Testing time for students and parents

By Greg Whitby, 2 October 2019
Greg Whitby AM is Executive Director of Schools, Diocese of Parramatta.


Weekly Column from the Executive Director of Schools, Diocese of Parramatta

School holidays are here, and the ‘Class of 2019’ is now on study vacation or ‘stuvac’. Parents and carers of Year 12 students, this one’s for you: the HSC can be a testing time for the whole family!

As a dad, I know that this can be a tough time for some young people. Though it’s a few years now since my children finished school, we should never forget that we all have a part to play in supporting the HSC students in our life

We all want our kids to do well, but it’s also important to keep things in perspective. Did you know that 74% of students enrol in university without using an ATAR? A great HSC result can help, but it’s only one way to get a good start after school. There are also more students qualifying for university through early entry programs and obtaining credentials outside of school.

Here are a few simple tips for students sitting exams soon:

  • Stay positive
  • Be connected
  • Eat well
  • Sleep soundly
  • Keep fit
  • Seek help

Though it’s not always easy, it is really important to stay connected to your children to support them at this time. Keep talking (or texting if that works better). Remember that their friends are also an important support for them. Though your instinct might be to limit catch-ups, some shared study sessions can provide balance for students at a sensitive time.

They say a change is as good as a holiday, and these school holidays are certainly a time of change for you and your family. If you, or the students in your household, need some extra support, I encourage you to reach out. Remember that schools can provide professional counselling for students who are struggling. Some useful contacts include Lifeline on 13 11 14 and Kids’ Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

Greg Whitby AM
Executive Director of Schools – Diocese of Parramatta


Parishes around the Diocese of Parramatta are organising HSC Masses for Year 12 students across the Diocese. For more information, visit parracatholic.org/annual-hsc-masses


Greg Whitby is the Executive Director of Schools - Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta
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