The New HSC

issue0317-new-hsc-thEducation has appeared quite regularly in the press recently. Of the more serious topics I would like to frame three questions that are being asked:

  1. What does the new Higher School Certificate mean for my child?
  2. How are NAPLAN results related to the HSC?
  3. Are universities reintroducing pre-requisites for courses?

I have sought to make my answers direct and concise.


What does the new HSC mean for my child?


  • The new HSC is due for implementation in Year 11 2018
  • There is a renewed emphasis on intellectual depth and on mastery of subject matter
  • The other prominent phrase is the communications from NESA (the new name for BOSTES) is ‘back to basics’. This specifically refers to the need for all students to achieve a certain level of literacy and numeracy before receiving the HSC – see next heading re NAPLAN
  • Changes to English will include a mandatory unit in writing in all English courses, with explicit references to structure and grammar, spelling, vocabulary and punctuation
  • More complex topics will be introduced across the Mathematics and Science syllabuses in response to criticism that students were ill-prepared for university studies in science, engineering and maths
  • Mathematics students will now require a strong focus on important skills such as the application of technology, financial concepts and statistics. Statistics will also be included in calculus-based courses
  • Science classes will include the investigation of modern and emerging scientific concepts through Depth Studies in each course, such as desalination, stem cell research (genomics), gravitational waves, and the prediction of future seismic events
  • Under the new History syllabus, students will be provided with increased opportunities to study Asian history, and Australia’s developing role in the Asian Century

How are NAPLAN results related to the HSC?

  • With the new HSC comes a literacy and numeracy standard. Students are expected to reach a certain level of use of language and number. 
  • The Year 9 NAPLAN scores will be the first opportunity for students to attain this standard. 
  • Any students who don’t attain the level at Year 9 will have several opportunities to do so between Years 10-12 by completing an online test arranged by the College.
  • Will all of our students achieve the standard? Whilst the vast majority will reach the standard by year 9, it is not likely that all will. PLC Sydney will allocate time to students who don’t achieve the standard. There is no need to look for tutoring

Are pre-requisites being reintroduced to universities?

  • Sydney University is the first to reintroduce pre-requisites, impacting students currently in Year 10
  • Please ensure you access course prospectuses before selecting subjects
  • Careers Advisor, Mrs Arnaudon will ensure Year 10 are informed about accessing these
Dr Paul Burgis

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