Our Schools  > Western  > Columba College, Charters Towers

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Flinders Highway



(07) 4787 1744


(07) 4787 4986





All correspondence to:

PO Box 274



Mrs Althea Norton


Prep - 12

Total Enrolments:


Student Population:

Co-educational - Residential and Day Students




Operating from two campuses (St Mary's and Mt Carmel) the College was established in 1998 following the amalgamation of the three existing Catholic Schools in Charters Towers. Classes are co-educational from Prep to Year 12. The residential sections operate from the two campuses offering single sex facilities and care - St Mary's campus for girls and Mt Carmel Campus for boys.


Distinctive Curriculum Offerings

  • Comprehensive academic and vocational offerings

  • Strong focus on Early Childhood Education particularly in literacy and numeracy

  • Distinctive middle school initiatives in literacy and numeracy

  • Learner Support

  • Veterinary Facility

Extra Curricular Activities



Cattle Club

Christian Living Camps



Theatre Restaurant

Public Speaking



One Act Plays Star Program Cadets


Staff Development Priorities for the Year

  • Student Welfare

  • Behaviour Management

  • Outcomes based P-10 Profiling and Reporting

Social Climate

  • Year Level Coordinators in each year level

  • College divided according to campus P-6, Middle/Senior

  • Student Welfare Committee

  • Chaplain

  • Student Support Officers

  • Counselling Service

Strategies used for involving parents in their child's education

  • Regular P&F, Finance and Board Meetings

  • Parent volunteers in classrooms

  • Parent involvement in College activities

  • Debutante Ball, Cattle Club functions and carnival

  • Parent/Teacher meetings each term and on request



This year our College was recognised as one of the outstanding schools in the State with 89% of the 2006 Year 12 class obtaining an OP in the 1 to 15 range.  Whilst being acknowledged on the front page of the Courier Mail and other media outlets for being in the top five of the State is great news, these scores are not the only gauge of brilliance in students or schools.  The full table of data is published below.

As Principal I am delighted with these results, as are our staff and I’m sure our parents.  We are equally proud of the full range of curriculum offered at Columba; as Column 4 indicates the College offers the maximum range of subject area categories.  Eight of our 2006 cohort also succeeded in successfully undertaking School Based Apprenticeships, though for some reason this was not recorded in Column 13.  While I am certain academic outcomes such as OPs are a significant aspect of the choices parents make when enrolling their children at a particular school, they also look at the spirit and ethos of the school which are very difficult to put a figure on.  Parents also make decisions based on the breadth of the subject range, the extra curricular activities offered to ensure all students enjoy school in a whole range of endeavours, most importantly becoming the best individual persons they can be. 

The success of our College cannot be measured only by the achievements of our high performing students.  It is measured by the great Christian citizens it inspires to realise their abilities and to move forward with courage and determination to explore their full potential.  Columba certainly does this very well – we are proud of the excellent choices our students make each and every day.  These include the choice to be involved in the full life of the College, to study hard, remain focused, use their God given talents to achieve high standards and use those talents for the good of others. 

On the last day of Term 1 the College was also pleased to be awarded full compliance with all 12 standards in the Australian Qualification Training Framework (AQTF).  The QSA Officer conducting the audit of our records and facilities stated that only 30% of registered providers are fully compliant on the day of the audit.  She stated in her report that “The VET Co-ordinator and school staff are commended on excellent organisation and high quality audit materials”.

Each year is different in the make up of the student group – the Senior Class of 2006 was certainly a group of which we were very proud.  Many of the group actually started their education at the school as Year 1 students and proceeded right through until the conclusion of their Year 12 year.


 Reading The Table

The data in the table is arranged in 17 columns.

 1.       School - Lists school names. Secondary colleges and TAFE colleges offering Year 11 and 12 are included in this table.

2.       Locality - Indicates the city, town or suburb where the school is located.

3.       Gender - Indicates if the school is co-educational (C) or enrols only male (M) or female (F) students.

4.       Breadth of curriculum - Shows the number of subject area categories offered by a school, grouped under the following category headlines: 1. Agriculture (includes equestrian studies), 2. Business education, 3. Computer education, 4. English, 5. Health and physical education, 6. Home economics, 7. Industrial technology, 8. Languages other than English, 9. Mathematics (includes mathematics/computing), 10. Religious and ethical studies, 11. Science (includes marine studies), 12. Social sciences (includes legal studies), 13. The arts (includes art and performing arts), 14. Tourism and hospitality.  The largest number possible in this column is 14.

5.       Number of Certificates of Post-Compulsory School Education (CPCSE) - Students with an impairment or learning disability who have completed at least 12 years of schooling are eligible to receive a CPCSE.  Students may receive a senior certificate and a CPCSE.

