Harold Wyndham is now regarded as having been one of the most able and innovative state education department Directors of twentieth century Australia. His most celebrated and best known NSW state education reform was the introduction of the “Wyndham Scheme” based on the Report of the Committee to Survey Secondary Education in NSW (1953-1957). This scheme abolished the old 5 year High School Leaving Certificate and the 3 year Intermediate Certificate structure and replaced it with a 6 year secondary school course leading to a Higher School Certificate Examination with a School Certificate Examination a the conclusion of the 4th year of high school.
Wyndham was born in Forbes in NSW in 1903 and after attending High School at Fort Street Boys’ High School he entered the University of Sydney where he completed an Honours B.A. and M.A. after which he was employed for a time as a teacher at North Newtown Public School from 1928. He also served as a lecturer at Sydney Teachers’ College. He attended Stanford University in the USA where he completed a doctoral degree in 1934 before returning to NSW where he was for a time a staff inspector, and later involved with educational research in Sydney. He was promoted to the position of Deputy Director-General of Education and in 1952 became Director-General of Education in NSW, a position he held until he retired in 1968. His plan for the reform of secondary education in NSW, based on the Report of the Committee which he chaired, was introduced in 1961. Later he pressed the government to introduce a minimum three-year training program for all school teachers in Australia. This came into effect in 1974. Harold Wyndham died in Sydney in 1988 having received a knighthood a year or so prior to his death. For further reading on Wyndham’s achievements, refer to Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 18.