Senior Years

Senior Years

There are three types of programs available to students at Springside West Secondary College.

  • Victorian Certificate of Education [VCE]
  • Vocational Major [VCE VM]
  • Victorian Pathways Certificate [VPC]

Within each of these programs students have the opportunity to participate in a Vocational Education and Training [VET] course of their choice.


Participation in a VCE program provides students with the opportunity of completing a senior school certificate by selecting from a range of studies including VET. Students are able to focus on studies that will provide a pathway to University, TAFE or employment.

The Victorian Certificate of Education is a program that is designed to be taken over a minimum of two years. Each subject offered at VCE is broken up into 4 units. Each unit lasts one semester. Most studies offer four units, but students do not necessarily have to take all four units for a particular subject. 

A full list of the VCE courses on offer each year is available in the Senior Years Subject Handbook. Detailed breakdowns of each of the VCE study designs can be found here. 


A VCE program will normally be made up of 22 units completed over two years. Students usually complete 12 Units [6 subjects] of Units 1 & 2 in Year 11 before proceeding to 10 Units [5 subjects] of Units 3 & 4 in Year 12. It is possible for Year 11 students who have demonstrated ability to select a Unit 3 & 4 study in their first year. This is subject to approval from the school and is also dependent upon availability within classes. 

Understanding the two levels of units within the VCE:

  • Units 1 and 2 – These are usually taken in the first year of the VCE program in Year 11. Most students take both units in a study, but it is possible in Year 11 [subject to timetabling constraints] to take only one unit of a particular study.  
  • Units 3 and 4 – These are more advanced and are mostly taken in Year 12. Units 3 and 4 must be studied as a sequence – that is, if you take Unit 3 of any study, you must also take Unit 4. 


In order to qualify for an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank [ATAR] you must obtain a pass in a Unit 3 and 4 English study. The English study may be selected from any of the following studies:

  • English [Units 3 & 4]
  • English Language [Units 3 & 4]
  • Literature [Units 3 & 4]
  • English as an Additional Language [Units 3 & 4]

Please note: Eligibility criteria applies for EAL. The range of English studies on offer [other than ‘English’ Units 3 & 4] in a particular year is subject to timetable constraints.  

If a student does more than the four units of English studies, the extra units will be counted simply as additional VCE units, as is the case with any other VCE subject. 

In calculating the ATAR, any English Units 3 & 4 will be counted as part of the primary four studies. [For more information on how the ATAR is calculated, follow this link.]


VCE VM is a two year vocational and applied learning program within the VCE. It replaces Senior and Intermediate VCAL. Students can transition into apprenticeships, traineeships and further education.

The purpose of the VCE VM is to provide students with the best opportunity to achieve their personal goals. Equipping them with the skills, knowledge, values and capabilities to be active and informed citizens, lifelong learners and confident and creative individuals; and empowering them to make informed decisions about the next stages of their lives through real life workplace experiences.


Students must successfully complete a learning program that contains a minimum of 20 credits. These credits will be a combination of COMPULSORY STRANDS from the VCE VM curriculum and a variety of General Units.

Students must successfully complete a learning program that contains a minimum of 20 credits, students will be required to complete a minimum of four Units 3-4 sequences.

To meet the completion requirements students will need an “S” for 20 units, which must include:

  • 3 Literacy or VCE English units
  • 2 Numeracy or VCE Mathematics units
  • 2 Personal Development Skills
  • 2 VET credits at Certificate II level or above
Participation in a VCE VM program provides students the opportunity of completing a senior secondary certificate. The program is designed for students with a clear career focus in a particular industry/trade. Students selecting this pathway will improve their literacy and numeracy skills, complete industry specific training and undertake regular work placement.
Students who complete a VCE VM program may go on to undertake a TAFE course, pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship or begin full time employment. It is possible for VCE students to transfer into a VCE VM program.


This is the foundation secondary course for Year 11 and Year 12 students, this will lead to an entry level VET

qualification or employment.

Discussions will be held with the school, student and their family on the suitability to enrol for the Victorian

Pathway Certificate (VPC).

To achieve a satisfactory completion students will need an “S” for 12 units, this must include:

  • 2 Literacy units
  • 2 Numeracy units
  • 2 Work Related Skills
  • 2 Personal Development skills

Each unit may consist of 2-3 modules.


VET courses are nationally recognised programs enabling students to obtain an accredited qualification in a number of areas. These courses can be used as part of a student’s VCE or VCE VM program contributing towards their ATAR or VCE VM Certificate.

The VET clusters available to students at Springside West Secondary College are:

  • Brimbank Cluster
  • Melton Cluster