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SCHOOL ANNUAL REPORTING

Somerville House is an independent girls’ school located in Graham Street, South Brisbane, within easy walking distance to Southbank. The school is one of Australia’s leading academic schools, with 1200 students from Prep to Year 12. We have about 100 boarders drawn from various parts of Australia, Papua New Guinea, South Pacific countries and from many other countries throughout the world.

Curriculum

The approach adopted at Somerville House acknowledges the Christian belief that all people are made in the image of God. As a result, traditional Christian values such as respectfulness, honesty, and integrity are taught and encouraged within the School community.  

The School endeavours to provide a well-balanced education that is academically challenging, varied physically and recreationally, socially stimulating, and rich spiritually.  We seek to develop interpersonal skills through constructive interactions in everyday situations. An active, harmonious lifestyle is considered highly desirable for all students. 

We seek to cultivate and extend student abilities within a disciplined environment, but one in which imagination and creativity are valued and happiness and laughter are fostered. Each learner should be recognised as an individual, and encouraged to produce her best in all circumstances. In this context, pursuing excellence is acknowledged as a primary goal for all. Courses offered by Somerville House reflect its Christian ethos and high academic standards. 

Somerville House is structured into three schools, each with its own Head of School: Junior School (Prep – 6), Middle School (7-9), Senior School (10-12).

In the Junior and Middle Schools, courses of study are derived from the Queensland Studies Authority’s (QSA) Years 1-10 syllabuses in the eight key learning areas.  These comprise English; Mathematics; Science; Studies of Society and Environment; Languages Other Than English; Health and Physical Education; the Arts; and Technology.  Religious Education is the ninth key learning area for Somerville House students.

An outcomes approach is used from Preparatory to Year 9 to assist girls to become highly effective learners.  We endorse and encourage the QSA’s attributes of a highly effective learner throughout the entire years of Junior and Middle schooling.  They include:

  • a knowledgeable person with deep understanding
  • a complex thinker
  • a creative person
  • an active investigator
  • an effective communicator
  • a participant in an interdependent world
  • a reflective and self-directed learner

As a Christian school, we also add spiritual and moral dimensions.  Outcomes are written from Levels 1 to 6 and these are reached progressively.  In some Key Learning Areas, outcomes written Beyond Level 6 are achieved by Year 9 students.

The Senior School curriculum uses the Criteria and Standards approach adopted by the Queensland Studies Authority (QSA) in its Senior syllabuses.  The QSA  has been discussing the future of Year 10 in Queensland schools for a number of years. We have made a conscious decision to have Year 10 as the first stage of Senior studies.  This provides girls with a longer lead-in time for the rigours and nuances of the Senior curriculum, thus reducing the traditional gap in standards between Years 10 and 11.  Staff have developed our own Year 10 courses to achieve these goals. Our Year 10 curriculum provides students with the opportunity to study subjects not normally offered until Year 11. Economics and the Law, Business Education, Physics, Chemistry and Biology are all offered to Year 10 students.

In addition to the academic program, students are afforded many opportunities for enrichment and enhancement. One such program is our Enhanced Studies Program, involving the completion of a university subject while still at school. This additional study usually occurs in the first semester of Year 12 and, while the universities sponsor some studies, others involve a cost. As participating universities require students to be achieving at a high level academically in order for them to be considered for the program, students enrolled in Enhanced Studies usually study a subject that links to one at school at which they excel.

Current participating institutions are The University of Queensland, Griffith University, QUT, Monash and the University of Melbourne. Somerville House is a School Centre offering the University of Melbourne enhancement subject Mathematics.

Two important enrichment programs occur within Senior Chemistry. The first is the Wessex Research Project, an advanced, contextualised approach to Chemistry research.  The second is the CSIRO Student Research Scheme – a very challenging research program involving students liaising with a mentor from a university.  Both the student and the mentor work closely on a real Chemistry research project currently undertaken by the university.  Both programs pitch Chemistry at a higher level than is usually the case in schools and offer students significant challenges for their Year 12 science curriculum and provide thorough preparation for tertiary studies.

