Yesterday I received a letter issued by NSW Health about minimising the risk of COVID-19 transmission in NSW School Communities.

The letter noted that certain practices must cease, including school-related social activities (e.g. school formals, dinners or dances; graduation ceremonies; or parent engagement functions).

This morning I heard the NSW Department of Education Secretary Mark Scott saying that while these events must not take place at the moment, he was hopeful that they might be able to later in the year.

We are fortunate in that the Year 12 Formal is booked for Thursday 12 November, 2020. If things remain as they are, we will not be able to go ahead with the event. However, as the event is still approximately three months away, we will maintain our booking in the hope that circumstances will change, and that we might go ahead with it. We are also happy to confirm that in the event of a cancellation, the cost of tickets will be refunded. A final decision regarding the event will be taken closer to the time.

At this stage, we are exploring a variety of options for the Year 12 Graduation, down for 9:00am on Friday 25 September. One of the options is to make it a student only event, with a live stream for parents. Another is to record the event, and release it a couple of hours later so parents and students can watch it together. Another option is to defer it until later in the year in the hope that parents will be able to join us in the celebration of this significant milestone. We continue to explore these and other end of school activities that help to mark the end of schooling.

More importantly, I would like to commend all of Year 12 for the calm and collected manner in which they have approached their Trial HSC examinations. Trials generally mark the end of assessment work, and from here on in, receiving and applying feedback, practising past papers and revising understanding are all key elements of preparation for the HSC proper. Year 12 are aware that there are another five and a half weeks of this term, coupled with one week of workshops at the beginning of Term 4 before the HSC starts.

My strong encouragement to Year 12 is to make the most of the time between now and the HSC. The journey through thirteen years of schooling will be finished in under two months, and the HSC in a week short of three months. This is the time when, across the state, a number of students think the job is done. It is also the time that those who continue to work well, seek feedback, make changes, add to their knowledge and work with each other make significant gains. In running terms, our students are in the final straight, and our job is to support and encourage them to finish the race full of running.

Year 12, there is nothing in the final weeks of school, study and exams that you haven’t already done or prepared for. We look forward to the completion of major works and Drama, Languages and Music Performance exams in the coming weeks. You are ready, simply put the final touches on the hard work that you have already done. Year 12, there is nothing that your teachers won’t do to help you be fully prepared. Having done your Trial HSC examinations, you can now be relaxed about doing the actual HSC. The MPC will be set out in the same way, your supervisors will be the same people, your peers will be there with you, and in most cases, your HSC examinations will be more straightforward than your Trial examinations.

Year 12, we want the best for you because we want your future and your opportunities to be as open and full as possible. We also want you to look back with satisfaction, knowing that you gave it your best shot, which is all we ever ask.

We are proud of the work that you have done, but more importantly we are proud of who you have become. Finish strongly because you can.

Tim Watson