From the Headmaster - Week 6 Term 1

From the Headmaster - Week 6 Term 1

8 March 2017

There has been significant discussion in the press recently about the announcement made by the former Education Minister, Mr Piccoli, regarding the Stronger HSC Standards. In particular the discussion has centred around the minimum literacy and numeracy standards with specific focus on the achievement of Band 8 in the Year 9 NAPLAN.

A closer reading of the official documentation of the “Stronger HSC Standards” program tells us the following

  1. “The minimum standard is set at a level of literacy and numeracy needed to do things like:
    • Follow operating instructions in equipment manuals
    • Interpret routine tables, graphs and charts
    • Write a job application.”

This standard is an excellent minimum standard and we as a school are very supportive of it. In fact, we strive for and achieve a much higher standard for most of our students. The documentation also notes that “some students” will not have to meet the standards. A few further points:

  • The exemption policy is being created during 2017
  • The minimum standard rules and guidelines will be published during 2017

When we receive each of these documents we will be able to further inform our students and families.

  1. “Students will need to pass online reading, writing and numeracy tests to demonstrate achievement of the minimum standard.

From 2018, these tests will be available for students to sit at least twice a year in:

  • Year 10
  • Year 11
  • Year 12
  • for up to 5 years after starting the HSC”

These tests are in the process of being developed and are to be tested themselves prior to being released. We will endeavour to gather as much information as we can as the development process continues and when appropriate, will share with our school community.

It is important to note that the standards are to be achieved by Year 12. In some of the commentary in the media there is a focus on the Year 9 NAPLAN results and this is an incorrect focus. The document does state “Students with Band 8 or above Year 9 NAPLAN results in reading, writing and numeracy will not need to sit the online tests” but the focus is on demonstrating the standards by Year 12. There are many, many students who have completed the Year 9 NAPLAN who on that day in those exams may not achieve a Band 8. Across the state of NSW 48.6% of students achieve Band 8 or better at Year 9. At Macquarie, 53.97% of students achieve Band 8 or better.

It is important to note that “no student will be ineligible to sit for the HSC on the basis of the Year 9 NAPLAN results”.

At Macquarie we will undertake a range of activities to assist all of our eligible students to achieve the minimum standard by the completion of their HSC year. This will include:

  • Early identification of students who are at risk of not achieving the minimum standard and the placement of appropriate support around them.  Ms Kristy Thompson and her team in the ILC are already undertaking much of this identification and support.
  • The recently released Stage 6 English Syllabi includes a unit which will support all schools including Macquarie in achieving this.
  • When the guidelines and testing are clear we will provide further information to our school community as to our approaches.

Please be assured that we are very confident that all of our eligible students will achieve the minimum standard prior to completing their HSC.

For further information please go to:


Craig Mansour


Category: From the Headmaster