THE HERALD'S OPINION: Hunter's HSC high achievers recognised in Sydney

TOP NOTCH: Seraina Danuser and Jacob Wallace. Picture: Simone De Peak
TOP NOTCH: Seraina Danuser and Jacob Wallace. Picture: Simone De Peak

WITH NAPLAN results already out, and Higher School Certificate results being sent out on Thursday morning, this is undoubtedly a big week in the state’s education calendar.

The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy, otherwise known as NAPLAN, were introduced in 2008 by then-prime minister Julia Gillard.

Earlier this year Ms Gillard defended the program as “a huge transparency project”, noting it was opposed at the time by teachers’ unions.

Together with the My School website, it gives students and their families some insight into how the individual, and their school, are performing.

It also keeps educators on their toes, with Education Minister Simon Birmingham describing this week’s results – with nearly one quarter of year nine boys not meeting minimum writing standards – as a “wake-up call that some changes are required”.

Standards flat-lined or fell across most year groups for literacy and numeracy, at a time when Australia is widely considered to be falling behind a number of its peers.

With the vast majority of high school students now going on to Year 12 – and many of them pursuing higher education of some form or other – the HSC is more than ever a crucial point in the lives of young Australians.

Introduced in 1967, the HSC has grown to the point where 114 subjects were available this year, with English the only compulsory offering.

In Sydney on Wednesday, the lucky individuals who topped these subjects were invited to a “first in course” ceremony with the Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, and heads of the NSW Education Standards Authority.

Four Hunter students were revealed as course-toppers: Newcastle Grammar’s Seraina Danuser in Design and Technology, Mount View High’s Jacob Wallace in Electrotechnology, Merewether High’s Owen Small in Geography and Maitland Grossmann High’s Alexandra Fletcher in Visual Arts.

The Newcastle Herald congratulates them on their achievements.

While the subjects concerned are just a small component of their overall HSC result, they will undoubtedly remember their “number one” status for the rest of their days.

For the rest of the region’s HSC cohort, the Herald hopes that all achieve the marks they are after.

For those who fall short, the disappointment need only be temporary. It may seem hard to believe, but there is life after the HSC.

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