Schools in COVID-19 hotspots triumph in ‘really tough’ year

Schools in COVID-19 hotspots triumph in ‘really tough’ year

December 30, 2020

Schools in Melbourne's COVID-19 hotspots that were hit with multiple and extended lockdowns this year have triumphed on VCE results day, with some bettering their 2019 results.

Keilor Downs College was forced to shut down on three separate occasions during Melbourne's second wave, losing 15 days of classes, but lifted its median study score from 29 to 30.

Mount Alexander College principal Dani Angelico with year 12 students returning to class at the end of Melbourne’s first wave of COVID-19.Credit:Jason South

Thirty is the recognised marker of an academically solid school.

Flemington's Mount Alexander College – which has about a dozen year 12 students who live in public housing towers that were forced into hard lockdown – achieved its best VCE results in several years, leaping from a median study score of 27 last year to 31.

Every student at the school who lives in the Flemington towers successfully completed their VCE or their VCAL, principal Dani Angelico said.

"They all passed, they all got through," Ms Angelico said.

"We had about 12 year 12s in hard lockdown. We were still able to help them.

"I mean, thank god for Zoom. Teachers were just going that extra mile, even after the hard lockdown ended, they were in daily contact."

The small government school's average ATAR has soared from about 51 in 2019 to 72, Ms Angelico said.

"It's a really wonderful way to end the year, as we know it's been really tough for year 12s," she said.

Sydenham CRC principal Brendan Watson with year 12 students Chloe Jenson, Sirin Mirham, Alicia Azzopardi and Lucas Blackman in May. Credit:Chris Hopkins

It also had to deal with a COVID-19 scare in term four, during which many members of the school were sent into quarantine as secondary contacts.

Principal Brendan Watson said he was relieved the year was over and that many students had done well, including a college dux with an ATAR of 97.25.

Eight per cent of the college's students got an ATAR of 90 or higher, Mr Watson said.

"We're extremely happy," he said. "Staff at school worked really hard in ensuring the students had opportunities through online learning, and all credit needs to go to the students for maintaining contact with their teachers; it was a year like no other."

The college has staff on-site today to help students who need to alter their university preferences and who did not get the results they were hoping for.

Mr Watson said it was important for students to remember their ATAR did not define them.

"Life can throw up a whole lot of things, but don't worry about the score, there are more pathways and every young person can find their way with support," Mr Watson said.

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