Berendale School’s VCAL Foundation program is aimed at developing student’s confidence and independence through focusing on practical and employability skills. We aim to put students learning into an applied context, building their knowledge, understanding and skills through ‘real world’ experiences. Applied learning is an approach that emphasises the relevance of what is being learnt to the ‘real world’ outside the classroom, and makes that connection of assessment being relevant to work and life skills. Further to this, Berendale’s applied learning model involves students and their teachers in partnerships and connections with organisations and individuals outside school.

Students undertake Applied Learning which involves passing outcomes by completing assessments which can be both in class and in the community. There are four compulsory strands in VCAL:

  • Literacy and Numeracy Skills
  • Work Related Skills
  • Industry Specific Skills
  • Personal Development Skills.

The programme encourages student leadership, through planning and developing community based projects and excursions that develop their communication and employability skills – it is an expectation that students are involved in deciding the nature of projects and excursions. These include:

VCAL students are encouraged to participate in many different opportunities to develop their communication and employability skills. Opportunities such as:

  • Work Related Skills – industry visits, careers conferences, visits to post school service providers and participation Berendale’s ISS (Industry Specific programme)
  • Work projects in the school and wider community – including the use of ICT, Horticulture, Art and Hospitality/Kitchen Operation Skills
  • Personal Development Skills - developed through student involvement in community projects, excursions and camps (these can vary each year)
  • Planning and organisation celebratory meals, catering for community events, barbecues
  • Work Placements/Work Experience
  • Interview preparation including mock interviews
  • Fundraising/charity projects
  • Excursion planning – including planning routes that use public transport.

Within the projects there is a clear focus on developing functional literacy and numeracy skills so that students develop their communication skills and knowledge for the workplace and social contexts. The program is committed to ensuring that graduating VCAL students have the necessary literacy and numeracy skills to be successful in an entry level job and in their communities.

The VCAL Foundation program encourages diversity and respects fair access to the curriculum – it is intended to be flexible curriculum that is individualised to student needs and interests.