This is valid – a student achieving an ATAR in the 90s and pursuing a degree at their university of choice is a common narrative for success. However, there is more to a secondary education than the number a student ends up with when they graduate.
In Victoria alone, there is an abundance of schools undertaking a range of initiatives that aren’t strictly related to traditional academic success but are crucial in helping students develop important life skills.
Brentwood Secondary College can be confident they are the only school in Australia that boasts a podium finisher at Eurovision after student Isabella Clarke took out third spot at the junior version of the global singing competition. This is the highest ever placing by an Australian student, and is a great testament to how Brentwood embraces performing arts as part of their curriculum. In fact, the popularity of the program is such that former students and parents often return to assist with the various productions.
Yarra Valley Grammar has several key initiatives, including a Shark Tank-style program that encourages students to pitch ideas to teachers, Year 8s making and selling their own coffee and students with hearing impairments taking to Parliament House to share the work being done by the school.
Xavier College is one of Melbourne’s most well-known schools but in a bid to promote leadership and a sense of community, students have recently been participating in tutoring sessions for migrants on Friday nights, with roughly 200 students (who hail from other schools as well) congregate to assist younger children.
These kinds of practices aren’t just limited to the Education State. In Brisbane, Canterbury College’s Engine Room program is a prime example, where a unique space can lift students’ energy levels, improve concentration and develop motor skills in a fun and safe environment. Featuring a ball pit, bear walking, leopard crawling and ‘the big squishy cushion’ to name but a few activities, the Engine Room ensures children are at an optimum level for learning.
These are prime examples of why decisions about schooling shouldn’t be based solely on academia. Whether it’s investigating online profiles, attending open days to engage with staff and current students, or following schools on social media accounts, research is essential to get a holistic view of how your child will be educated.
While academic performance is important and there is plenty of value behind earning a great ATAR score, it’s important to consider other factors that help students develop as community-minded, well-rounded people.
Rebecca Wainwright is an Account Executive at Good Education Media. She is passionate about assisting schools with showcasing the very best of what they have to offer prospective, current and former students. Find out more about Bec and her role here at Good Education Media.