Academic league tables are a poor reflection of a holistic education, Western Australia’s Catholic Education Director Tim McDonald said this week after Catholic schools missed out on placing in the state’s top 10 of best performing schools.
The list, which ranked schools based on the number of students who achieved a WA Certificate of Education Stage 3 course score of 75 or higher, was topped last year by prestigious public school Perth Modern.
John XXIII College in Mount Claremont was the highest-ranking Catholic school in last year’s results, coming in at 15th, followed by Sacred Heart College in Sorrento at 18th.
Mr McDonald said students should not be defined by their Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) as it is only one indicator of success.
“We don’t hold much faith or store in the league tables because they measure one aspect of a holistic education – there is more to schooling than an ATAR,” he said.
“What distinguishes Catholic education is we cater for bright kids and a whole range of individual needs.”
Mr McDonald said Kolbe Catholic College in Rockingham was a great example of a school catering to the needs of all its kids, ranking highly on both the academic and vocation league tables.
While every year about a dozen Catholic schools place in the top 50 of the academic table – any appearance of a Catholic school in the top 10 has been far and few between.
Over the past six years, the only Catholic schools to rank in the top 10 have been Mercedes College in Perth, which ranked 8th in 2011, Santa Maria College in Attadale at 9th in 2008 and St Joseph’s College in Albany at 6th in 2006.
Catholic Agricultural College Bindoon topped the 2012 vocation education and training (VET) league table, accompanied by fellow Catholic school Clontarf Aboriginal College in Waterford, which ranked 9th.
Bindoon College’s acting co-principal for 2012, Martin Tobin, said the school’s excellent teachers and training staff, as well as the development of the trade centre, were keys factor in making it the best VET school in the state.
“One of the things we talk about with our students is about the concept of practical excellence in their work – in the classroom or the pride they take in their work on the farm,” he said.
“I think the key thing overall is it is a good caring environment for students”.
Mr Tobin said students who completed VET courses were encouraged to do the highest level of mathematics and English.
“We’re not trying to dumb down their courses, we’re trying to challenge them in other areas as well.”
Mr Tobin said the school was drawing enrolments from all across WA and more kids from the metropolitan area who have not grown up on farms were increasingly attracted to the school’s agricultural studies.