A culture of embracing changes has helped St Aloysius College prosper through some seismic ones.
Principal Mary Farah said the Catholic girls’ secondary school dealt well with the disruption of the coronavirus lockdown and remote learning in 2020 because the school community was used to working towards continuous improvements.
St Aloysius College principal Mary Farah is celebrating the school’s successes.Credit:Simon Schluter
“For us, school is all about opportunities. And we prepare students to embrace every opportunity,” she said.
“What we’ve done here with our programs is we review everything regularly to make sure it accommodates students’ interests.”
Another big change is not far away. From 2023 the school will become coeducational and begin to enrol boys after more than 130 years of educating girls only.
The school’s resilience shows in its VCE scores and has taken it to top spot for non-government schools in the west in The Age’s annual Schools that Excel awards. Though its campus is in North Melbourne, it falls just inside the western region of Melbourne based on the state government boundaries The Age used to group schools.
You can view the full list of winning schools, and explore the data for your high school using this year’s Schools that Excel dashboard:
It recorded a median study score of 32, up from 30 in 2011, and the percentage of study scores above 40 rose to 8.8 from 6.6.
“It’s a reflection of the hard work and commitment of the staff. They put the students at the centre of everything they do. It’s a reflection of us knowing our girls,” Ms Farah said.
“And it’s a reflection of our students’ resilience; the passion they all have.
“We feel very proud of our students and our staff.”
To retain academic success the school put emphasis on supporting students’ mental health during the pandemic.
“It became a real challenge during COVID,” Ms Farah said.
“Mental health and wellbeing is at the heart of everything we do.”
She said the schools’ next change, the move to become coeducational, would be embraced, as the student body already celebrated its diversity.
The first intake of year 7 boys will start in 2023, with the school completing the transition to co-education across all year levels in 2028.
“I think we will continue to build on our traditions,” Ms Farah said. “We have nearly 500 students from over 50 nationalities. I like to say we’re like the United Nations representing the globe.”
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