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How to choose your school? Ten questions to ask yourself:
1. What are the school's priorities?
At SBSC we endeavour to cater for all aspects of development, including social, emotional, physical, spiritual and cognitive needs. The building of resilience is an important goal in this. We are a values based environment guided by our Core Values: Community (different people doing different things for a common good); Caritas (Christian love and empathy); Learning; Responsibility; and Openness.
2. Is pastoral care and educational philosophy important?
The College takes great pride in its record of quality pastoral care. We operate a schoolwide positive behaviour support philosophy and we all strive to do our best, be safe and welcome diversity.
3. What facilities are available?
The Westcourt Centre has been designed to facilitate modern pedagogy that supports collaborative learning and all Year 7 core subjects are delivered in this modern facility. The Science Facilities were designed along similar principles and provide modern laboratories. Senior secondary students have been accommodated with a new study room, facilitating the needs of our students and promoting the educational importance of these final years. Modern facilities are provided in all other specialist areas such as Materials Design and Technology; Food Technology; Music; Dance and Drama. The Nazareth Centre houses first class Physical Education facilities. Tiered seating for 900 connects to the North-West Hairdressing Trade Training Centre.
4. How large are the classes?
Class sizes are kept to a minimum, especially in the senior secondary school. Here, some specialist classes run with less than 10 students. Class sizes in the junior school are quite small with many less than 25 students.
5. Is the school welcoming?
You'll know as soon as you walk in the door! The facilities and grounds are well maintained and inviting. You are able to visit the College and have a tour with one of our friendly staff.
6. What kind of extracurricular activities are on offer?
The College participates in a wide variety of school sporting, academic and cultural competitions, too many to list comprehensively. Students have opportunities to participate in activities where the focus is not on 'self' but on 'the other'. The Vinnies Group is a youth arm of the St Vincent de Paul Society. In addition, there are social action groups, led by prefects, that all students can join in. As a member the Sports Association of Tasmanian Independent Schools (SATIS) and its Northern branch (NSATIS), students compete against other non-Government Colleges in Athletics, Swimming, Basketball, Soccer, Hockey etc. In addition, students compete against other schools as part of the North-West Junior Football Union. Students compete with students from other Colleges in Debating, including the Parliamentary Shield. We regularly participate in the Model United Nations Assembly (MUNA) and students are encouraged to involve themselves in the Tasmanian Youth Parliament in Hobart. We have tasted success at all levels.
In addition to co-curricular language trips to Japan and French speaking countries, there is an annual trip to the interstate snow fields for seniors. We have had biannual cultural trips to the Northern Territory by our footballers, two trips to Asia for Netball, and have had students travel to India, Laos and Cambodia as part of World Challenge excursions.
7. How well does the school prepare students for future pathways?
The College has an excellent academic record. A high proportion of our seniors achieve an ATAR. The 2015 Mean ATAR was 80.1 and the Median was 82.5. This means that half of the students who achieved an ATAR were in the top 17.5 % of students in the Tasmanian cohort. We also have opportunities for students to undertake Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses. This is in partnership with TasTAFE locally as well as several online options.
Students in Year 11 and 12 have a wide variety of subjects to select a course of study from, with the added advantage of extremely small class size, and the benefit of teachers who know them well. Leadership structures are focussed on supporting students through all years, but especially the senior years.
Media often reports selectively on correlations between Tertiary success and Independent vs Government schooling. However, studies have also reported that low-fee, independent school students (like ours) have high retention at the end of second year university.
SBSC also offers seniors a 'school experience' with ample opportunities to show leadership and participate in a wide range of out-of-class experiences that build life skills, attitudes and behaviours that last a lifetime.
8. What structure provide additional learning advantages?
The College's mixed year level Homeroom groups means that students form bonds across year levels and are able to learn appropriate behaviours from older and more mature senior students in homeroom.
9. Given the prevalence of anxiety and other mental health wellbeing issues in modern society, what additional supports does the school offer?
The College employs two Social Workers who have established effective relationships with other health professionals and agencies to provide top quality support in this area. In addition, the Learning Support Team has a focus on students who struggle or who are talented and gifted. The department works closely with an educational psychologist to facilitate testing to identify learning needs if this is seen as necessary.
10. What underpins the school's decision making?
As a Catholic school, we enjoy the advantage of having an explicit values framework out of which we operate. Fundamentally, we are Catholic by nature as well - that is accepting of all faith beliefs. At its core, the College sees that each individual is 'good' (created in the image of God) and that behaviours are what people do, not what they are.