DHS News

HSC minimum standard explained

HSC minimum standard explained

As part of the lead up to this year’s NAPLAN tests, NESA has developed a range of resources to ensure students and parents have accurate information about the NSW Government’s implementation of a minimum standard of literacy and numeracy for the HSC from 2020.

You should watch the new video below and read the CEO letter to Year 9 students for a good overview


Set for success in everyday life

The standard is mapped against the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) Level 3, a nationally agreed standard of functional literacy and numeracy.

The minimum standard is part of a broader NSW Government strategy to support students to succeed in life and work. The minimum standard complements a new cross-sectoral, statewide strategy to boost literacy and numeracy.

Students at risk of not demonstrating the standard will be identified early and supported to improve their reading, writing and numeracy skills.

Multiple opportunities to pass

Students can demonstrate they meet the standard by passing the online reading, writing and numeracy tests, which will be available for students to sit in:

  • Year 10
  • Year 11
  • Year 12
  • for up to five years after beginning their first HSC courses.

Students can access a demonstration test to find out the level of skills required for these tests.

Students will have the first opportunity to prove they meet the standard by achieving Band 8 results or above in Year 9 NAPLAN reading, writing and numeracy tests. Students who achieve Band 8 will not need to sit the online tests later in years 10, 11 and 12.

No student will be ineligible to sit for the HSC on the basis of their Year 9 NAPLAN results.

Why have a minimum standard?

The best indicators of success (employment, higher salaries and good health) rely on a student’s literacy and numeracy skills.

Without targeted intervention and support to reach the standard, some students risk missing out on skills necessary for everyday life. These skills allow students to:

  • write a job application
  • prepare an invoice
  • follow operating instructions in equipment manuals
  • compare prices and understand percentages
  • understand interest rates and lending offers
  • work out quantities and measurements
  • manage personal budgets
  • understand and write routine workplace instructions
  • navigate websites
  • take meeting notes and complete official documents.

Currently, the HSC does not directly measure students’ literacy and numeracy skills nor require a minimum standard to be met.

The minimum standard will prompt an early focus on literacy and numeracy, and help students meet progressive milestones. Advanced students will also benefit from an increased focus on literacy and numeracy by developing more sophisticated skills. For example, Western Australia recently introduced a minimum standard, which has helped lift the proportion of students in the top two NAPLAN bands.

Helping students achieve the standard

Schools will have access via Schools Online to information about Years 10-12 students who have or have not met the minimum standard in reading, writing and numeracy. This will help schools boost support for students at risk of not meeting the standard.

Support materials, including NSW Education Standards Authority resources, will emphasise early identification of students in primary and high school at risk of not meeting the standard. Teachers will have access to strategies and materials to help their students meet the standard.

Schools can deliver short courses, topics or additional tutoring in numeracy skills. Some students may continue studying mathematics as the best way to improve their numeracy skills.

The NSW Literacy and Numeracy Strategy is a plan to ensure NSW students have the essential literacy and numeracy skills they need for success in learning and in life.

Literacy and numeracy skills will be described clearly, taught explicitly, assessed meaningfully and reported regularly in all schools across NSW providing early identification and support for students most at risk of not meeting the minimum standard.

Find out more about the NSW Literacy and Numeracy Strategy.

Students who don’t meet the standard

All students should complete high school with a functional level of literacy and numeracy for everyday life and employment.

Students who don’t demonstrate the standard will have five years after beginning their first HSC courses to meet the minimum standard and receive an HSC. They will receive a Record of School Achievement on leaving school.

While maths will not be mandatory for Year 11 and 12, studying Mathematics General 1 is an option for students who need to improve their numeracy skills in order to meet the minimum standard.


Disability provisions will be available for the new tests in line with existing provisions for the HSC.

Some students, including those studying Life Skills courses in English and Mathematics, will be exempt from meeting the minimum standard.

An exemptions policy will be developed in consultation with key stakeholder groups and be released in 2017.

Read more answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Read more about updating the curriculum.