A further enrichment opportunity for Year 12 Science students is offered through our links with the Mater Medical Research Institute. Students from Somerville House have the opportunity to work with leading scientists in current research programs.

Other enrichment programs in Science include the Physics and Biological Science Olympiads, the Chemistry Quiz and preparation for various national Science competitions.

Students in Mathematics are challenged by a variety of enrichment activities and competitions. This is accommodated by some ability setting in Middle School and Junior School Mathematics. Students are involved in the following competitions:

  • The Australian Mathematics Competition (Westpac)
  • The Australian Mathematics Challenge and Enrichment leading to the Mathematics Olympiad
  • The Australasian Schools’ Mathematics Assessment
  • Australian Schools English Competition
  • Australian Schools Science Competition
  • Australian Schools Computer Competition
  • Queensland Association of Mathematics Teachers’ Problem Solving Competition
  • Year 8 Rio Tinto Mathematics Problem Solving Competition
  • The QUT Engineering and Environment Mathematics Enrichment Day
  • The University of Queensland Mathematics and Physics Enrichment Day
  • Dreamworld and Seaworld Mathematics and Physics Enhancement Studies Days
  • The World of Mathematics Enrichment “Fun Day”
  • Natural Mathematics Competition
  • Australian Primary Schools Mathematics Olympiads
  • Mathematics Team Challenges

Learning support teachers provide for the literacy, numeracy and ESL (English as a Second Language) needs of identified students in the Junior and Middle schools. Programs are determined and reviewed by the Special Needs Committee chaired by the Dean of Students.

Co-Curricular Activities

Somerville House offers a broad range of co-curricular activities, including Music, Sport, Chess, Debating, Public Speaking and other Activities and Community Service.

Music

Somerville House offers an extensive Music Program, catering for a wide range of individual interests and skill levels.  The School has a comprehensive co-curricular ensemble program including: Somerville Strings (membership by audition), Amadeus Strings (membership by audition), Stradivari Strings, Senior Concert Band, Intermediate Concert Band, Stage Band (membership by audition), Somerville Orchestra, Clarinet Choir, Guitar Ensemble, Wind Quintet, Flute Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Cantrice Choir (membership by audition), Camerata Choir (membership by audition), Cantamus (membership by audition for Middle School students), Cantilena Choir, Junior and Training Strings, Junior Choir and Junior Concert Band.

Every year, students in the Senior School participate in the Choral Festival in Term 1. Every year, Middle School students participate in the Arts Festival. Junior School students participate in an annual Grand Concert. The School stages a musical every two years in conjunction with Anglican Church Grammar School.

Sport

In the Junior School (and Year 7), students are able to participate in competitive sport through our affiliations with the Andrews Cup Sports’ Association and the State Primary Schools’ Sport Association. The sporting activities available to Junior School students include: swimming, tennis, cross country, track and field athletics, netball, softball and teeball and artistic gymnastics. In addition, students have access to private tennis lessons. They are also able to join the River City Swimming Club and a Gymnastics Club  which operate from the School’s Aquatic Centre.

In the Middle (Years 8 and 9) and Senior Schools, students are able to participate in competitive sport through our affiliations with Queensland Girls' Secondary Schools Sports Association (QGSSSA), Brisbane Schoolgirls' Rowing Association (BSRA), Brisbane Schoolgirls' Cricket Association, and Queensland State Secondary Schools' Sports Association. 

Sports offered include: badminton, basketball, cricket, cross country, equestrian club, fencing, artistic gymnastics, hockey, netball, rowing, soccer, softball, swimming, touch football, track and field athletics, and volleyball.

Other Activities

Students are able to participate in a wide range of other co-curricular activities including: Amnesty International, Chess, Community Aid, Debating, Drama, Duke of Edinburgh Award, Interact, Opti-minds, Somercircle (our Christian discussion group), SUPA and Unifem.

