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There’s been a surprising outcome to Miss Arabella’s HSC results and it’s causing a bit of tension.  And huge disappointment.  And grief and anger and tears and exasperation and bewilderment and sleepless nights.  But she’s not taking this setback too badly because so far the words, ‘It’s all your fault, mum’, have not been uttered.  I’m off the hook.

Arabella’s HSC results came in around mid-December.  We were all stunned.  Because she’d done well and across every subject too.  And we were stunned not because we thought she was a low-gene-pool victim but because she didn’t appear to be taking the year too seriously.  Remember the post I did, ‘My Daughter is Wonderful’  about her intentions to study at the library but she ended up joining me and Celia and Lorraine and Tanya for lunch?  That was standard.  And there were all those formals and all those boyfriends and, ‘The Glange‘.

Here come the results!

Here come the results!

It won’t surprise you to know that her best subject was Drama, (we all had plenty of that!) followed very closely by Maths.  Who would have thought; she’s an interesting mix, for sure.

But speaking of, ‘The Glange’, Arabella’s ATAR, (who knows what that stands for but it’s where they take all your marks and squash them, compound them, average them and scale them to give you a final score out of a hundred); well that score ended up being one mark short of what she needs to get into the course she wants to study.

One tiny little mark is causing so much trouble.

Who can understand the HSC?

Who can understand the HSC?

The ‘Glange’ caused Arabella to miss over five weeks of an eight week term.  Because of this, the Board of Studies says she is eligible to apply for a re-mark under a review titled ‘misadventure’.  And that required forms.  Forms the school had neglected to fill out.  Forms that were due into the Board of Studies before the end of the year.  And it was December 23 when we realised the oversight.  Sending in the forms meant Arabella could be eligible for an additional ten points!  We only needed one.  We downed tools and got to it.

We downloaded the forms off the internet.  We needed a statement from a GP so phoned our doctor who had treated her.  He had already gone on annual leave.  We phoned another GP whose rooms are a long way from home but she had treated Arabella once during her illness and is very compassionate and yes, she was available so we were up there that afternoon.  That form completed we then needed a signed copy of her blood test results proving she had the illness.  I beetled up to the medical centre, paid $60.00 for a copy of her records and beetled back home.  Next we needed a printout of Arabella’s absences from school signed by a member of the teaching staff together with a form the teacher needed to complete.

I contacted the school where the teachers were already long gone but there were a few administrative staff still remaining.  They told me to come down to the school at 11am.  When I arrived I had to step over plastic sheets as the whole office was being painted.  I was handed a printout of her absences.  I looked at it and it wasn’t signed.  ‘It needs to be signed’, I said.

‘Well I can’t sign it’, she said, ‘I’m not a member of the teaching staff and there are no teaching staff here to sign it’.

‘I can’t send it in unsigned; her application will be rejected’.

‘You’ll have to leave it with us and you can pick it up on the 10th of January’.

‘No.  It has to be in before the end of the month.  They’re not accepting applications after that’.

‘But there’s no one here so we can’t help you’.

‘This is something the school was meant to do long before now.  The school didn’t attend to it when they should have.  I have all her medical documentation here and the application is right to go except for the part the school needs to complete.  Where is the teacher whose job it is to manage the applications for misadventure?’

‘He’s on annual leave’.

‘Is he in the country?’  And she glared at me.

‘Wait here’, she said.  So I waited and she came back and said the teacher was on his way in.  ‘Could you come back in an hour?’ she asked.

So I stepped across the plastic sheets and headed back to my car and drove around for a while then came back to the school.  I was handed the completed documentation without a word and I wished her a Merry Christmas and danced back across the plastic sheets while phoning Arabella to tell her I had everything she needed.

We express-posted the documents and rejoiced that we’d managed to get everything completed before the deadline.

Board of Studies!

Board of Studies!

Well yesterday Arabella received notification from the Board of Studies about her application.  All it said was, ‘Rejected’.  With no hint of an explanation.  She was eligible for up to ten extra marks but didn’t get one.

Arabella is re-designing her future.

I’ll see you on Facebook!





  1. Oh no! I was sure that she was going to get those points! 🙁 But I’m sure she’ll land on her feet. I have a feeling about it!

    • Thanks Lorraine, she’s holding up quite well – out watching Archie at a gig in Kings Cross. She thinks all will be fine – not sure if she’s overly confident or just ignorant – will keep you posted! xx

  2. Ugh, frustrating bureaucracy…. And after all of that running around. But she does always seems to land on her feet!

  3. I know it seems like the end of the world but there are heaps of other paths. When I finished year 12 I was one OP ranking (I’m from queensland) off my course but I got into Arts and was able to do most of the first year subjects I wanted and transfer at the end of my first year without too much drama. Good luck with everything!

  4. How very unfair and disappointing for poor Arabella. There MUST be an appeal process. She is certainly owed an explanation. Best of luck to her whatever she chooses to do in the future.

