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Less than half of Tasmanian students finishin -

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TONY EASTLEY: While the Gonski scheme increases school funding and tries to level the playing field, it cannot guarantee success. Education outcomes from high schools around the nation can vary widely.

Only 43 per cent of Tasmanian students finished Year 12 in 2011. The only place in Australia with poorer educational outcomes was the Northern Territory.

Tasmania is the only state in the country where public high schools stop at year 10. Students who want to go on need to attend different schools that accommodate year 12.

For public students in rural areas it's a tough choice and it's enough to put them off. For those who do go on it can mean a daily two hour bus trip.

Felicity Ogilvie reports.

FELICITY OGILVIE: It's the start of the school day at Hobart College but year 12 student Joscelyn Wynter who lives in the Huon Valley has already been up for hours.

JOSCELYN WYNTER: I got up at about 20 past six and the bus left at 7, 7.05 at Geeveston and get here at like 10 past eight.

FELICITY OGILVIE: So two hours on a bus each day, why do you make that journey to school?

JOSCELYN WYNTER: Education is really valuable to me. I really, really want to get a good education, kind of go far in life and pursue my dreams.

FELICITY OGILVIE: She went to Huonville High school but that ends in year 10. State government statistics say that last year 60 per cent of students at Huonville High went on to Year 12.

JOSCELYN WYNTER: I think quite a few went on but I think a few also dropped out.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Do you know why they dropped out?

JOSCELYN WYNTER: Maybe they're not quite sure of where they want to go or maybe it was a bit difficult with travel.

TEACHER: Okay, come on guys. Get a move on please.

FELICITY OGILVIE: At Huonville High School year 10 students are still deciding if they'll travel up to Hobart to go to year 12.

For Patrick Ransom the journey is longer than most. He lives at Southport which is so far south the school bus doesn't even go there.

PATRICK RANSOM: It's 100 Ks from Huonville so I'm pretty far down. I have a two hour bus ride like from up and back so I have about an eight hour school day.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Have many people in your family gone on to complete Year 12 or will you be one of the first?

PATRICK RANSOM: I think I'll be one of the first. My cousins, and, yeah, all my cousins have done college I think.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Across the road from high school is the Huonville Trade Training Centre where students can finish Year 12 while getting an industry qualification.

The hospitality students are making coffees and among them is Desirae Woolley. She hopes to find work as a pastry chef.

DESIRAE WOOLLEY: I really like it here. You get treated like an adult and it's just like the workforce. And I've got a real chef here that I work with so I got the skills and stuff that I need, so.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Do you know of many kids who haven't come here or onto college, people who have just dropped out of school?

DESIRAE WOOLLEY: Yeah I know a couple.

FELICITY OGILVIE: But the trade school isn't an option for year 10 student Taylah Norman.

TAYLAH NORMAN: After I finish year 12 I want to go to university. I want to be a journalist.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Do you think it would make a difference if Huonville High went to year 12 in terms of how many people complete year 12?

TAYLAH NORMAN: Definitely. I actually wish Huonville went to year 12. Like, I want to go to college but travel is such a big thing for people down here. A lot of us have been in this school since year 7 and we want to continue our school years down here.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Huonville High School is hoping that college students can soon take some of their classes at Huonville via video link, saving them the long trip into town at least once a week.

TONY EASTLEY: Felicity Ogilvie reporting.