Our camping program involves all students in Year 2, 4 and 6 and Years 7-11.

Somerville House supports student exchanges to a range of overseas countries with programs co-ordinated by the Dean of Students. Year 9 boarders travel to New Zealand; Year 10 students participate in language development in Japan and France; Year 11 students spend time in Germany and Japan. Additionally, students from our sister schools in turn spend time at Somerville House.

Pastoral Care

Faith Education

As a member of the historic Presbyterian and Methodist Schools Association, and with direct links to the Presbyterian and Uniting Churches, Somerville House deeply values its Christian heritage as it seeks to encourage its staff and students in their own spiritual formation.

The School’s stated aims and objectives include the following under the heading ‘Spiritual Purpose’:

  1. providing for the teaching of Christian beliefs and practices, based on Scripture and Christian tradition
  2. offering opportunities for worship and Christian fellowship
  3. approaching teaching from a Christian perspective
  4. providing an understanding of other faiths
  5. encouraging the whole School community to act as a community of care
  6. encouraging moral responsibility
  7. encouraging personal service to the wider community.

In addition to the opportunity for personal discussion and counselling from the Chaplains or Counselling Staff, the School provides the following opportunities for faith development: devotional segments in School assemblies, chapel services for all students, family chapel services, weekly boarder chapel services, Christian fellowship groups, Religious Education classes for all students, prayer groups, days of prayer, community service opportunities and weddings and funerals for past students and their families.

Counselling

The Counselling Department, staffed by the Dean of Students and the Student Counsellor, serves all Prep to Year 12 students, their families and staff.

The Service provides

  • Short-term counselling to students - personal, academic and career
  • Assessment of social and psychological wellbeing of individual students
  • Consultation and support to families and local carers
  • Consultation with teaching staff
  • Referral to and liaison with support agencies and other professionals
  • Support and input to pastoral care programs

Pastoral Care involves the care of individual students and the provision of programs designed to meet their developmental needs.

The Heads of School, Dean of Students and the Heads of Year meet regularly to discuss Pastoral Care matters, and to develop strategic plans to ensure the needs of students are being met.

Programs are delivered during weekly timetabled Year Level sessions except in the early primary years where exposure to appropriate social skills is incidental.

In the Junior School from Year 4 programs include ‘Stop, Think, Do’ which deals with anger management and ‘You Can Do It Too’ which aims to prepare students for Middle School by introducing topics such as time-management and respect for others, especially new students.

During Middle Schooling all Year 7 students participate in Chess, an activity which aims to develop strategies in decision-making and accompanying consequences. By Year 8 students are usually ready to benefit from a program of Study Skills. ‘The Real Game’, a professionally produced program, assists Year 9 students to develop an understanding of future possibilities related to study, career and life.

Students in Year 10 are addressed by sporting notables and community leaders on issues which have an impact on their lives or the lives of their friends in one program entitled ‘Queenslanders in the Community’. Their emotional well-being and basic information related to the development of resilience in the mental health domain is addressed. With senior studies approaching, time is allocated to subject selection for Years 11 and 12.

In Years 7 and 8, the FRIENDS program provides a framework for developing positive self-esteem and emotional resilience. During Year 9 at Somerville House students participate in leadership and career guidance programs. The  focus in Year 10 is on preparation for senior studies and subject selection. The program delivered at Grade 10 is designed to ensure that students make appropriate choices for senior study.

Improved Reading Courses, discussions on nutrition, legal issues relating to the age group, and women’s health are some of the topics for Year 11.  Year 12 students are given the opportunity to explore possibilities for tertiary study and future options. Visiting speakers from universities and other institutions present during the year.

The Year 12 students have one group session per week with the Student Counsellor. Speakers at this session include representatives from local and interstate universities as well as representatives from organisations like the Australian Tax Office and the RACQ.