Columns 6-10.  Columns 6 to 9 show four stand-alone categories of students awarded senior certificates.  Student outcomes are grouped according to whether the students were OP-eligible or OP-ineligible, and whether the students completed VET studies.  Column 10 is the total of columns 6 to 9.  OP’s place students in one of 25 bands, with 1 being the highest and 25 the lowest.  An OP (overall position) indicates a student’s position in a statewide rank order based on overall achievement in authority subjects, and is used in the selection of students  for tertiary education courses.  To be OP-eligible, a student must study 20 semester units of credit in authority subjects with at least three subjects taken for four semesters.  Students must also complete Year 12 and sit for the Queensland Core Skills Test.

6.         OP-eligible with no VET qualifications - Shows the number of OP-eligible students who did not gain any vocational education and   training (VET) qualifications.  Numbers in this column may include students who have completed VET competencies.  VET qualifications are achieved when a student completes the required units of competency.  VET units of competency are the building blocks of vocational study.

7.         OP-eligible with VET qualifications - Shows the number of OP-eligible students who completed one or more VET qualifications. School-based apprentices who have completed the maximum proportion of their apprenticeship allowed at school, and who were also OP-eligible, are reported in this column.

8.         OP-ineligible with no VET qualifications - Shows the number of students who were not eligible for an OP and did not gain a VET qualification.  Numbers in this column may include students who have successfully completed VET in school competencies but not in sufficient quantities or in a sequence to achieve a VET qualification.

9.         OP-ineligible with one or more VET qualifications - Shows the number of students who were not eligible for an OP, but have completed sufficient VET competencies to be awarded one ore more VET qualifications.  School-based apprentices who have completed the maximum proportion of their apprenticeship allowed at school and who were not eligible for an OP are reported in this column.

10.        Total senior certificates awarded - This total is the sum of the numbers in columns 6 to 9.  It shows the total number of senior certificates awarded at the school.

11.        Number of students completing VET competencies - Shows the number of students completing at least one VET module of unit of competency.

12.        Number of VET qualifications awarded - Shows the number of VET qualifications awarded.  Some students may receive more than one VET qualification.  Numbers in this column could therefore exceed the number of students at the school who undertook VET studies.

13.        Number of students completing or continuing a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship (SAT) - Shows the number of students who completed an SAT or who are choosing to complete it at TAFE after finishing school.  SATs allow students to work with an employer and train towards achieving nationally recognised VET qualifications while completing their senior studies.

14.        Percentage of OP-eligible students with OP 1 to 15 - Shows the percentage of students at each school who receive an OP between 1 and 15.  Around 80 per cent of all OP-eligible students in the OP1 to 15 range are offered a tertiary place through the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre.

15.        Percentage of students with senior certificates with one or more VET qualifications - Shows the percentage of the total number of students per school who received a senior certificate and also achieved one or more VET qualifications.

16.        Percentage of students with senior certificates with OP-eligibility or with one ore more VET qualifications - Shows the percentage of the total number of students gaining a senior certificate per school who received an OP and/or at least one VET qualification.

17.        Percentage of students receiving a tertiary offer - Shows the percentage of students applying for a tertiary place through the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre who received an offer of a tertiary place through QTAC.  The percentage of students entering VET courses is understated because QTAC data on VET includes only full-time students entering a VET diploma.  The data does not include part-time diplomas and certificates and apprenticeships and traineeships.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Columba Catholic College Charters Towers C 14 0 17 10 35 0 62 32 10 0 89 16 44 95

Distance travelled

Years 3, 5 and 7 Test results are used to inform the learning programs and to provide the focus for additional learner support.  Retention rates are constant within the range of 75-100% of students moving through the College to Year 12.  Vocational courses have been extended to cater for more diverse needs with school based apprenticeships an attractive option to enter trades after school.  Course offerings at upper secondary level are extensive in range with 35 subjects on offer.

Where are we going

The ongoing Renewal Plan (2006-2010) outlines the focus for the future in the following dimensions:  religious and spiritual, educational, strategic and human.  The goals outlined in this plan are underpinned by the College Mission Statement, Development Plan and Strategic Directions for Catholic Education in the Diocese of Townsville.

To date, the College has expanded its computer labs on both Campuses, an annual Scientist in Residence Program has been initiated, Middle School literacy and numeracy strategies have been further streamlined and a Learner Support Coordinator appointed to enhance cohesion in this area across the range of abilities needing enrichment.

A Veterinary teaching and operations facility has been established with large modern animal handling and teaching facilities designed to deliver a whole range of teaching opportunities in the fields of grazing, animal husbandry and veterinary procedures.  The College will place high priority on developing the practical and theoretical skill base of the group of pupils interested in preparation for obtaining careers in agriculture.  Their preference may be on the land or study at university in courses such as veterinary science, agricultural science, rural technology and rural management.  It is the intention of the College to form close working relationships with other local and regional educational institutions, including James Cook University.  The College plans to have its students involved in a practical way with the community’s local veterinarians.

The College mission statement and development plan for the College underpin these focus areas.


Proportion of 2006 Students ABOVE National Benchmark for Year 3, 5 and 7


Numeracy Year 3 Year 5 Year 7
Numeracy 83% 83% 86%
Reading & Viewing 100% 94% 85%
Writing 100% 94% 94%


Retention Rate (% of students who start in Year 8 that stay to Year 12): 75-100%


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