Principal’s Report

Principal’s Report, 2019

(Based on the outcome of the 2018 Academic year)

First and foremost Muirden Senior College, the Board as well as all staff would like to congratulate all 2018 graduates on their achievements.

 

Success at Muirden is determined on an individual level, and all students are encouraged to finish the year. The College’s underlying philosophy that success is measured purely on a specific individual basis, means that we take pride in all of our students’ achievements, and that we understand and appreciate that all students learn differently. Consequently there are a countless success stories embedded within this year’s students’ achievements. Reflecting modern trends fewer students applied for university with some opting for TAFE, apprenticeships, or on the job training. Some also have elected to take a year off from studying, to travel, and, or work. However, approximately 75% of the College’s graduates did apply for university with the majority receiving their first preference in the Universities first round offers.

 

At Muirden we consider that by treating all students as individuals we empower them. By allowing students to grow at their own pace we help them to make the transition from school to the outside world with confidence. We acknowledge that each student learns differently. That each student has their own unique ‘story’. That each student has undertaken a different educational journey.  The teachers at Muirden pride themselves on knowing all of their students as individuals and on understanding how they learn and engage with their studies.

 

Education over the past five years, in particular, has undergone significant changes and this is reflected in the way that the SACE is taught and the way that Universities and other tertiary institutions gauge the success of graduates. There is now a more flexible approach by these institutions in relation to enrolment dates. For example, graduates will not necessarily commence their studies at University at the beginning of the academic year but choose instead to embark on their degrees in the second semester intake. What has become even more apparent is the need for students to obtain their SACE with an ATAR even if they intend to embark on an apprenticeship. This is a direct result of both the job market and further education becoming increasingly competitive. Because of its unique nature the College has been able to actively respond to these changes.

 

One of the keys to our student’s success is the way in which student absences, due to health and/or other issues, are dealt with. The key to enabling a student to catch up, or keep up, with their studies when absent for an extended period of time is communication. This can occur either through phone calls or emails. We understand that the circumstances surrounding student absences differ and that keeping up by reviewing class activities, notes and assessment on the Moodle may not be enough. When appropriate, teachers will contact students working with them one on one, albeit remotely. If a student’s absence is unexplained their parents are immediately notified via a phone call from the office. These strategies are reflective of the College’s key philosophy that we will never give up on a student and support all students equally, enabling them to not only successfully complete their SACE but also achieve an ATAR.

 

The best means to measure success is the eagerness with which students engage with their future, the confidence they feel as they explore multiple future opportunities. Past students’ visits are always welcome and this year many students have returned to visit their former teachers and the College which they say they miss and feel privileged to have attended.  Parents as well have thanked the College for its diligence in helping their child through the SACE and last years of their schooling. We have received thanks for the high quality of our teaching, for allowing students to “restart” their education and accepting them for whom they are. A couple of students commented that the years they spent at Muirden were the best of their teenage years. One student wrote that by creating such a supportive and comfortable environment the College allowed them to enjoy their final years of education. There was also an acknowledgement from both parents and students that they may not have graduated without the College’s support. Unsolicited testimonials from both students and their parents reaffirm our conviction that Muirden Senior College does provide a warm and safe atmosphere as well as a learning environment in which students can relax and connect with their studies.

 

Therefore, when reviewing last year and considering individual students stories it is hard not to feel a sense of pride in the College, particularly a sense of pride in our students. However, this does not mean that we will become complacent, the College will continuously renew both teaching and administrative practices, and adjust where necessary to respond to the changes within education and society.

Dr Barbara Harding, Principal