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Trinity Catholic College at Auburn in Western Sydney

 

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School of the year in Australia

03/12/2004: Australia

A Marist systemic secondary school in the Sydney Archdiocese, has been announced as The Australian newspapers School of the Year for 2004 (The Australian is the only national paper in the country). The paper was impressed by the fact that while about 75% of the students speak languages other than English at home, and few have parents that are tertiary-educated, 60% of the students go on to university. The rest mostly find employment or go on to TAFE or other further education. Their average Higher School Certificate results are outstanding after an extraordinary turnaround in the past decade.
Trinity Catholic College is the product of an amalgamation in 1995 of two girls schools and a co-educational Marist school, a decision made by the Archdiocese in response to declining enrolments in the girls schools and the need to pool capital resources. It has one of the most socio-economically disadvantaged school populations in Australia.

At the time of the amalgamation, interest in the school among the education community was high, but school academic performance was low. In 1995, only 26% of the HSC subjects offered at the school yielded results that exceeded the state average.
The papers editorial writer puts the schools success down to its culture. The reason for the transformation has less to do with the standard solutions proposed by the public education lobby – higher pay for all teachers and smaller classes – than with the schools culture... Trinity teachers know their stuff, a third of them examine or assess HSC papers and two are chief examiners in their subjects. And the teachers believe in the school and what it can accomplish, with many volunteering to supervise out-of-hours study.
The Australian says Principal Paul Fensom has been leading the schools assault on academic achievement for the past five years. He says Trinity students now perform to expectation and above expectation, the result of a concerted effort by the whole school to focus on teaching and learning as the first priority of every school day.

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