  5. How horrible! I would throw it back at the school for dropping the ball, tell them to fix it. We’re having issues with our public school teachers right now, I really hate it the way the unions have such control, but don’t get me started.

  6. Oh no. This is such a misadventure all around. Poor Arabella. Best of luck to her. I’ll bet she’s right — it will all be fine in the end.

  7. Oh no, how horrible and unfair! Poor Arabella. Can you call anyone over at that stupid office??

  8. Is there an appeals process? Surely Arabella deserves an explanation.

  9. Oh Arabella! I feel awful for her. That is not a fun letter to receive, and after all that work to get those points. They don’t even provide an explanation? Well, regardless, I have no doubt that Arabella will redesign herself a fabulous future!

  10. Wow! Poor Arabella and how stressful for you. I was so sure she’d get those marks, I can’t believe Glandular fever doesn’t count, can you appeal? Optimism can often see us through and I’m pleased for her (and you) that she isn’t letting it get her down. GG

  11. Oh no! This has to be incredibly stressful for all of you, I’m so sorry. Can you take it another level?

    I’m sure the last thing Arabella wants to hear is “everything happens for a reason” at this stage, but hopefully soon she’ll see another door opening.

    Good luck! ~ April

  12. Bummer … sounds like an appeal in the making.

  13. ugh. those are tough times. and then they don’t get jobs out of college. i’m so glad those years are over for me. and it all turned out well. but it is agonizing.

  14. Ooh..I’m so sorry to hear this, for both of you. I’m sure she will redesign just fine but its nonetheless quite a disappointment and a bit unfair!

  15. What a mess! I’m sorry to hear about this. I hope things work out the way you all want. BTW, I don’t often see or hear the word “beetle” used the way you did – I love it! 😉

  16. I am so sorry, and I can imagine this to be very frustrating. There are times when we are meant to fight something all the way “to the top” and there are other times when the universe is re-directing us, and our best interest is in complying. Figuring out which one it is has always been hard for me! So many of the circumstances surrounding education are quite different here in America, but unending redtape and flagrant disregard for appropriate explanation must be universal! Hugs to Arabella…and you!!

  17. I’m so sorry for both of you! I can’t imagine how frustrating this has been for you…my blood pressure went up, just reading about it!

  18. I’m so sorry to hear that! I’m sure Arabella will find a way to get past this. You’re such a great mom for running around though!

  19. Oh god that must have been a crusher 🙁
    But Arabella is very talented, I’m sure her redesigns will be even better!

    Choc Chip Uru

  20. That is just devistating. Do they have second rounds these days. Why not at least approach your local state member with the details so you can get an explanation as to the rejection.. I so feel for you guys.

  21. Oh my gosh – How frustrating 🙁

  22. Oh no, what a drama and a huge disappointment. Surely they have to be accountable for the rejection and give a logical explanation for it.

  23. I’m so sorry to hear that Charlie and Arabella! I hope it works out..

  24. Reading this there was a lump in my throat, butterflies in my tummy, and as I read the last line, a sop escaped my mouth. It’s not the end of the world, but at that point in life, it surely does feel that way. I’m sending hugs and best wishes to Arabella,you and your family!

  25. Bloody hell, I hate it when they do not give a reason, and one point, enough to frustrate anyone, I am sure something will come along that she will slip into. I am not really sure how the HSC works but hope something can be sorted.

  26. Well congratulations on doing so well first of all 🙂
    Can she wait for the second round of places? Or is the same course available at TAFE? What a bugger 🙁
    There’s always the dreaded (for parents) Gap Year….

  27. That’s so unfair! If it’s any consolation at all I changed subjects so many times at uni. I know heaps of people who graduated with something different from what they started with. Once you’re in it’s all fine!

  28. I know it sounds like a platitude, but everything will absolutely be fine. Sometimes I wish something had happened to derail my set plans and make me think more consciously and clearly about what I wanted and how to go after it when I was Arabella’s age. I honestly think that different paths, paths beyond the norm, are often the best way to get to where we want to be – and I say this as someone who did everything “by the book”, ended up with the ANU university medal, and only now, at 25, is really having to figure out what on earth I want my life to look like… and how much those grades didn’t matter as much as I thought they did!

  29. So sorry, Charlie, to hear this. I had thought there’d be a happy ending to your story — and ‘m certainly not convinced there still won’t be one. These things have a way of sorting themselves out. One day Arabella will look back on this as a very good thing, for it set her on a path that led to …

  30. When a door closes, a window opens. A silly saying, but very true.

  31. What??!! That is totally not the ending I was expecting? How can this happen if you’ve done everything you’re supposed to have done? I hope there is someone you can speak to in person to have an explanation. These school boards are so dysfunctional and on a complete power trip half the time. I can’t tell you what a joy it is to have both kids in a University where things are dealt with in a much fairer fashion. Good luck with this.. I suspect it’s not over yet? xx

  32. That’s just shitty treatment of a student who got sick. I was expecting a much different end to this post. Poor Arabella. She’s much to pretty to cry and she must have shed a boatload of tears over this.

