First and foremost Muirden Senior College, the Board, and staff would like to congratulate all 2022 graduates on their achievements. Students should be proud of what they achieved in 2022, especially with the educational interruptions caused by the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, I, along with my colleagues, wish you all the best for the future.
Success at Muirden is not gauged solely on the ATAR achieved. Students are encouraged to finish their school year and the College’s underlying philosophy is that success is measured purely on an individual basis. This means that the College takes pride in all of its students’ achievements, particularly as we appreciate that students learn differently, and have their own specific needs.
As the pandemic continues, so does the uncertainty of what the future may bring for our students. Global circumstances are changing, and while there is more opportunity for students to take a gap year or consider travelling in 2023, these options still have their limitations and students are making a more consistent step toward either university entrance or employment opportunities. As in previous years, Universities have continued to make offers to students based on their Year 11 results, however completion of their SACE and relevant subjects is still required to gain entry. Of the students who applied for university, either here or interstate, 82% received an offer for their chosen field of study.
Education continues to change, as does the way Universities and other tertiary institutions gauge the success of graduates. There is an increasingly flexible approach by both tertiary institutions and the SACE Board in how to gauge student success. The SACE Board continues to initiate change with the ongoing pilot program of Exploring Identities and Futures, and Activating Identities and Futures, with the Personal Learning Plan and Research Project scheduled to end in 2023. There is also the introduction of the SACE Learner Profile. This project introduces the assessment of capabilities alongside academic achievement to provide a more holistic view of graduates’ achievements. It enables students to make better decisions about their post-school pathways that match with potential employers and further education providers. Because of its unique nature, the College has been able to actively respond to these changes and is participating in the pilot program for both Activating Identities and Futures, and the Learner Profile. We value the opportunity to be part of the conversation and take a step towards the future of the SACE.
Success has many faces and is not limited to students who achieve an ATAR in the 90’s. Our students can, and do, achieve highly, however many students are unable to achieve a high ATAR score due to illness or personal circumstances. These students are celebrated equally as they too have worked to the best of their ability, and their SACE completion is significant. Students develop naturally at their own pace and as educators we support them to make the transition from school to the outside world with confidence. We acknowledge that each student learns differently, has their own unique ‘story’, and 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.
While the press continues to publish articles revolving around the hype that schools sacrifice the wellbeing of students for the almighty ATAR, this is something we do not engage in. Student wellbeing is first and foremost as without this, they cannot reach their full potential and achieve success, whatever success looks like to them individually. 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 with the College. We understand that the circumstances surrounding student absences differ and that keeping up solely by reviewing class activities, notes, and assessments on Moodle may not be enough. Consequently, when appropriate, teachers will contact students working with them one on one albeit remotely. These strategies focus on differentiation on assessment tasks and are reflective of the College’s key philosophy; that we will never give up on a student and will support all students equally. This enables them to not only successfully complete their SACE, but to also achieve an ATAR.
Past students continue to visit the College to engage with staff and the new cohort. They come in with a confidence and enthusiasm for life and all it has to offer them. Past students are always welcome and they invariably state that Muirden gave them the strength to engage in decision making to get on their chosen path and be proactive in their future. Student and parent sentiments continue to come in via hand written letters or a typed email and teaching staff have received remarks on the quality of their teaching, and their ability to create a relaxed and supportive learning environment. Students continue to describe the way that Muirden has become a special place to them with an “inclusive approach” to all students, making them feel welcome from the moment they enter the College. Along with the thanks they acknowledge that the College has “become their safe place”, one that they “will always cherish”. What is clear from these testimonials is that Muirden Senior College has made a significant difference in their lives, enabled them to graduate successfully, and move on to the next chapter in their lives.