Dapto High at Adobe HQ

Dapto High at Adobe HQ

Recently, Mrs Jones and Mr Toole accompanied seventeen students to Adobe HQ at Darling Harbour in Sydney.

The day focused on improving video literacy but the students also learned about what it is like to work for an industry leader in creativity and international software company. Students focused on learning how to use Premiere Pro to edit video footage. The following video story will tell you more about the day.


Adobe Day with Dapto High from CreateEDU TV on Vimeo.

“Your students and staff were all delightful, respectful and attentive. A tribute to your school…They seemed to enjoy and appreciate the experience.” Dr Tim Kitchen

Students would like to thank Dr Tim Kitchen for his guidance, kind words and support! We are all looking forward to the Adobe Day at our school on the 2nd May and seeing Tim again.

NB Students can download Adobe software for free. Click here for instructions!

NAPLAN: Advice for Parents 2017 (and for the 2020 HSC)

NAPLAN: Advice for Parents 2017 (and for the 2020 HSC)

The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is an annual assessment for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. It has been an everyday part of the school calendar since 2008. This year, NAPLAN has added significance for Year 9 students who will do their Higher School Certificate in 2020.

NAPLAN tests the sorts of skills that are essential for every child to progress through school and life, such as reading, writing, spelling and numeracy. The assessments are undertaken nationwide, every year, in the second full week in May.

This year the dates are 9-11th May.

NAPLAN is made up of tests in the four areas (or ‘domains’) of:

  • reading
  • writing
  • language conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation)
  • numeracy.

NAPLAN tests skills in literacy and numeracy that are developed over time through the school curriculum. You can find an easy to understand infographic that gives useful information on the NAPLAN tests and their benefits here (PDF icon 810KB).

To get a sense of the ‘look and feel’ of the tests and to understand what types of questions are asked, here is a full set of examplar NAPLAN tests.

NAPLAN is not a test that children can prepare for in the same way they might prepare for an end of term test. NAPLAN tests skills that develop and improve over time. These are skills that should be continuously developed throughout the year and not just in the lead-up to NAPLAN.

The best way to get your child ready for NAPLAN is to continue to develop literacy and numeracy skills, especially by reading regularly each evening at home.

Here are links to Australian education resources tailored specifically to parents looking for information and support on literacy and numeracy development in children.

Higher School Certificate 2020

From 2020 students in NSW must reach the minimum standard of literacy and numeracy to be eligible for the HSC. There will be multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate the standard between Year 9 (NAPLAN) and when they complete their HSC. Students will have the first opportunity to prove they meet the standard by achieving Band 8 results or above in Year 9 NAPLAN reading, writing and numeracy tests.
Students who achieve Band 8 will not need to sit the online tests later in years 10, 11 and 12. No student will be ineligible to sit for the HSC on the basis of their Year 9 NAPLAN results.

Students can demonstrate they meet the standard by passing the online reading, writing and numeracy tests, which will be available for students to sit in:

  • Year 10
  • Year 11
  • Year 12
  • for up to five years after beginning their first HSC courses.

Students can access a demonstration test to find out the level of skills required for these tests.

Here is an FAQ Guide for parents and students.


Featured image: flickr photo by theglobalpanorama https://flickr.com/photos/121483302@N02/14020509859 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

“Learning How to Learn” Year 7 Workshop

“Learning How to Learn” Year 7 Workshop

Year 7 students participated enthusiastically in a workshop with John Joseph this week. The focus was on “learning how to learn” and how “their brains work”.

The students dissected a brain to help them understand the different functions and how these assist their own learning. They also thought about their future careers and did some creative activities to help them think/plan.

The Year 7 Advisors – Amy Boyd and Joel Trist – were very impressed with the group’s level of participation is these challenging activities. On Monday it was particularly hot and the students showed great resilience.

This is the fifth year John has run these workshops which show students how they can maximise their learning potential. Some of the take home messages include:

1. There should be no screens in bedrooms. People who check their device instead of sleeping end up feeling unhappy and find it hard to be rested enough to learn at school. It is really important not to fall asleep watching TV too.

