Senior Pathways


Having made the decision to continue secondary education in the post-compulsory years, students are invited to explore their own sense of what learning is about. They are challenged to maintain a high level of self-discipline and committed attitude as they engage in their studies. A thoughtful respect for independent learning, an understanding of the importance of exercising the mind, and respect for the rights of other learners are key elements for a successful approach. Structures and staff within the College support students as they progress through the final years of study, challenging them to be and give of their best.

The compulsory courses in Religious Education reinforce the importance of the Catholic faith, the Good Samaritan and Benedictine traditions at the heart of Santa Maria College.

A wide range of options are provided for students in Years 11 and 12, including VCE, VET, AsbA and VCAL programs. It is crucial that all students select units and programs based on their interests and talents, thus creating an individual pathway to their future career. The formal Transition program that occurs in Term 3 is designed to support students and families in this process of discernment.

Vocational Education and Training (VET)


Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses provide an opportunity for students to gain a nationally recognised vocational qualification as part of either the VCE or VCAL. Scored VET subjects (courses that have a final exam) receive a study score for Units 3 and 4 that contributes to the ATAR. Block credit recognition is available for subjects which are not scored. VET subjects have a Unit 1-4 sequence. It is highly recommended to start a VET course at Unit 1.

Registered Training Organisations are responsible for the delivery, assessment and certification of VET qualifications. For example, Melbourne Polytechnic is the RTO for the delivery of the Business program at Santa Maria College. An RTO may be at a host school, TAFE or private organisation.

Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL)


The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) is a senior school qualification designed to provide additional pathways for Year 11 and 12 students interested in vocationally orientated career options such as traineeships, apprenticeships, diplomas and advanced diplomas, and employment. It sits alongside the VCE but provides a wider range of education and training pathways. It offers a different style of learning where students participate in practical activities, work and community partnerships. On the completion of Year 12, VCAL students can take one of two pathways. They can commence an apprenticeship or traineeship or they can continue with their studies at TAFE. Successful completion of many TAFE courses allows students to commence further studies either at university or TAFE.