the progression in the development of knowledge, skills and attributes, Year level does not necessarily depict what level certificate students are entered into. For example:

  • At Foundation level, students learn under close supervision with high levels of direction. Knowledge and employability skills development is supported by a strong emphasis on literacy and numeracy skills and preparatory learning.
  • At Intermediate level, learning is reasonably autonomous in regard to planning and work activities but conducted under supervision. Knowledge and employability skills development leads to independent learning, confidence and a high level of transferable skills.
  • At Senior level, learning is autonomous in regard to planning and work activities but conducted under supervision. Knowledge and employability skills development leads to a high level of interpersonal skills, independent action and achievement of tasks that require decision making and leadership. It is important that a clear distinction is able to be made between the three VCAL levels.

The VCAL program is underpinned by the following curriculum principles:

  • Start where students are at.
  • Negotiate the curriculum. Engage in a dialogue with students about their curriculum.
  • Share knowledge. Recognise the knowledge students bring to the learning environment.
  • Connect with communities and real-life experiences.
  • Build resilience, confidence and self-worth – consider the whole person.
  • Integrate learning – the whole task and the whole person. In life we use a range of skills and knowledge. Learning should reflect the integration that occurs in real-life tasks.
  • Promote diversity of learning styles and methods. Everyone learns differently. Accept that different learning styles require different learning or teaching methods, but value experiential, practical and ‘hands on’ ways of learning.
  • Assess appropriately.
  • Use the assessment method that best ‘fits’ the learning content and context planning VCAL learning programs for students.
  • Negotiating learning programs. It is important that students are actively involved in negotiating and planning their individual learning program, in particular the VCAL units.

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