    Any chance of an appeal?

  33. Would Arabella have enough marks to enrol in a ‘similar’ course for one year? If adequate results will be there at the end of that time, ask for a transfer to her required course?? One way to get around the stuffup!!!! Have known many do it that way at my alma mater, Uni of Sydney!!!

    • Thanks Eha, I’m sure there are ‘many roads to Rome’ and she will be fine. I didn’t know you went to Sydney Uni. I went there too. It’s such a beautiful uni. I think Miss Arabella is heading to Macquarie.

  34. No, no, no, the outcome is unacceptable! Charlie, I do hope that you will get this resolved – I know you can and will!
    🙂 Mandy xo

  35. That’s so disappointing, I’m sorry. But at least you can go to bed at night knowing you both did everything you possibly could.

  36. Oh doesn’t that make you soooooooooooo mad. Actually it sounds like something that would happen to me. I always no that somehow, it was meant to happen and there is something else that is waiting in the wings.. You mark my words Charlie-Louis

  37. I’m sure that with Arabella’s personality she will end up with another door opening for her with her positive attitude . All the best to her.

  38. I´m really sorry for all of you! I hope the situation can be sorted! 😉

  39. Poor Arabella. I really did think the story was going to end well. Perhaps she can do a mid year transfer? BAscially if you exceed expectations and do very well, you can apply for a mid year intake. Perhaps you can have a look at it anyways? It could be another option.

  40. Oh no – educational red tape is so frustrating – can you appeal?

  41. Oh, I am so sorry 🙁 Poor Arabella and poor you after all of that effort! I am sure she’s got lots of people telling her that she can probably transfer in to her first preference course later, but I suspect that isn’t much consolation at the moment. I hope it comes together for her somehow at any rate.

  42. Bureaucracy can get you anywhere, as this proves. Poor thing! It seems drastically unfair, but as Lorraine said, I am sure she will land on her feet. I’ll bet other options will open up to her–and I so hope they do.

  43. Oh no, poor Arabella!

    I’m not sure if it works the same way in NSW but here in VIC, the cut-off scores for courses change all the time depending on demand, funding for places etc. It would well be that the course that Arabella wanted to get into reduced their clearly-in score this year (or even next year in which case she could apply again). Alternatively, she can just do a another course (whether it be a similar course or a random course), do well in that and then transfer into the course she wants the following year. Not all is lost! Best of luck with everything, Charlie!

  44. I’m fit to be tied with my daughter’s teachers right now…she missed some school due to illness and had to make up the work (which she did, and ON TIME) but they haven’t bothered to put her grades in the system yet so as of right now she has a D in at least one of her classes and finals are this week and then the end of the semester!! I am so mad I could spit nails!!! Why tell her she HAS TO MAKE IT UP in a certain amount of time if they are going to fail to get her grades in the system so she isn’t getting bad grades?!?!?! UGH!

  45. I am so sorry. I hope this is a ‘one door closes and other opens’ situation for all of you.

  46. Oh, how frustrating. But at least you did everything possible to get her marks reviewed. It sounds as if she’s had a tough lesson in life. Can she have another go at the exams this year?

  47. How frustrating all the teaching staff were out when you needed them! And that the application was rejected with no explanation! So sorry to hear that but I’m sure that Arabella will hopefully still get into a good course. Is there any way the course she is after will be lenient – it is just one point after all!?

  48. oh no… what and awful, frustrating end…

  49. Are you serious?!? How super frustrating. UGH. I’m sure it will all work out though…perhaps she’s just meant to do something else that she hasn’t quite figured out yet!

  50. Oh well, looking on the bright side you have a very smart daughter who managed to achieve so much whilst ill, and looking as if she was socialising not studying 🙂 Well done mum 🙂

  51. Arabella is so very resourceful I am sure she will find a way to get to where she wants to go and what she wants to do.

  52. What a frustration… Best of luck to Arabella!

  53. ergh! 🙁 I’m so sorry for Arabella. It must be a difficult time.

  54. ah…

    Tell Arabella she shouldn’t give up! That’s just the beginning of life and there are lots of ups and downs, one way will click in time. I guess you must have told her that already.

  55. It’s fascinating to this American that one has an book in order to understand the HSC. I don’t recall the Germans have anything of the sort for their exit exams.

  56. there are many pathways into uni so dont fret or give up! things you can consider include mid year, college of uni’s, uts insearch and even diplomas at tafe. speaking as a tutor, i do find that many schools fail to inform the students and the parents well about the HSC and uni applications, but there isn’t much that we can do as there is a shortage in teachers and a lack of quality training.

  57. Oh, gosh! That totally stinks. I sure hope that something will work out…somehow!

  58. Oh NOOOOO! I was sure this would have a happy ending. How heartbreaking. Despite all that she will go far that girl – she has her mums guts and determination in her Im sure, xx

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