A survey of last year’s graduating students says some were forced to hire outside tutors because their teachers either were not prepared or did not show up.
A survey of last year’s graduating students says some were forced to hire outside tutors because their teachers either were not prepared or did not show up.

Teachers 'absent and not prepared' for exam changes

Year 12 students have revealed they were never taught course content that eventually turned up in exam questions and complained about teachers who failed to turn up to class.

Others said they were forced to hire outside tutors to cover half the content in their chemistry subjects.

The claims are in the NSW Education Standards Authority annual survey of 4000 HSC students from last year.

The survey found pupils also supported Premier Gladys Berejiklian's announcement to make mathematics compulsory, while others said final exams were too stressful and should be converted to smaller tests throughout the year.

Some students said the HSC was too stressful. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Some students said the HSC was too stressful. Picture: Jonathan Ng

"Teachers did not finish almost half the content and students had to seek chemistry tutoring to learn the content we should have been taught within school," one student wrote.

While some said they had great teachers, others said their educators were unavailable, uninformed or unprepared for new courses or curriculum changes.

"Our teacher would not give us any of the necessary cluster tasks, making the whole class behind and incompetent. We were then given a teacher who hadn't taught hospitality for five years and would never show up to class," one student wrote.

Former NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said ongoing staffing shortages were particularly acute in regional areas because schools could not attract enough specialist high school teachers in subjects like chemistry.

 

Former education minister Adrian Piccoli says regional areas suffer from a lack of teachers. Picture: Toby Zerna
Former education minister Adrian Piccoli says regional areas suffer from a lack of teachers. Picture: Toby Zerna

"That has been a problem in the regions for a long time but it is becoming a problem in Sydney as well," he said.

NSW P and C Federation president Tim Spencer said the teacher shortage issue was not limited to children in Year 12.

"It has a problem which has been around for many years - it is not just restricted to the HSC, it happens all the way down to the bottom (years)," he said.

"You can't have a teacher teaching HSC physics when they have had no background in sciences at all."

HSC courses are currently being reviewed.
HSC courses are currently being reviewed.

A NSW Education Standards Authority spokeswoman said HSC courses were currently being reviewed as part of the government's curriculum reforms announced this year which reduce the number of HSC courses by 2024.

"In the senior years, the new curriculum will provide students with more time to develop knowledge depth helping them grasp key concepts as well as giving teachers additional time to move through the syllabus and prepare students for exams," she said.

Originally published as Teachers absent and not prepared for HSC changes: Student survey



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