HSC students have been given a timeline for their final exams after weeks of uncertainty, with an assurance that delayed results will not impact their university entrance.
On Friday, Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell confirmed the HSC exams will now commence on November 9, three weeks later than the October 19 date initially proposed, and that results will not be released until mid-January.
She said universities will accommodate the changes and the new dates won't disrupt any student's access to tertiary education in 2022, some concrete news that she hoped would leave students feeling more secure heading into their final months of schooling.
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"I think that's important for students to know - they won't be disadvantaged, they can still get their HSC, they can an ATAR if that's what they want, they'll have university offers made available to them," she said. "I think that reassurance will be important to our HSC students."
She added: "We've already had good conversations with the university sector [and] they're happy to accommodate the delayed results, they can make that work with the offers they do."
CSU's Interim Vice-Chancellor Professor John Germov also reassured students, saying their university entrance will not live and die on their final results.
"Changes to the scheduling of HSC exams will no doubt be unsettling, but I encourage students to tap into the resilience that has helped them through the last 18 months to complete their exams to the best of their abilities," he said. "That resilience is just as important as their exam results in helping to open the door to a university course. There are many pathways into University and Charles Sturt is ready to support students during this challenging time."
A spokesperson for NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), said details around how the exams will be sat in a Covid-safe manner, and a new exam timetable will be released in September.
Meanwhile, school formals have been left up in the air, with Ms Mitchell saying it is 'too early" to make a decision, but that year 12 students have consistently sought an answer from her at round tables with student leaders.
"It is a rite of passage, and I know they want to celebrate with their friends but we're just going to have to wait and see what's happening in our communities, what our vaccination rates are like, what our case numbers are like," she said. "I really hope so but we'll just have to wait and see."
The Ministers' comments come after the Premier announced the back to school plan that will see all grades return to campuses in a staggered rollout from late October.
Face-to-face-learning will return in a staggered form from October 25, and all staff on school campuses are being asked to be vaccinated by November 8. Vaccinations for all school staff across all sectors will be mandatory from that date.
The Premier said the marking period and adjusting of scores in NSW would go to mid-January, with face-to-face learning starting in October with kindergarten and year one students.
Years two, six and 11 will return to the classroom from November 1, and the remaining cohort will be back at the desk from November 9.
Year 12 students will also have full-time access to school campuses and their teachers.
School staff and high school students will be required to wear masks, and it will be encouraged in primary schools.
If any area comes out of lockdown prior to those dates, students will be able to go back to school, Ms Berejiklian said.
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