Education Minister James Merlino has an important message for all Year 12 students about to tackle final exams and assessments – get vaccinated and don’t give up.

Mr Merlino delivered his message of hope in a special video to senior VCE and VCAL students yesterday as they geared up for their final weeks of school.

The message includes a road map for fast-tracking student vaccinations in time for onsite exams and details about applying for special consideration because of the impact the pandemic has had on student learning.

“I can’t say enough how proud I am of every student for the resilience and optimism with which you’ve faced the challenges throughout this pandemic. And I’m so grateful for the work of every teacher, staff member, parent and carer for supporting our kids through two challenging school years,” Mr Merlino said, in the video.

“So my message to students in their final year is – don’t give up. The opportunity to vaccinate, certainty about the GAT and exam timelines, the process to ensure final results are truly fair and reflect your efforts – all these things should give you confidence to keep working hard in your final weeks before those last assessments and exams.”

Merlino’s message of hope

Mr Merlino urged Year 12 students to get vaccinated “as quickly as possible to make sure you can finish this difficult and disrupted year, and your schooling, with the confidence and success you deserve”.

Watch Education Minister James Merlino deliver his message to Year 12 students and their families.

A 10-day priority vaccination blitz will begin for Year 12 students, their teachers and exam supervisors from Monday next week (6 September). Glenroy College will provide more information to families about this soon.

“There will be a dedicated phone number to book these vaccinations which will open on Monday next week and shots will go into arms from Tuesday,” Mr Merlino said.

“This is really the most important thing we can do right now. It means we can deliver final exams with confidence that the risk of coronavirus transmission is dramatically lowered.”

GAT rescheduled

Mr Merlino said the GAT has been rescheduled again to allow for the vaccination blitz to begin,. It will now take place on Tuesday, 5 October, to “maximise the opportunity for students to be vaccinated”.

Final exams for Year 12 students will be held from 4 October to 17 November “with just a few small tweaks to accomodate the GAT”.

“And of course, this timeline means that results will still be released on December 16 so students can plan their future education and work journeys and enjoy a relaxing summer after this profoundly difficult year ,” Mr Merlino said.

A year of unique challenges

He said ongoing school closures, illness and emotional stress from Covid had created a year of “unique challenges” for students. All students will have the chance to provide their teachers with information about how the pandemic had affected them by submitting a Student’s Statement.

“I want to remind you all that every VCE Unit 3/4 student will be assessed through the Consideration of Educational Disadvantage process – which will take into account all the hardships you’ve faced this year, and will make sure the only thing that counts towards your final mark is the hard work that you’ve put in this year,” Mr Merlino said.

The only thing that counts towards your final mark is the hard work that you’ve put in this year

Education Minister James Merlino

“Your school will use this, along with what they already know about your circumstances, and provide information about your expected performance if this global pandemic had not affected us all. These measures mean that you, and every VCE student, can go into your exams with confidence knowing you won’t be disadvantaged, and that your final scores will take into account both your exam performance and your individual circumstances,” he said.


Mr Merlino said VCAL and VET students will have access to Special Consideration processes for final results “so you can rest assured we will all work together to support you over these final months of your schooling”.

More information about vaccinations, the GAT, exams and how to apply for special consideration will be provided to Year 12 students and families soon.