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Nomination guidelines for the Brother John Taylor Memorial Prize

Do you know a student who has overcome significant hardship to achieve academic excellence in their exams? Find out how to nominate them for the Brother John Taylor Memorial Prize.

Download the nomination form

The Trust Deed governing the prize states that the Trust Fund be applied to “provide an annual prize to a student or students who have overcome significant disadvantage to achieve academic excellence in the New South Wales Higher School Certificate."

The Trustees make a holistic judgement about each student's circumstances, and consider both the extent of the disadvantage and the academic excellence demonstrated by the applicant's HSC results.

What is 'significant disadvantage'?

Significant disadvantage can be a result of:

  • Medical, sensory, psychological or physical disability
  • Social, family or economic disadvantage
  • A combination of these circumstances.

What is 'academic excellence'?

The achievement of 'academic excellence' is assessed by the Trustees from records provided by the school and results obtained from the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA).

Who can nominate a student?

Any member of staff can prepare the nomination of a student at their school, but it must be signed by the school principal before submission. Authors can be a principal, head teacher, curriculum director, school counsellor or another staff member who knows the student well.

The student should be eligible for the award of the Higher School Certificate in the year of the nomination.

How do I nominate a student?

Please do not send hard copy nominations or original copies of documents.

To nominate:

  1. Download and save the nomination form (Word format)
  2. Complete the nomination form and save it as a PDF
    Print the form, complete it, scan it and save it as a PDF
  3. Scan any supporting documentation and save it as a PDF
  4. Submit your nomination as a PDF either by email or by saving it onto a CD or USB drive and mailing it to NESA.

Email with 'Brother John Taylor Memorial Prize Nomination' as the subject line.

Mail: 'Brother John Taylor Memorial Prize Nomination'
Policy Integration and Communications
NSW Education Standards Authority
GPO Box 5300
Sydney NSW 2001

You might not need to complete every section of the form but you will need to attach relevant documentation to support the essential elements of the nomination.

While it is not necessary to provide large amounts of supporting material, please remember that the Trustees of the Brother John Taylor Memorial Prize can only make their decision based on the written material submitted. The nomination should be self-explanatory. Tell the Trustees the story of the student and why your school supports this nomination.

Please specify on the form:

  • the nature of the disadvantage
  • the history and severity of the disadvantage (including onset, duration, continuous or periodic)
  • the specific effects the disadvantage had on the student's HSC preparation, including, where relevant, descriptions of any physical impediments and difficulties, external pressures and distractions, illnesses, absences from school and psychological and emotional distress
  • a description of the ways in which the student dealt with and overcame their disadvantage to excel in the HSC (such as personal courage, initiative and determination, parent/teacher support, strategic planning, and technology).

Provide as attachments:

  • copies of supporting documentation from independent professionals such as general practitioners, specialists, counsellors, employer references
  • evidence of the student's performance during their most recent school years, supported by relevant school reports, teacher references and any recent academic awards and accomplishments

Note: Nominees for the prize have often previously prepared applications for special provisions, illness/misadventure appeals and education access schemes. Where this is the case, copies of relevant portions of these applications may be used to support and facilitate the nomination. You may wish to include a copy of the official letter from NESA confirming disability provisions granted to the student.

Does the student have to give permission?

Yes. Generally, nominations and their supporting evidence will disclose personal information such as medical records or details of family life that may be highly sensitive. While NESA and the award Trustees treat all applications in the utmost confidence, it is not advisable to submit a nomination containing personal information about a student without their permission. Schools should discuss the level of disclosure with the student before nominating them.

When do nominations close?

Nominations close on the last day of Term 4.

How is the prize decided?

NESA collates all nominations in late December and provides them to each of the five Trustees. The Trustees independently prepare their own shortlists and then meet to discuss the merits of the nominations and to reach agreement on the recipient(s). It is an extremely difficult decision each year, and a great deal of thought and care goes into the Trustees' final assessment.

More information

Maureen Stevens, Manager, External Engagement and Events
02 9367 8309

Or write to including 'Brother John Taylor Memorial Prize' as the subject line.

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