Supporting Aboriginal students to attain the HSC


The department will improve lifelong learning pathways for Aboriginal learners. This will include transitions: from home to school, through primary and secondary education and from school into further study and employment. The department is also committed to increase the participation and retention of Aboriginal students in schools.

Supporting Aboriginal student aspirations to complete the HSC draws on a number of important factors. Aboriginal students who aspire to go to university or finish high school or who report high levels of engagement or advocacy are more likely to attain the Higher School Certificate (HSC) compared with Aboriginal students who do not report high levels of aspirations, high levels of engagement or high levels of advocacy.

This paper focuses on HSC outcomes for Aboriginal students. It also includes strategies that schools use to support students’ aspirations, engagement in school and advocacy that can improve student outcomes and HSC attainment.

Timeframe and Instructions for use:

Schools can use this paper as of the part of annual HSC results analysis, supporting student aspirations, through key transition stages such as subject selection and to support the development and implementation of Personalised Learning Pathways. Schools can also use this resource as a professional learning tool to seek guidance around implementing and developing evidence practice within the school, teaching and learning programs and pedagogy.

Intended audience:

All secondary schools.

Evidence base:

This paper uses NSW Tell Them From Me (TTFM) data to identify drivers of HSC attainment.

Alignment to system priorities and/or needs:
Closing the Gap:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students achieve their full learning potential; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students reach their full potential through further education pathways and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth are engaged in employment or education.

Alignment to School Excellence Framework:
Learning Domain – Learning Culture, Wellbeing and Reporting; Teaching Domain – Professional Standards, Learning and Development; Leading Domain – Educational Leadership, School Planning, Implementation and Reporting, Management practices and processes.

Consulted with:
This publication was produced in collaboration with the Aboriginal Education and Communities Directorate and Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation (CESE).

Reviewed by: Created/last updated:
December 2023.

Anticipated resource review date:
December 2024. To ensure ongoing improvement of this resource, feedback on this resource can be provided via the survey or QR code below.

Universal Resources - Aboriginal Education feedback survey QR code Universal Resources - Aboriginal Education feedback survey QR code

Resource Link

To access this resource, please visit: Supporting Aboriginal students to attain the HSC.


  • DoE

Business Unit:

  • Aboriginal Education and Communities
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