Year 12 students may make individual appointments to discuss tertiary options. A feature of the dissemination of career information at Somerville House is the maintenance of a comprehensive database of Year 12 email contacts. Information related to tertiary entry is emailed to Year 12s on a regular basis.

The School Counsellor also maintains a web page which is available to students on the intranet.

Parental Involvement

The School has active sub-school Support Groups within the Parents and Friends' (P & F) Association which are very successful in assisting and supporting the School in many ways. Assistance includes raising money to provide and improve amenities and resources for the School, and helping Support Groups to meet the needs of the girls' activities.

The Association also fosters fellowship between parents, friends, teachers and students, and provides an avenue for parents to learn more about educational and other activities of the School while meeting in a social environment.

The Management Committee, elected at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in June each year, manages the affairs of the Association throughout the year.

Parents also have the opportunity to be involved in the life of the School through membership of the Foundation and various Support Groups that operate to foster the life of the School.

Professional Development

All staff members have opportunities to engage in professional development.

During the 2006 academic year, the School expended an amount of $27,621 on professional development for teaching staff. This amount was spread across professional development for 80 teachers (96.8% of the teaching staff).

Professional development is a vital part of the life of Somerville House. The figures quoted above are for the cost of course fees and provide only limited information about our professional development program. In addition to paying the registration fees for staff members to attend seminars and conferences, the School also funds release time for staff to attend such seminars. We also conduct in-house professional development, with teachers sharing knowledge and expertise through seminars or one-on-one sessions with colleagues. The in-house professional development is a very successful strategy for professional learning and is an area we are seeking to develop in the future. Somerville House prides itself on providing high quality professional development for staff.

Student Results

RESULTS FROM STATEWIDE TESTING (2006)

 

YEAR 7

Aspects of Literacy and Numeracy

Shown as percentages

State
Average

School
Average

Highest 25%
in State

Middle 50%
in State

Lowest 25%
in State

Number

45

52

3

665

720

Space

62

31

7

670

707

Measurement and Data

51

38

11

668

714

Reading and Viewing

65

34

1

689

750

Spelling

51

48

1

687

751

Writing

56

43

1

746

827

Percentage of Year 7 students at Somerville House above National Benchmark:

Reading

  99%

Writing

100%

Numeracy

  96%

 

YEAR 5

Aspects of Literacy and Numeracy

Shown as percentages

State
Average

School
Average

Highest 25%
in State

Middle 50%
in State

Lowest 25%
in State

Number

70

24

6

610

703

Space

78

18

4

612

677

Measurement and Data

64

32

4

612

692

Reading and Viewing

68

30

2

614

680

Spelling

84

12

4

599

720

Writing

76

22

2

606

686

Percentage of Year 5 students at Somerville House above National Benchmark:

Reading

98%

Writing

98%

Numeracy

98%

 

YEAR 3

Aspects of Literacy and Numeracy

Shown as percentages

State
Average

School
Average

Highest 25%
in State

Middle 50%
in State

Lowest 25%
in State

Number

50

50

0

540

595

Space

44

46

10

543

587

Measurement and Data

56

44

0

544

597

Reading and Viewing

54

42

4

548

596

Spelling

56

40

4

544

599

Writing

74

26

0

509

590

Percentage of Year 3 students at Somerville House above National Benchmark:

Reading

100%

Writing

100%

Numeracy

100%

 

Year 12 Performance Reporting (2006)

 Breadth of Curriculum (number of subject-area categories offered) 

       9

 Number of Certificates of Post-Compulsory School Education awarded

       0

 OP-eligible and no VET qualification    

 130

 OP-eligible and one or more VET qualifications

      27

 OP-ineligible and no VET qualification

        0

 OP-ineligible and one or more VET qualifications 

        0

 Total Senior Certificates awarded

     157

 Number of students completing one or more VET competencies 

       50

 Number of VET qualifications awarded 

 27

 Number of students completing or continuing a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship

