VCE students will return to school next week with certainty about how the end of their secondary school lives will unfold.
Close to 1000 Ballarat teens are in year 12, or studying year 12 subjects, and have been eagerly awaiting news of when their exams, results and university offers will be set.
Exams will begin in the week beginning November 9, about two weeks later than last year, with the final exam on December 2.
Victorian education minister James Merlino said the earlier-than-expected return to school allowed exams to be rolled forward, meaning ATAR scores could be calculated and released before the end of 2020.
When learning from home was first announced in March, it was anticipated that exams might not be held until December at earliest, and results would not be known until next year.
Year 11 and 12 students, and year 10 students doing VCE subjects, return to school on Tuesday following a statewide pupil free day to allow schools to reset back to face to face learning.
Prep, grade one and two students also return on Tuesday, with other year levels returning to school on June 9.
Mr Merlino said the November exams dates would give give sufficient time for teachers and students to complete adjusted VCE Unit 4 learning and school-based assessments and prepare for VCE exams.
The General Achievement Test will be held on September 9. "This provides much-needed certainty for our year 12 students who have done it tough this year and their families," Mr Merlino said.
"They can celebrate finalising their year 12 before the end of the year, enjoy the summer break and then plan for their futures."
Having ATAR scores finalised before the end of the year also allows Victorian students to receive university offers in January at the same time as students from other states.
"When you think about the disruption to the world and to all our students this year as a result of COVID-19 that's an outstanding outcome," Mr Merlino said.
As of Friday, more than 600 Ballarat teachers and school staff had undergone COVID-19 testing at the dedicated clinic at Wendouree Centre for Performing Arts.
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Victorian Tertiary Admission Centre director Catherine Wills said the release of the ATAR at the same time as VCE results would give students the maximum amount of time to reassess or change their university preferences depending on their scores.
"Victorian tertiary institutions have been committed to supporting year 12 students throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This announcement is a significant step closer to normalcy, as VTAC is now in a position to provide clear guidance about the process for applying to university, TAFE, or independent tertiary college next year."
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