Year 12 students at Western Australia’s only academically selective public school have taken out the state’s top scholastic achievement for the fourth year running.
Perth Modern ranked number one on the list for schools with the highest Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) score, with a median score of 97 achieved by 236 students.
It was one of two public schools to make the top 10, with 15 making the top 50, which was heavily dominated by private schools.
Rossmoyne Senior High School was the other top 10 public school.
The School Curriculum and Standards Authority data released on Saturday revealed Carmel School ranked second, with three all-girl schools rounding off the top five.
St Mary's Anglican Girls' School was third followed by Methodist Ladies College and St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls.
There were 16 schools that achieved a perfect score card when it came to the number of Year 12 students who achieved a WACE or graduated.
Of those, four were public schools and a regional college including Denmark Senior High School, Exmouth District High School, Melville Senior High School and Western Australian College of Agriculture.
Despite making the top 50 list for the second consecutive year, Greenwood College principal Ian Johnston said the focus shouldn’t be on the rankings, rather on student’s individual successes, whatever they may be.
“Unfortunately we focus too much on those rankings,” he said.
“These rankings are not necessarily a good thing, what we should be focusing on is the kids’ achievements, irrespective of the school.”
In saying that, Mr Johnston noted the remarkable achievement of one of his students, Israa Hameed who despite the threat of being sent back to a war-torn country received an ATAR of 99.9.
“Her father’s visa he was on while doing an engineering degree at ECU was due to expire about August and it wasn’t going to be extended which meant she was going to be sent back to Iraq in a town destroyed by Isis,” he said.
“It was very dramatic.”
Mr Johnston said it was a community effort to have Israa stay and sit her exams, with “outstanding” results.
Israa has been accepted into Monash University where she plans to study medicine, with the aspiration to work with asylum seekers once completing her degree.
“Israa is a very honourable young lady and is committed to the needs of others,” Mr Johnston said.
“It’s wonderful when you’ve got students that you work with like her.”
Having come from Iraq, Israa was enrolled in the Intensive Education Centre (IEC) at Greenwood College where she learnt English in 2015 before moving to the mainstream school.
Being at the helm of the multicultural and international school, Mr Johnston said Israa wasn’t an exception, with many of their students coming from unbelievable odds to achieve great success.
“Irrespective of a student’s background, we find out where their needs are and where they need the greatest input to assist them to achieve the goals they are setting,” he said.
“We encourage students to be aspirational and have a go [at getting an ATAR] and give them the support to have that chance but if they’re not successful, we help them find other pathways to have success in whatever area they choose.”
In light if the rankings released today, Mr Johnston said schools needed to be careful about the intensity of pressure it puts on students to do an ATAR course because it wasn’t the be-all and end-all.