GOVERNMENT high schools have been the big achievers in the Higher School Certificate in the Hunter this year.
More than half the public high schools in the Hunter and Central Coast region increased or equalled their number of credits on the Distinguished Achievers List compared with last year.
Government schools also had a greater presence on the "all-rounders" list with six public high schools in the region, outside selective schools, adding students to the list.
The region's selective and best private schools also improved their merit list results compared with 2007.
Schools get one credit for each student who scores more than 90 in a subject, but some students get more than 90 in more than one subject.
Selective school Merewether High increased its number of credits from 297 to 339 and St Francis Xavier's College went from 197 to 234.
Among government schools most notably Mount View High School went from no mentions on the merit list to 18, Newcastle High eight to 26, Whitebridge High 11 to 35, Lambton High from 33 to 47 and Irrawang High from two to 15.
There were some drops. Callaghan College Jesmond Campus went from 36 down to 28, Belmont High 29 to 15 Maitland High 19 to 4, Taree High 27 to 12 and Tomaree High 44 to 28.
It follows news that the only student to come first in a HSC course in the Hunter came from Irrawang High.
The number of Hunter and Central Coast students who were distinguished achievers, with results of more than 90 in a subject, increased from 1185 to 1279 this year out of 15,697 in NSW.
The number of Hunter-Central Coast students on the All Round Excellence List, those who scored 90 or more in 10 units of study, rose from 43 last year to 49 out of 1196 around the state.
They included 19 Merewether High students, three Newcastle Grammar Students, four from St Francis Xavier's College and 11 from selective school Gosford High.
Other all-rounders included Claire Herms of the Hunter School of the Performing Arts, Christopher Kearns of Lambton High School, Kelsey Burraston of Maitland Grossmann High School and Renee Sass of Warners Bay High.
There were 7332 students in the Hunter of the record 67,931 students in NSW who received HSC results yesterday.
Statewide, almost 40 per cent of the class of 2008 were in the top two bands of the HSC.
NSW Education Department Hunter regional director John Mather said there had been strong results across the region.
"I would just like to congratulate students who have done well and give compliments to their teachers," he said.
"Even if students don't get the result they want, if you've worked hard to achieve, this level is good."
Education Minister Verity Firth said more than a third of HSC students studied a vocational education and training course in 2008.
Students keen to go to university get their University Admissions Index today.