I was a Government schooled child who attended a quite a few (four primary and three high schools), in mostly poorer areas. Despite the less than ideal experience, I always felt I had options, and more importantly the space to learn, fail, change, grow and try again. It’s a luxury our kids can not afford in the current schooling system, especially when it comes to NAPLAN.
NAPLAN, from my understanding, was introduced by the Gillard Government as a means of testing the school rather than focusing on the individual. It was an opportunity to help kids who might be falling through the cracks by further supporting the education system looking after them. It was a benchmark for teachers and schools to look to.
Today’s NAPLAN, however, is far less honorable. NAPLAN today in NSW has become the first hurdle in the prequalification process to the right to receive an HSC. From yr 9, kids are being confronted with failure and doubt about whether they will have anything to show for their years at school other than a record of school attendance.
By requiring students from year 9 to pass standardised tests in order to qualify to receive their HSC two years down the track, the NSW government has caused stress on young teens and impacted their self-worth. Just what a teen needs. Why should a 14-year-old need to worry about for their future and whether they will get a job or not because every employer asks kids about their high school results?
I can tell you this former year 9 student wouldn’t have passed and not because I was naughty or absent. I was a good kid who did reasonably well. No, I wouldn’t have passed because, in order to make the grade on this pre qualifier, our current NAPLAN students have to pass a bar so high that only a few can achieve. Here’s a thorough explanation of why Half of NSW students would fail first HSC test.
I want my kids and other people’s kids to have the space to learn and mature in a nurturing environment so they can go out into the world as confident young adults. That’s why on Wednesday 6 September between 16:30–17:30pm, I will be joining the protest hosted by HOPE – HSC, Opportunity, Potential, 4 Everyone at Parliament of NSW (6 Macquarie Street, Sydney).
Please us to support our children, and all the others in our village, in having access to the educational opportunities they deserve. Let them have space to be young, to feel like they have options, to be the great people they can be, with our support.