We’re Top School in NAPLAN too.
What does that actually mean when there is no such thing statistically?
It’s important to deal in facts when considering a school’s academic performance. Comparisons are important too and the conversation out in the public space needs to be based on facts not on perceptions from the dim past.
Schools grow and improve. St. Paul’s is a definite example of that.
Are we perfect? No.
Are we where we want to be? No but we are getting there quickly. The improving performance is testament to that.
There is an extraordinary commitment in the college to be the best we can be. One example comes to mind is the twenty or so staff who gave up their afternoon to be trained as a coach to voluntarily work with our young men in Year 10 to help them achieve their goals. There are many other examples of generosity that point to commitment.
When we start talking about points of difference the list on our side is long.
If you look at the public information on the MySchool website, and I would encourage you to do so, it tells an interesting story.
When you look at the gain from Year 7-9 a very positive story emerges that places us comparable to all single sex boys’ schools in this region of all fee levels. In fact in 10/12 similar schools tables St.Paul’s has the higher similar schools comparison. Fact.
Yet what is the public story?
One interesting fact: we have the highest writing gain of all of them from a lower starting base to a higher level of gain. Fact.
We have no intention in being dishonest with our community. We want our boys to be proud. We want our parents to be proud. Our young men are at a school that is performing well and is improving constantly.
It is very difficult to access the truth about a good Catholic school in the media as there is a resistance to telling such stories. Non-government education is suffering a distinct bias against it in the media. We know why the church is facing a tough time but it would be helpful if criticism of the church and schools could be separated by the media so parents can focus on the truth about schools, not what comes from a selective and biased media.
I am very aware that the ‘talk out there’ is critical for us. I’d just ask that it be based on fact. So what are we certain of, that is based on fact?
St. Paul’s is delivering very well for the boys who come here. If they stay Year 7-12 they grow academically, socially and spiritually and, as our HSC performance from 2017 indicated, if they go somewhere else they are less likely to achieve their potential than if they stayed at St. Paul’s.
We know that the percentage of students who achieve University entry has been rising and passed 70% which is a figure to be very proud of. The HSC results were indicative of a broad education bearing fruit for all our young men. We also know we have a good reputation among employers seeking trainees.
As a parent and educator it is a mystery to me why I would contemplate taking my son elsewhere to achieve less. Yet surprisingly this happens. Why do we allow a young person, still in the turbulent throes of adolescence to be the one who decides which school they go to yet this happens too.
Our young men leave here at the end of Year 12 as critical thinkers, problem solvers, competent communicators, creative, adaptable, curious lifelong learners who are going to make a difference in our world. We achieve our mission. They are exposed to their faith in the context of a school with an Edmund Rice tradition that emphasises placing others at our centre.
I’d ask you to please be open to facts not perception, reality not folklore. I would also encourage you to please challenge incorrect perceptions with the facts. We have a good story to tell that our young men and our community should be very proud of. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. The narrative needs to be different, it needs to be based on facts about all schools.