 4

 Percentage of OP-eligible students with an OP1-15

 86

 Percentage of students with a Senior Certificate and with one or more VET qualifications 

 17

 Percentage of students with a Senior Certificate who are eligible for an OP
and/or have VET qualifications

 100

 Percentage of QTAC applicants receiving an offer

 99



Retention Rates

Year

Year 8 Enrolment

Year

Year 12 Enrolment

Year 8-12 apparent retention rate

1999

144

2003

156

108.3

2000

141

2004

161

114.2

2001

138

2005

161

116.7

 

NEXT STEP: Year 12 2005 Student Destinations

Introduction

This report is based on the findings of the Queensland Government Next Step destination survey, which targeted all students who completed Year 12 and gained a Senior Certificate or Certificate of Post-Compulsory School Education in 2005, whether they attended a Government, Catholic or independent school, or a TAFE secondary college. The Office of the Government Statistician conducted the survey between 27 March and 8 May 2006, approximately six months after the young people left school. Responses were predominantly collected via computer-aided telephone interview with a paper-based survey collected from a small number of students for whom telephone details were not available. The survey results were analysed and reported on by the Centre for Post-compulsory Education and Lifelong Learning at the University of Melbourne. The statewide and regional reports of the Next Step survey can be located at the Next Step website at www.education.qld.gov.au/nextstep

Response rate for Somerville House

Table 1 below reports the response rate for Somerville House. It expresses the number of respondents from this school, as a percentage of all Year 12 completers attending Somerville House in 2005.

Table 1 : Survey response rate

Number of
respondents

Number of students
who completed Year 12

Response rate
(%)

132

161

82.0

Definitions of main destinations

The pathways of Year 12 completers were categorised into ten main destinations. Respondents who were both studying and working were reported as studying for their main destination.

Table 2 : Main Destination Categorisations, Next Step 2006

Higher Education

University (degree)*

Respondents studying at degree level.

VET categories

VET Cert IV+*

Respondents studying Certificate IV, Diploma or Advanced Diploma (excluding apprentices and trainees).

VET Cert III*

Respondents studying Certificate III (excluding apprentices and trainees).

VET Cert I-II/other*

Respondents studying Certificate I or II (excluding apprentices and trainees).  This category also includes respondents in an “unspecified” VET certificate, or in other basic courses (e.g. Year 12, bridging course,etc.) and with an unknown course level.

Apprentice

Working and in employment-based apprenticeship.

Trainee

Working and in employment-based traineeship.

No further education and training

Working full-time~

Working full-time (35 hours or more per week) and not in a study or training destination.  This includes people with part-time or casual jobs that total 35 hours or more.

Working part-time~

Working part-time or casual (fewer than 35 hours per week) and not in a study or training destination.

Seeking work

Looking for work and not in a study or training destination

Not studying and not in the labour force

Not in study or training, not working and not looking for work.


Summary of findings

In 2006, 90.2 per cent of young people who completed their Year 12 at Somerville House in 2005 continued in some recognised form of education and training in the year after they left school.

The most common study destination was university (78.8 per cent). The combined VET study destinations accounted for 11.4per cent of respondents, all of whom were in campus-based VET programs, with 8.3 per cent of Year 12 completers entering programs at Certificate IV level or higher. In addition to the above study destinations, a further 5.3 per cent of respondents from this school deferred a tertiary offer in 2006 (deferrers are shown in Figure 1 in their actual current destination). 9.8 per cent did not enter post-school education or training, and were either employed (6.1 per cent), seeking work (2.3 per cent) or neither studying nor in the labour force (1.5 per cent).

Main destinations of Year 12 completers at Somerville House

University (degree)   :    78.80 %
VET Cert IV+               :      8.30 %
VET Cert III                :        .80 %
VET Cert I-II/other    :      2.30 %
Not studying/NILF     :       1.50 %
Seeking work             :       2.20 %
Working PT                 :       2.30 %
Working FT                 :       3.80 %