Speaking this morning at a media conference at the School Curriculum and Standards Authority, Department of Education Director General Sharyn O’Neill congratulated students, teachers and parents from all education sectors on the Year 12 results from last year.
“It doesn’t matter where you are in Western Australia, you can get a great education at a public school, at an independent school, and a Catholic school,” Ms O’Neill said.
She acknowledged the work of Perth Modern School principal Lois Joll and her team on the school’s outstanding showing, topping the First 50 WACE tables for Stage 3 course scores 75+ in its school’s second year with the entire student body academically selected.
The school-wide accolade followed student achievements in individual Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) results and awards. Forty-one Perth Modern School students achieved ATARs of 99-plus, streets ahead of any other school, and seven of its students received General Exhibitions.
“There are some exceptional students there. They’re seriously clever,” Ms O’Neill said.
She also took time to acknowledge a further 10 public schools to feature in the top 50 noting that, despite large student cohorts, Churchlands Senior High School, Rossmoyne Senior High School, Shenton College and Willetton Senior High School were consistently in the top 20 schools’ list.
“The effort that goes into that, the consistency of effort, of expertise, of great counselling for students, is very important and to be commended,” she said.
Ms O’Neill was pleased that country schools once again did well in academic performance, noting that Denmark High School ranked 24 and Manjimup Senior High School was in 46th spot on the academic table.
Bullsbrook District High School, on the fringe of the Perth metropolitan area, had a comprehensive performance, featuring in all four top 50 tables released today. It was in 29th position on the academic table for the first time.
Vocational qualifications on the rise
Ms O’Neill also said that school students were completing Year 12 with more and higher level Australian Quality Framework qualifications than ever before.
“The figures show a significant rise in the number of vocational qualifications achieved by Year 12 students, jumping from 5,304 in 2011 to 6,251 in 2012. The number of higher level certificates achieved also increased,” she said.
A shining example of the increasing focus on vocational education and training was Hedland Senior High School, which was equal first on the table for vocational achievement, along with nine other public and private schools.
“The school did extraordinarily well on the vocational table – and that is highly appropriate given that vocational training is really important in the region, particularly as we see the expansion and continuation of mining,” she said.
High standards expected
Ms O’Neill made it clear that she expected high standards from public schools and and for all public schools to offer the very best education to students.
“We’re talking about young people and their future,” she said.
“My line in the sand is: students need to leave school with something tradeable, an ATAR, a Certificate II or both. It is no longer acceptable to have students leave school with nothing.”
Ms O’Neill was pleased that attainment figures for public schools were up across the board, rising from 60.8 per cent in 2011 to 65.5 per cent last year, meaning students attained an ATAR of 55 plus and/or Certificate II or higher qualification.
Proud public tradition
“We’re very proud of the tradition of our public schools. What we do best is take all students, of all backgrounds, regardless of where they come from, their parents’ wealth or any other factor,” Ms O’Neill said.
“They come into our system, they get served very well by public school teachers and I congratulate them for that.”
For the full data visit the School Curriculum and Standards Authority website.
PHOTO: Perth Modern School associate principal Val Furphy and Maths teacher Jacqui Carter celebrate the school's achievement with Year 12 graduates Max Carter, Jaron Lee, Yongzi Lau, Antonia Papasergio, Ailsa Brown and Nicole Chan.