A Sydney high school has had to cancel several HSC trial exams and students will be forced to re-sit the tests after police were called to investigate the theft of three separate exam papers.
It is the second serious security breach to hit the HSC trials, after a late-night break-in at Scots College on August 7 saw two physics papers stolen from a cupboard. Police are still investigating the Scots incident.
In the latest theft, an unnamed high school in the Ryde area has contacted parents to tell them that the serious security breach, which is believed to involve test papers being photographed using a smartphone, has meant that some students will need to redo their HSC trial exams.
The Catholic Secondary Schools Association (CSSA), which prepares HSC trial papers for about 480 NSW public, Catholic and private schools, said they were contacted by the school on Thursday to alert them to the breach.
"On the basis of the facts known at this stage - provided by the school to the CSSA - the breach does not appear to involve any school procedures or personnel. The breach impact affects only one class and three exams which have already been sat," a spokesman from the CSSA said.
"Students in the affected class and their parents/carers have therefore been advised that the class will need to re-sit new exam papers for each subject. While this is regrettable, it is necessary to uphold the integrity of the exam results."
The spokesman said the school and the exams division of the CSSA were reviewing exam paper security procedures at every stage of the process - from printing to delivery, storage and access at the school.
The CSSA has strict protocols around the use of its trial papers, including that principals ensure the papers are stored securely at the school, that they are not given to any teachers who are also private tutors or have relatives sitting the HSC, and any security breaches are dealt with immediately.
A police spokeswoman said no further action would be taken over the latest breach but confirmed that police were still investigating the break-in at Scots.
Scots was forced to cancel its physics trial HSC exams last week after papers were stolen hours before the exam was due to begin.
In a statement released last week, Scots head of curriculum John Montgomery said the college was reviewing its procedures for the storage of trial exam papers and would co-operate with police inquiries.