Year 12 students across NSW will start their HSC exams five days later than planned after a “challenging year” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell on Friday told an upper house inquiry into the government’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic that exam results will still be delivered within a similar time frame to previous years despite the five-day delay.
Ms Mitchell said the decision to delay exams was a “sensible” one.
“While we are starting five days later, students will still get results in a similar time frame and will have exams in a similar time frame,” she told the inquiry.
The NSW Education Standards Authority on Friday announced the HSC will start five days later than planned to give year 12 students extra time in the classroom, given coronavirus led to disruptions in face-to-face learning.
Written exams will start with English on October 20 while oral language exams will begin on August 15.
Students will receive their HSC results on December 18.
NSW Education Department secretary Mark Scott said the timing of exams would be spread out as usual, giving students more time in the classroom to prepare.
The five-day delay will also ensure there’s no impact on university offers.
“They’ve (year 12 students) had a difficult year, they’ve had a challenging year,” Mr Scott told the inquiry.
“To push their exams and results later, there seemed to be a fairness question around that.”
Mr Scott said NSW schools have also made a commitment to prioritise engagement with year 12 students after face-to-face learning was disrupted in late March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Face-to-face learning resumed across NSW schools on Monday with year 12 students returning on average three to four days a week while other students are attending school at least one day a week.