Speeches Chris has made in the Australian Federal Parliament.

Statements by Members - New South Wales: Education

August 12, 2021

Mr HAYES (Fowler—Chief Opposition Whip) (13:48): Across New South Wales, our year 12 students are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. They are still gearing up to complete their HSC, but most students have not had any face-to-face teaching for the last six weeks, and this is likely to be extended for the rest of the term. It's time the New South Wales government seriously considered whether the HSC exam is still relevant during a period of lockdown where there is no end in sight. These children have experienced two years of disrupted learning, and the mental health issues amongst these students are certainly becoming evident. They have been isolated from their social circles and friends. They are facing the prospect of no graduation or formal celebration of their schooling achievements. Many high school teachers are less worried about their students' results than they are concerned about their students' emotional wellbeing.

Rather than forcing students to go through a stressful exam period, the New South Wales government should be prioritising the health and welfare of students. Now the Department of Education has hired KPMG to design a back-to-school program. Seriously, why aren't they talking to schools, teachers and their representatives? That would be common sense. The state government needs to listen to our students and teachers and they need to seriously reconsider this year's HSC. To our teachers I say: we're indebted to you and your commitment, dedication and professionalism, particularly in this challenging period.