2. Breakfast is essential after a nine hour sleep.

3. Video games are best played on weekends or in the afternoon rather than when it gets dark as they are fun but it makes it hard to sleep.

Next year, due to requests from parents, John Joseph will run a similar workshop for adults commencing at 6.30pm.

NB There will be no dissection. ;)

Creative Dapto: Performing Arts Centre

Creative Dapto: Performing Arts Centre

Dapto High has formally commenced a campaign to have a high quality Performing Arts Centre built for our school. We plan to ask everyone who supports our school to talk up the urgency of providing Music/Drama/Entertainment/Dance with quality facilities to support our ongoing Creative Dapto initiative. This new facility would be built on the Music Lawn; 900mls above current ground level to acknowledge the occasional flood. Once built, the facility may well enhance community use. The auditorium will seat about 400+ and cost $5-6m.

How can you assist our school to turn this vision into reality?



Parents and students,

Year 7, 11 and 12 return to school Monday 30th January. Year 8, 9 and 10 come back on Tuesday 31st January.


  • Wednesday 18th January 8.00 am to 1.00 pm
  • Thursday 19th January 8.00 am to 1.00 pm
  • Friday 20th January 8.00 am to 1.00 pm
  • Tuesday 24th January 8.00 am to 1.00 pm
  • Wednesday 25th January 8.00 am to 1.00 pm
  • Friday 27th January 8.00 am to 2.00 pm

Have a a great holiday season and wonderful New Year!


School Photos 2017

School Photos 2017

School Photos will be taking place very early in 2017, in Week 1 on Wednesday 1st Feb 2017.

Advanced Photography envelopes will be handed out on the first days back of term, however, the preference is that orders are placed online where possible.

Orders can be placed at Advanced Life with the Online Order Code HX7 WJZ 68H.


Attendance Matters – Lets go surfing!

Attendance Matters – Lets go surfing!

Congratulations are due. Thirty students have had near perfect attendance this year and are being rewarded with a FREE Learn to Surf day at Wollongong Beach. That’s right- if you have awesome attendance at Dapto High school we will reward you. On Monday the 12th of December we will be surfing.

If you think your attendance has been excellent drop in and see Mr Cattle and he will check your attendance and you could be on your way to the green room (surf talk).

Image result for sally fitzgibbons

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day

Why is this day special?

At 11.00 am on 11th November 1918 the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years continuous warfare. This first modern world conflict mobilised over 70 million people and left between 9 and 13 million dead, perhaps as many as one-third of them with no known grave.

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month attained a special significance in the post-war years. The moment when hostilities ceased on the Western Front became universally associated with the remembrance of those who had died in the war. The allied nations chose this day and time for the commemoration of their war dead.

Memorial Plaque Dedication Ceremony

A Year 8 student has completed a project that has resulted in the school having a memorial to commemorate the loss of life in war. Nathan Aylett participated in the Youth Frontiers program which encourages and supports student leadership. Nathan was mentored by Stephen Targett.

The memorial plaque was unveiled by Robert Winston and Robert Turford from the Dapto RSL Sub-branch along with Gareth Ward, Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and Nathan Aylett, the student who organised the event.

Here is an excerpt from Nathan’s speech:

As a fourteen year old, it is hard to ease the pain and loss and suffering caused by the past and present conflict, or even an understanding of what it feels like. Something I can do, is show a token of my appreciation and respect, which I have done with this plaque. I have gained the opportunity to do this through a program called Youth Frontiers, a mentoring program in which young students make a positive involvement with their community, whether it be their school, town or even state. I hope to remind future students of the major sacrifice fellow Australians have made…

Remembrance Day at Dapto High

Our whole school commemorated Remembrance Day today. Mr FitzSimons and our school leaders remembered the loss of life in war by laying a wreath at our new memorial. Thanks to Mr Adam Moore and the team of students who organised the service.

The school is planning to collate the names of ex-students and staff who have served and fallen to remember their sacrifice in future years on the 11th/11th. If you have information that may assist please contact Andrew.FitzSimons@det.nsw.edu.au

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