Siena College in Camberwell, Victoria, has been named Eastern region winner of The Age’s Schools that Excel awards.
The awards are based on data from the Grattan Institute and recognise schools that have shown continuous improvement in academic results over the past decade.
The Catholic girls school, founded by the Dominican sisters in 1940, has consistently scored average VCE study scores of 34 for the past seven years. A score above 30 means students are above average compared with the rest of the state. Scores of 40 or above put students among the best in Victoria, and over the past decade a growing proportion of Siena College students have been achieving these stellar results.
In 2018, Siena College did particularly well in English, with about one in three of its Year 12 students scoring 40 or above, including two students who earned a perfect study score of 50.
Deputy Principal Learning and Teaching, Bernadette Donnolly, said the college’s strong English results could be attributed to the collaborative way the English faculty staff approached the subject and the extensive writing practice given to students.
As exams approached, students were encouraged to submit practice essays, which were then shared between teachers, who worked together to help the entire group rather than just their own classes.
“Our school is non-selective and we are proud of our students achievements over so many fields of endeavour,” said Principal Gaynor Robson-Garth. “We have had an unrelenting focus on learning outcome and wellbeing in our faith context where we aim for students to find meaning and purpose and to flourish in our complex world.”
She added that the college has “always been open to trying new things and taking risks.”