School sport and HSC support offered as students return

The staggered return to school entered its final stage today with students across all of NSW now back in the classroom.

Image: Together at last: Fairvale High School principal Dr Kathleen Seto and student leaders welcomed the Premier and Education Minister outside their school today.

The final stage of the return to school begins today with more than 500,000 students from Years 2 to 11 welcomed back to classrooms across Greater Sydney and remaining regional areas of NSW.

To help students return to normal life and support their studies, restrictions on school sport will be lifted and HSC special consideration extended for students most impacted by the learning from home period.

From Monday, November 1, school sport can resume on site, schools can utilise external sport facilities in line with community sport guidelines, and schools can engage in inter-school sport outside of school hours.

Other restrictions will similarly be reviewed over the next few weeks, with a focus on continuing to ensure the health and safety of children and families as NSW progressively re-opens.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said he was thrilled students were finally all back in the classroom and returning to normal life and praised students, teachers and parents for their patience.

“The majority of students returning today have not been in the classroom since the end of Term 2 and it is fantastic they are back where the best learning happens,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Now that we’ve achieved our goal of returning students to the classroom as quickly and safely as possible, our focus is on helping students settle back in and catch up on their education.

“It’s important life gets back to normal as quickly as possible for students, and school sport resuming is a big step towards this goal.”

Schools are also now able to make applications on behalf of HSC students who have experienced severe disruption during the learning-from-home period through the NSW Education Standards Authority’s (NESA) new COVID-19 Special Consideration Program for HSC written exams.

The program is open to students whose learning was significantly compromised for six weeks or more due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said with students back, the job of helping them recover and excel in their education would begin.

“Of the 512,000 students returning today, more than 180,000 are from former LGA’s of concern, and a number of these students are sitting their HSC this year,” Ms Mitchell said.

NESA’s COVID-19 Special Consideration Program for HSC written exams is designed for those hardest-hit by the pandemic, enabling NESA to take into consideration these unique circumstances while still maintaining a fair and equitable HSC.

Strict safety measures remain in place at all NSW public schools. A recent survey of more than 88,000 parents from 799 schools returning today found 82 per cent of parents were supportive of a return to the classroom and happy with the safety measures in place.

More information on the COVID-19 Special Consideration Program can be found on the NSA website.

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