VCE Outdoor Education

What is this subject about?

Outdoor and Environmental Studies is about understanding different types of environments and developing ‘relationships’ with them through having experiences in the outdoors. This subject is for students who lean towards learning through ‘doing’ rather than just sitting and thinking about ideas abstractly.

Ultimately, this subject is about individuals’ and society’s relationships with the environment in the past, present and future. Practical activities are designed to give students a deeper understanding of these relationships through experience. Practical activities may include things that you would expect such as: bushwalking, rock-climbing, canoeing, surfing, snorkelling etc. but may also include activities such as conservation work and farming.

What are we going to be studying?

If you are interested in reading more about the actual unit descriptions make sure you go and read the Study Design for this subject written by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA), you can find it here.

Where does this subject go?

Further studies in Outdoor and Environmental Studies may lead to:
* Certificate III and IV in Outdoor Recreation
* University – Batchelor of Education (Specialising in Outdoor Education)

Outdoor and Environmental Studies may lead to the following careers:
* Outdoor Education Teacher
* Outdoor Instructor
* Professional Guide e.g. World Expeditions Leader
* Marine Biologist
* Conservationist
* Professional (i.e. sponsored) Athlete e.g. Rock-Climber, Surfer, Mountaineer etc.
* Park Ranger

Or it can simply be the beginning of you developing the passion, skills and independence to plan, design and guide your own adventures in the outdoors in Australia and overseas.

Any questions?
Frequently Asked Questions…

When is the best time to do OES?
The best way to OES is as an accelerated subject in Year 10 and 11. If you do OES in Year 11 and 12, students (and teachers) in the past have often stressed about missing other VCE subjects when away on camps. Starting OES in Year 10 means that you don’t miss any VCE classes when away on camp during Units 1-2. And in Year 11 you will be doing Unit 3-4 OES which has fewer camps and being a your 3-4 subject it should be your most important subject for the year.

Note: You can still do OES in Year 11 and 12, but, missing VCE subjects due to camp requirements should be a factor in your decision making

How much time is spent on camps?
In Unit 1-2 the aim is to complete 20 days on camp during the year. Keep the following in mind:

* There are approximately 190 school days per year, so, 20 days is only 10% of those days
* If you do Unit 1-2 OES in Year 10, OES camps may make up for the fact that you don’t have a year level camp in Year 10
* OES camps are way cooler than anything you’ll do at school
* In Unit 3-4 the aim is to complete 10-12 days on camp during the year. These things might also be worth considering:
* OES Camps are still cooler than anything you’ll do at school
* In the past I have negotiated with classes to run camps over weekends and in holidays to minimise disruptions to other subjects

Another thing about camps.
Although you will miss classes while away on camp, this is balanced by the fact that there is substantially less homework for OES than other VCE subjects, allowing you to catch up or get ahead in your other subjects.

OES and Scaling.
First things first. You should never choose to do or not do a subject based on scaling. You should choose subjects based on interest, because it is interest (not scaling) which gets you the high mark.
But because you are going to look anyway, you might as well look properly:

* Read this to understand how scaling works in general
* Scaling reports are produced each year. The VTAC 2014 report for every VCE subject is available here.
* It is important to note that scaling is not the same for every score.

Here is the scaling for OES:

2014 Scaling – OES

Mean

St. Dev.

20

25

30

35

40

45

50

24.8

6.9

14

19

24

29

35

42

50

Scaling

-6

-6

-6

-6

-5

-3

0


Clonard Results:

Clonard has traditionally had very strong results in OES and it is something that I want to continue to improve in the coming years. A summary of 2014 results are as follows:

* 1 perfect score (50)
* Total of 6 students with scores 40+ placing them in the top 10% in Victoria for this subject

2014 Clonard Results (Raw/Unscaled Scores) – 27 students

20-25

26-30

31-35

36-40

41-45

46-50

3

4

12

2

5

1


What you should take away from these results:

* Clonard students are much better than average in this subject
* It is possible to score highly in OES and even maintain a score above 40 after the scaling is applied

What is the ideal OES student?
* Adventurous – Open to new ideas. Willing to do things they haven’t done before. Willing to do things that they have done before in a different way.
* Prepared to push themselves repeatedly out of their comfort zone

* Loves prac.
* Strong academically. Many people think that OES is a good subject for students who struggle academically because it is more practical. The problem with this is that missing school because of camps puts more pressure on them academically. Strong and organised students who want to balance their subjects with something more practical are better suited for this subject.

What is the best possible combination of subjects to have the best year you could have (at school)?
Year 10 – OES, plus Fit4Action

While it is hoped that students who start Unit 1-2 will follow through with Unit 3-4, students who do Unit 1-2 OES in Year 10 can have an option of treating the subject like a ‘super-elective’, a subject that they can do in Year 10 only. Beginning Year 11 with a full suite of new Unit 1-2 subjects.

The levy.
Another thing worth considering is that the camp component of this subject is not covered entirely by school fees, so, students who do this subject are required to pay an additional levy on their school fees. The levy is between $350-$450 for each full year.
Some personal equipment is also required (e.g. sleeping bag, sleeping mat, thermals, rain jacket and pants etc.).
However, every effort is made to make this subject affordable for all students and arrangements can be made for any student that may have financial difficulties.