Suzanne Cory High School
|Suzanne Cory High School|
|225 Hoppers Lane
Werribee, Victoria, 3030
|Type||Secondary, Selective, Co-Educational|
|Motto||Learning for Life|
|Principal||Kay Peddle (acting)|
|Houses||Blackwood, Cottrell, Kororoit, Rothwell|
|Colour(s)||Green, Orange & Black
|Affiliations||Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Victoria University, Nossal High School|
Suzanne Cory High School (abbreviated as SCHS) is a years 9-12 selective entry co-educational state school in the western region of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The school caters for academically gifted students and provides an educationally enriched environment to those having reached a high aptitude in the annual selective entry high schools entrance examination run by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
The school was established in 2011 with 200 inaugural year 9 students. 200 positions for year 9 students are offered each year. In 2014, the school, for the first time, accommodated a full cohort of 800 students, ranging from years 9-12. It is one of three recently built selective high schools in Victoria alongside John Monash Science School and Nossal High School. The addition of these three schools are the result of a policy of expansion, and doubles the number of fully selective government schools in Victoria. Prior to these schools, Mac.Robertson Girls' High School, Melbourne High School and the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School were the sole selective entry schools in Victoria.
Located in Hoppers Lane, Werribee, the school is in close proximity to Werribee Mercy Hospital and Hoppers Crossing railway station. Suzanne Cory High School is situated adjacent to Victoria University, giving students the opportunity to use university facilities, programs and academic staff. This is expected to give the students preparation for their tertiary years.
Entry into selective schools is highly competitive. In 2011, exclusively 955 places were available for over 5000 applicants. Students in their second year of secondary schooling, usually year 8, are applicable to sit a three hour examination which tests their abilities in six component tests: numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, reading comprehension, mathematics, creative writing and analytical writing. The DEECD allows a maximum of 5% of year 8 students from any given Australian school to be admitted into the four selective schools: Mac.Robertson Girls' High School, Melbourne High School, Nossal High School and Suzanne Cory High School. However, 5% of enrolments are filled through the 'Principal's Discretion Category'. Students who missed the cut-off mark within 5 marks or passed the cut-off mark for the exam, but were denied first round offers due to the 5% rule, are given a chance to be seated in an interview. Over 100 applicants are placed in this interview, for less than 20 positions. In addition, the 'Equity Considerations policy', adapted by the DEECD allows 10% of year 9 enrolments to be filled through this manner. Students with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds or students whose parents have a Commonwealth Health Care Card are eligible for this policy. Year 10 and 11 vacancies are available later in the school year, however places are limited.
The educational focus of the school is to provide a challenging and rigorous academic curriculum incorporating eLearning for students who are gifted and talented, in conjunction with a rich co-curricular program consisting of student leadership, sport and community involvement. The core values which underpin all school programs, policies and practices are: respect, aspiration and contribution. The intention for Suzanne Cory High School is to become a nationally and internationally recognised exemplar in the provision of highly successful educational programs for academically talented students and lead in the contribution to state and national educational, economic, social, cultural and environmental goals through the delivery of high quality learning for students and teachers. Suzanne Cory High School is built to an emblematic design brief featuring a learning environment conducive to supporting a young adult learning community in a modern and aesthetically pleasing building featuring environmentally sustainable elements. The design incorporates ICT arrangements for eLearning.
Year 9 and 10 courses are very similar, with concentration on two core subjects, English and Mathematics. The subject of Science is also emphasised. Electives are available to students throughout these years, in which students may select from a variety subjects they wish to undertake. Choices of electives include, but are not limited to, Food Technology, Psychology and Philosophy. During these two years, studying a language is compulsory. The school offers two languages: French and Mandarin Chinese. Students have the opportunity of selecting either language to study. In addition, theoretical music is also compulsory, allowing students to gain extra knowledge on the topic of Musical Theory. However, Instrumental Music remains separate and is optional for students to endeavour.
To allow students to gain better relationships with peers, Suzanne Cory High School offers a broad range of co-curricular activities. These encourage students to adopt leadership skills, teamwork skills and community participation. The school offers the following activities:
- Duke of Edinburgh Award
- Politics Club
- Debating/Public Speaking
- Competition Writing
- Kitchen Garden
- Film Making Techniques
The majority of students undertake VCE starting in Year 11. However, Suzanne Cory High School allows Year 10 students to voluntarily undertake a VCE subject. This strategy is similar to the Select Entry Accelerated Learning one year early VCE plan, which enables students to become more prepared for VCE, hence gaining higher outcomes. In 2013, 178 of the school's 200 year 11 students completed one or more year 12 subjects.
Many of the inaugural group of year 11 students completed Unit 3/4 VCE studies in 2013. The median study score was 36 and the percentage of students attaining a study score of 40 or above was 24%. These first VCE results placed Suzanne Cory High School within the 25 highest-performing schools in the state in 2013.
All students at Suzanne Cory High School are allocated to one of four houses upon entry to the school. These Houses are an important part of the school network and a way for students to get involved in school life. Each of the four Houses is named after a mountain in the western region of Victoria and all the houses houses are associated with a coulour, logo and student house leaders.
- Blackwood (Blue)
- Cottrell (Green)
- Kororoit (Red)
- Rothwell (Yellow)
The House program involves a number of whole school competitions in a few different domains including sports, debating, citizenship and music. This includes whole school events such as the Athletics Carnival and House Chorals as well as student participation in events such as the Relay for Life and World’s Greatest Shave. Students can also earn House points through the school values card system by demonstrating the school values of respect, aspiration and contribution. These can be earned in class, around the school or via co-curricular involvement.
Within the school there are many sporting opportunities that the students are encouraged to be involved in. Sport is a compulsory subject for year 9 and 10 students in addition to practical physical education requirements. During sport sessions, students make a choice from four options each term to ensure they are experiencing a diverse range of activities. Sports have included basketball, netball, soccer, tennis, touch, beach volleyball, hockey, football, lacrosse, ten-pin bowling, indoor cricket and much more.
As well as the sport program for year 9 and 10 students, whole school opportunities such as the school swimming and athletics carnivals are held in the first term. These events set a great platform for the school’s culture and application of the core values. The school’s house program is also used as a vehicle through lunch time sporting competitions where the students participate for their house in various team sports.
At the inter-sport level, students participate in a wide range of sports against other schools in the Wyndham region. If successful, and Suzanne Cory High School often is, winning teams represent Wyndham against other schools in the Western Metropolitan Region. Sports that students can assume are: softball, baseball, cricket, swimming, athletics, volleyball, cross country, tennis, soccer, hockey, netball, football, basketball, badminton, table tennis, touch, lacrosse and rugby sevens.
- Acting Principal, Kay Peddle
- 46 Teaching staff
- 9 Non-teaching staff
Selective entry schools have encountered critics who condemn selective schools stating they "skim the cream of public schools, creating an apartheid education system which benefits the academically gifted and middle class." Reports have highlighted the controversy of selective schooling in Australia, with critics concerned about poaching of high achieving students from other schools, and the stratification of government education.Hiving off talented students can residualise schools, so those left behind are less academically able.
"You do set up a hothouse effect at selective schools, which makes it difficult for other schools to compete with VCE results."
- Professor Stephen Lamb, professor at Melbourne University.
- "In a class of their own? Debate", The Age, 5 February 2011.