Brisbane Girls Grammar School Year 12 students Emily Yu, Jessica McLeod, Martina Marrama, Karen Sundar and Claire Fidler. Pics Tara Croser.
Brisbane Girls Grammar School Year 12 students Emily Yu, Jessica McLeod, Martina Marrama, Karen Sundar and Claire Fidler. Pics Tara Croser.

Public versus Private: Which performed better?

DEBATE over private versus public education has long raged, but the latest Queensland's OP results prove success can be found at both.

More than a third of Queensland secondary students attend private schools, with parents forking out as much as $25,000 per year in tuition fees.

New data from the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority Year 12 Outcomes report revealed how students at each school landed in the top OP1-5 bracket.

And although private schools were heavily featured, a large number of Queensland's state schools and colleges also boasted high-performing students landing top OP rankings - among them Southport State High School, The Gap State High School and Toogoolawah State High School.

 

At Brisbane State High School, 217 students achieved an OP1-5 in 2018 - the highest of any school in the state, and half of its entire senior cohort.

Executive principal Wade Haynes told The Courier-Mail the school was very proud of all their students, who had worked hard over time to improve their learning.

"The biggest factors in student success, regardless of their school, are what students do themselves and the teachers who help them maximise their learning," Mr Haynes said.

"There are a number of ingredients to our students' success; they work hard, deeply understand the process of learning, have balance in their activities and are very well supported by expert teachers." Queensland Teachers' Union president Kevin Bates said that educators in the public sphere taught students from a diverse range of backgrounds, and that OP rankings were just one of many pathways on offer.

 

Year 12 students Sean Ryan, Lydian Alo-Emile, Hannah Whybird and Cameron Gordon at Brisbane State High School, which had the best OP results for a state school in 2018. Pics Tara Croser.
Year 12 students Sean Ryan, Lydian Alo-Emile, Hannah Whybird and Cameron Gordon at Brisbane State High School, which had the best OP results for a state school in 2018. Pics Tara Croser.

 

"There are students with really good outcomes across Queensland, and often these students have achieved these despite the disadvantages they have, or their location or community," he said.

"State schools to a large ­extent, apart from the few who have unique enrolment processes, are open to ­everybody within their local communities.

"All students are given the opportunity to thrive in that context and we see some amazing things, including those achieving well beyond what many would consider expectations."

Last year's OP results revealed why some parents chose to invest heavily financially into private education, often forgoing holidays and even sacrificing owning their own homes, with private schools overall dominating the top of the academic charts.

Of the Top 20 Queensland secondary schools, ranked on percentage of students achieving an OP1-5, 15 were private schools.

The state's top five performing private schools - Brisbane Grammar School, Brisbane Girls Grammar School, St Joseph's College Gregory Terrace, All Hallows' School and Anglican Church Grammar (Churchie) - all had more than 43 per cent of their Year 12 students finish in the top OP1-5 bracket.

Brisbane Girls Grammar School (BGGS) was the second-best performer in the state for OP results in 2018, with more than half of their Year 12 cohort achieving an OP1-5. Despite its consistent high academic performance BGGS - a non-denominational private school - is academically non-selective and offers no scholarships.

Instead, the competitive places for Year 7 were offered in strict date order.

It is something principal Jacinda Euler said was reflective of the school's founding vision, set in 1875 "to provide access to education for girls of a standard equal to their brothers".

"Today, this non-selective approach helps to ensure strong diversity across our student body," Ms Euler said.

"Excellent teaching, a rigorous curriculum and experiential learning combine to strengthen our students' existing talent and abilities, but also promote exploration of new areas of interest and an integrated sense of self."

BGGS was also one of just a handful of schools in Queensland to have their entire Year 12 student cohort receive an OP score in 2018.

"Compulsory participation in a balanced curriculum and the development of higher-order thinking skills helps to ensure students have the ­widest possible options beyond secondary schooling, regardless of whatever OP they may receive," Ms Euler said.

Independent Schools Queensland executive director David Robertson said independent schools welcomed a diverse range of students with a wide range of aspirations.

"Historically,independent schools have very high academic outcomes for those students who want to go down that pathway, and we should be congratulating and celebrating their schools, "he said.

"But there is no one way or one measure which says 'this is the best school'. There's a whole range of factors, especially about it being the right fit for the child. That's partly what our sector is about."



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