There are several patterns of study and a wide range of subjects available to students in Years 11 to 12, depending on their post school goals.
In NSW, students work towards the Higher School Certificate (HSC). The HSC is awarded to students who have satisfactorily completed a set range of HSC subjects. There are many subjects that count towards the award of the HSC.
Most students with disability and additional learning and support needs follow the standard HSC curriculum.
As the HSC is a state-wide award measuring student achievement, adjustments cannot be made to the content of the subjects studied or to the learning outcomes expected of the student. However, adjustments can be made to assist students in accessing HSC courses such as the presentation of information in a range of different ways.
Disability provisions for the HSC
Disability provisions are practical arrangements that enable students with permanent or temporary disability to access the HSC examinations on the same basis as other students.
Many of the HSC disability provisions are approved by schools without having to go through an application process as long as the Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards NSW is notified. These may include the use of cushions, special furniture, special food or drink and natural lighting.
Some disability provisions are granted by the Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards NSW following an application process. These may include a reader or writer or the provision of extra time.
The school learning and support team can assist in making an application to the Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards NSW for disability provisions.
HSC Life Skills courses
Life Skills courses are available for students if regular HSC courses are not appropriate. Students can choose a pattern of study that may include a combination of mainstream and/or Life Skills courses. Deciding when to access Life Skills outcomes and content involves considering the needs of the individual student and the collaborative curriculum planning process.
Life Skills outcomes may not be the best or most appropriate option for students. First, consider if:
- there is evidence that the student has an intellectual disability and
- you have made reasonable adjustments to teaching, learning and assessment of Stage outcomes and
- the adjustments didn’t improve access to the Stage outcomes.
Vocational education and training courses
Vocational education and training (VET) courses are available to all students in Years 9 to 12. VET courses give students work-related skills in a variety of industry areas and can be delivered by their schools (SVET), TAFE NSW (TVET) or other private Registered Training Organisations. Students receive a nationally recognised qualification when they successfully complete a VET course.
VET courses offer flexibility for students with disability and additional learning and support needs. Collaborative planning with the student, parents and carers, school learning and support team and TAFE teacher/consultants where appropriate will identify support and adjustments necessary for a student's participation.
Students may fulfil the requirements of the course, or achieve only one or two competencies or partly complete a unit of competency. Acknowledgment of achievement is given for any component of the course that is completed.
Students and parents and carers can discuss VET course options with the school learning and support team.
Workplace learning helps to extend and enrich learning in the classroom. It provides students with an understanding of what is required in the workplace and the opportunity to achieve targeted work skills.
Students and parents and carers can discuss workplace learning options with the school learning and support team.
Work experience may be an option for students with disability and additional learning and support needs and can begin in Year 9. Collaborative planning with the student, parents and carers and school learning and support team will identify skills that may be enhanced by work experience and any adjustments necessary for participation.
Some HSC VET courses have mandatory work placements. Collaborative planning with the student, parents and carers and school learning and support team will identify workplace skills, support and any adjustments necessary for students to fulfil mandatory requirements.
School based apprenticeships and traineeships combine paid work, training and school and may be an option for students with disability and additional learning and support needs from Years 9 to 12. If a student has an opportunity to begin a school based apprenticeship or traineeship, the student and parents and carers should talk to their school and their local school based apprenticeship and traineeship coordinator.
NSW public schools provide all students with an education within the guidelines of the curriculum planning and programming, assessing and reporting to parents K-12 policy.
Guides for parents and carers
What will my child learn this year?: An overview of the NSW public schools curriculum.
Vocational education at school: An introduction to VET in schools.
A level playing field? HSC disability provisions
A special report (PDF 239.27KB) by the NSW Ombudsman.
Disabled Australian Apprentice Wage Support Program
Disabled Australian Apprentice Wage Support Program is a payment that assists employers of eligible Australian apprentices with disabilities.