Initiative updates

1.0 New HSC mathematics course

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell announced the rollout of a new Numeracy course for Years 11 and 12 on 17 May 2021. From 2022, all NSW schools will have access to the new Numeracy course which has proven to increase student engagement in mathematics and numeracy while contributing to a lift in their HSC results.

The Numeracy course syllabus and associated support materials will be provided to schools via the NESA website from Term 3, 2021.

Over the past three years, 3,000 students have participated in the pilot, providing an opportunity for students to develop their numeracy and mathematics skills to enable them to build towards success for life after school.

The Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation (CESE) evaluation found:

  • Increased Stage 6 mathematics participation among Year 11 students in 2020.
  • Increased Stage 6 mathematics participation among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, students in rural and remote areas and students studying Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses.

2.0 Primary mathematics specialist teachers

Our Primary Mathematics Specialist Teachers (PMST) have been kept busy during Term 2 with; personalised coaching sessions, formal professional learning sessions with PMSTs and their school teams, testing practices and tasks out in classrooms and engaging with professional readings.

From Kelly Russell, PMST at Kieraville PS: “The framework that this initiative sits on promotes mentors and coaches as co-problem solvers who are on this journey with us and who will celebrate every win and every ‘fail’ as a 1% gain towards achieving better for our students. This model supports teachers to not only know better, but to enact this into doing better and it’s the different styles and modes of learning across the initiative; large PMST group, smaller targeted groups and having the involvement of our school team that further promotes learning from each other as we discover the maths, just like the learners in our classroom do.”

5.0 Ambassadors and mathematics perceptions

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell announced the second phase of the #MathsTrainsBrains campaign on 17 May 2021. There was a renewed push to highlight the importance of mathematics and numeracy in our everyday life.

Ambassadors and content creators were brought on board to speak to a variety of audiences and continue to grow networks of influence. This includes 2020 ambassadors; Steve Solomon, Kellie Hush, Alice Zaslavsky, and 2021 ambassadors; Michael O'Loughlin, Professor Nalini Joshi and Dr Matt Agnew.

The #MathsTrainsBrains campaign, ambassadors and content creators direct people through to the Everyday Maths Hub - specifically designed to assist families in developing and supporting positive attitudes towards mathematics and numeracy in the home environment.

We also invited NSW Libraries to share the Everyday Maths Hub with students, parents and carers, in an effort to break down the barriers between learning mathematics at school and putting it into practice at home.

6.0 Consolidated tools and procurement platform

The department has developed a contracts issue paper and negotiation plan, to advise the contract negotiation process with successful suppliers.

Negotiation plans are being developed and being released to successful suppliers for review.

8.0 Mathematics professional learning

The department is developing a range of professional learning to support teachers of mathematics to build on their teaching and learning of mathematics.

‘In conversation’ is an online lecture series, which draws on current and established educational research and is designed for all teachers of Mathematics K – 12 to hear from leading academics in education.

Check out the past sessions:

The next session is scheduled for Week 7, Term 3. with Professor Janette Bobis.

10.0 Mathematics Growth Team

During Term 2, 2021, Eddie Woo, leader of the MGT, along with program coordinator, Craig Holden toured the MGT schools and supported the MGT trainers to run workshops for the school’s mathematics teachers and fun lessons for the students.

'Having Eddie Woo come to our school and work with our students and staff was a fantastic experience. There was palpable excitement in the air from the moment he arrived and headed out to the playground to interact with the kids and teach them a few cool maths tricks. His staff training was inspiring and confidence building, we could all tell that for him, it's all about the kids. Our only complaint was that we couldn't keep him at CCS!' - Ms Nat Ryan.

Media coverage of the tour included:

11.0 Evaluation

NSW Department of Education’s Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation (CESE) completed an evaluation of the first two years of the new Numeracy course pilot.


  • The Numeracy course was implemented well.
  • Teachers reported high levels of engagement and satisfaction with the support provided by NESA.
  • Teachers and stakeholders considered the syllabus suitable for supporting students' numeracy and mathematics needs.
  • The Numeracy course increased Stage 6 mathematics participation among Year 11 students by approximately two to five percentage points, except for the first cohort of students in pilot 1 schools in 2019 (Year 12 students in 2020).
  • Substantial increases in Stage 6 mathematics participation among students enrolled in Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses (8-11 percentage points), Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander students (4-8 percentage points) and students in rural and remote areas (5-9 percentage points).
  • The Numeracy course also increased Stage 6 mathematics participation for students from low socio-educational backgrounds (four percentage points), albeit only for Year 11 students starting in 2020 in both pilot courses 1 and 2.

Future evaluations will investigate the impact of the course on the HSC minimum standard.

Return to top of page Back to top