Multiple mistakes admitted by Education Department

An autistic teenager, who studied at Hobart College last year, received his TCE in the mail only to be told a month later that it was a mistake and he hadn’t passed.

That was after a year of misinformation from the college, about whether Jacob O’Beirne would receive his tick for numeracy through a Ticket To Work program.

The Education Department said it acknowledged and regretted the circumstances that led to the TCE being “incorrectly issued to a Hobart College student in 2016, including the misinformation provided to the family around the requirements of the Certificate 2 and confusion that occurred”.

Jacob completed a Certificate 2 in business through the program, in collaboration with the college. Before the 2016 school year started, his mother Sharon said she was told the course would include a tick for numeracy, ICT and literacy for the TCE.

However, in the middle of the year, Ms O’Beirne received an email from the college, saying Jacob had been flagged for numeracy, and had to do a test. When she questioned it, the school double-checked and replied saying she was correct and Jacob did not need to do any tests. But then, two weeks before the end of the school year, Jacob came home in tears.

“He said the school had made him sit down and do the Safety Net test for maths today,” Ms O’Beirne said. “I said, ‘no you didn’t have to do that, I have an email’.”

After even more back-and-forths between the Education Department, Learning Services South and the college, Ms O’Beirne was told Jacob wouldn’t pass his TCE, despite what they had been told throughout the year, and that he could repeat year 12 at Rosny College in 2017.

However, when his TCE arrived in the mail, it said he had passed, with a tick for numeracy. Ms O’Beirne assumed the college had made a mistake and the tick had been included, meaning Jacob had passed year 12. “As far as we were concerned, this was now done and dusted and we didn’t want to hear anymore about it.”

About a month later, Ms O’Beirne found out there had been a “mistake”, and Jacob hadn’t passed his TCE. “How can this be? I can understand someone making one mistake, but making multiple mistakes. It keeps on going.”

A department spokesperson said they had apologised to Jacob and his family for the “understandable distress and confusion caused”.

“The incidence occurred where the student was incorrectly listed as having completed the Adult Everyday Standard in Numeracy skill test. 

“Representatives from the department and the Office of Tasmanian Assessment, Standards and Certification have been in contact with the student’s family to outline options and support for the student to sit the Adult Everyday Standard in Numeracy skill test and successfully complete the TCE.

“This is a one-off incident that was identified with action taken to correct the error. Senior officers from within the department and TASC will continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding this incident to ensure errors of this nature do not happen again.”