Ms Saul is among the first cohort of year 12 students to graduate from a Steiner school in the Hunter Valley town of Maitland.

The Linuwel School has just been registered by the New South Wales Education Standards Authority (NESA) as a school that does not participate in the Higher School Certificate. So students will not receive a university entrance score, or ATAR.

Year 12 teacher Gerrard O’Leary said many parents were looking for options when it came to preparing their children for a changing job market and further study.

“Luckily I think there is a change in the landscape of tertiary education entrance and alternative pathways are becoming more an option for young people,” he said.

“So we wanted to provide a platform for young people who wished to go that way rather than down the high pressure HSC route.

“It’s not at all a case of us waving some flag and decrying the HSC process — that’s a valuable and worthwhile process for many, but that’s not the process we want to engage in for our students.

“We want this alternative, so we were a bit excited when we found out that NESA were changing their rules.”

But he insisted finishing without an ATAR was no barrier to university study.

“One of our students who finished in year 11 last year has just got herself into architecture at the University of Newcastle through her portfolio of work and doing her Special Tertiary Admissions Test or STAT, which is one of the options we present to our students.”

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