Dubbo defying HSC exam trend

SOME NSW schools are applying for HSC exam disability provisions at nine times the rate of Dubbo schools.

According to the Board of Studies (BOS), the Dubbo School of Distance Education had 18.2 per cent (four students out of 22) of its cohort apply for special assistance.

Out of the 44 HSC candidates at Dubbo Christian School, 11.4 per cent (five students) applied for disability provisions.

St John's College had 131 HSC candidates, and 11 students (8.4 per cent of the student cohort) applied for disability provisions.

Nine HSC students out of 198 from Dubbo College Senior Campus applied for disability provisions, which was 4.5 per cent of the student cohort.

A BOS spokeswoman said figures from Macquarie Anglican Grammar School were not released because they had 20 students or less sitting their HSC last year.

Some schools had rates several times that of the Dubbo schools.

St Francis Xavier's College in Sydney had the highest number of students who applied for disability provisions during their HSC exams. About 52 students (out of 440) applied for special assistance, equal to 11.8 per cent of the student population of those two were rejected.

Camden Haven High School Distance Education Centre, about 360 kilometres north of Sydney, had 42.9 per cent of its student cohort applying for special assistance last year. It had the highest percentage on the list of NSW schools, with nine out of 21 students granted disability provisions.

The school with the highest number of rejected applications was All Saints Catholic Seniors College in Liverpool. Of the 22 who applied for disability provisions, 11 were fully declined.

At Sydney Distance Education High School, 36.7 per cent (36 out of 98 students) applied for special assistance, and none were denied.

At Korowal School in the Blue Mountains, 31.6 per cent of students (12 out of 38) applied for disability provisions one was rejected.

Loreto Kirribilli in north Sydney had 28 out of the 125 students apply for disability provisions (22.4 per cent), a quarter of the student cohort. All 28 had disability provisions at least partially approved.

Last week, ABC reported there were calls for the NSW government to crack down on private schools who encouraged their students to boost their HSC marks by exploiting disability provisions.

Federal figures showed three quarters of all disabled students attended public schools.

NSW Greens MP John Kaye said it was difficult to believe so many private school students needed the extra help.

"Where you have a school which has one third of its students claiming special needs it's very hard to believe that particular exclusive, non-government school had a series of accidents where a third of its students were injured," he said.

"When you look at the list of wealthy private schools that are getting more than 20 per cent of their students with special provisions, none of those schools advertise on their website they have any interest in special needs students."

Association of Independent Schools executive director Dr Geoff Newcombe said schools were doing the right thing of letting parents know all their options.

"I don't believe that children in independent schools are advantaged in the HSC by having these special provisions," he said.

"We take the pastoral care of our students as a very important part of the education service we offer and so if a parent seeks assistance in any way then the schools would respond but that doesn't mean the children get any advantage."

NSW opposition health spokesman Andrew McDonald said more students in government schools would claim provisions if they had better support like occupational and speech therapists, psychiatrists or paediatricians.


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