By NSW Premier Mike Baird @MikeBairdMP
I visited the Georges River Secondary College at Peakhurst to launch Education Week 2016 and celebrate the importance of public education and the incredible talents of the 790,000 public school students in NSW.
We are ensuring our school students are taught in world-class facilities by the very best teachers and have allocated a record $3.7 billion for education this year, an increase of $950 million from last year’s state budget.
The Georges River Secondary College is one of more than 2,100 schools taking part in Education Week this year and it was great to meet with students who were happy to show me around their school campus.
We’re committed to delivering the highest quality education outcomes for students and my visit took place just a week after the NSW Education Minister announced major reforms to the Higher School Certificate – the first time it will be updated in 17 years.
We’re increasing the standards that are needed to obtain the HSC and from 2020, students will need to meet new minimum standards in both literacy and numeracy. Evidence shows that students perform better when schools focus on improving skills in these core areas so, from next year, Year 9 students will have their first chance to meet this new standard when they sit the NAPLAN exams. However, the new reforms will come into effect for students who will be in Year 12 in 2019.
The HSC reforms will see the introduction of better and fairer assessments and a new Science Extension course to encourage more students to study mathematics at the highest possible level. There will also be updates to the syllabuses in English, Maths, Science and History and exam questions will be reviewed and updated to encourage students to provide more in depth analysis during exams and testing.
These reforms are being introduced to provide students with a better learning experience for students and increase the standard of graduates from NSW schools. They are also in response to feedback we have received from parents, teachers and the businesses that will employ our future school graduates.
Employers are telling us the future workplace is changing and we are introducing these reforms to ensure students are prepared for 21st century careers.
The Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW has developed the changes. It’s important to note that the 70,000 students who will sit the HSC this year will continue their studies as normal, and are not affected in any way by the reforms.
For more information visit boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/stronger-hsc-standards
In other news, we are improving access to medicinal cannabis for people who are seriously ill.
Doctors in NSW have been given permission to apply to prescribe a broader range of cannabis-based medicines, which will mean medicines that previously were only able to be used in clinical trials in the state can now be considered by doctors for patients who have exhausted standard treatment options.
The change increases the options available for doctors and allows a broader range of cannabis-based medicines to be prescribed.The regulatory change comes as the Government continues to conduct research into the benefits of medicinal cannabis.