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Academic Outcomes

About Clarendon

We believe in the potential of every student to learn and make progress, provided they receive the appropriate instruction.  Two widely accepted external measures, NAPLAN and VCE, reflect the ongoing progress that has been made.

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The Class of 2017 have achieved results that reflect the commitment of the team involved in their care. Congratulations to the students, their families and our staff.

The academic outcomes of Ballarat Clarendon College students over the last two decades reflect our attitude to scholarship. Excellence in sport, music, drama, dance, public speaking, debating, outdoor education, chess and other co-curricular opportunities do not deflect from the main game of schooling – learning.

A piece written by our Head of Research and Mathematics, Greg Ashman, in 2016 is as relevant now as it was then.

At Ballarat Clarendon College, our focus on enabling students to achieve their ‘heart’s desire’ means that we are constantly striving to be the best in all we do. To this end, we pay attention to what the highest quality research tells us about effective teaching and learning. We are not buffeted around by the latest fads and fashions that emerge in the education sector. Instead, we take a keen and critical view of the best evidence available.

This has led to our adoption of a rigorous yet highly enjoyable approach to teaching essential phonics knowledge to young children. It has led to a focus on the curriculum, ensuring that it equips our students with the key knowledge and understandings that unlock further learning. Our use of evidence has led us to seek consistency between classes so that we better know which strategies are effective and which are not. 

Not every school is following our path. There are those who would argue that we need to use more ‘inquiry-based learning’ in order to better engage children in science and mathematics. Inquiry – asking big questions and investigating the answers – is certainly a key component of what we do, but we are aware of the research evidence. We know that in the latest round of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests, students who were exposed to more inquiry-based learning scored worse in science. We have a clear understanding of why this is the case – students do not have all the knowledge at their fingertips that experts possess and so they need to be explicitly instructed by a knowledgeable teacher before they can start to frame and answer powerful questions on their own. 

It is knowledge of this research that has also led to us deciding to have subject experts in our Junior School who offer a wealth of specialist knowledge with which to stimulate deep learning. A teacher with expertise in science can explain a scientific concept in many different ways until a student understands. A teacher with deep subject knowledge can reach for interesting analogies and examples that enliven the teaching and make the learning stick. 

At Ballarat Clarendon College, we understand that the way that many schools think about motivation is flawed. This flawed view supposes that subject matter must be dressed-up to make it entertaining and relevant, that this will motivate students who will then learn because of their increased motivation. We are clear that this view is the wrong way around. The subjects taught in school are the fruits of our civilisation; ideas that have stood the test of time. These are interesting in their own right. A good teacher with subject expertise can communicate their own passion for the subject. 

Instead, motivation comes largely from achieving something; from understanding the world in a new way; from feelings of increased mastery. So we focus on that – we focus on the best, most effective ways of enabling students to understand and write about fascinating events and complex concepts so that they become alive to the world and are hungry to learn more. By exposing our students to a rich variety of powerful ideas, we not only better equip them to choose their heart’s desire, but we enable them to develop passions about areas of life and work that they may otherwise have never known existed.

The highlights of the 2017 results are:

  • 56 of our students achieved ATARs above 90 – this represented 44% of our cohort;
  • 34% of all study scores were 40 or over;
  • 32 students (25% of our cohort) achieved ATARs above 95;
  • the median ATAR result was 88.40;
  • Jack Kinnersly (2017 School Captain) was Dux, with an ATAR score of 99.60 which was the highest score in Ballarat.

The following table summarises the percentage of study scores over 40 for regional schools since 2012.


The following table published in The Age on Thursday 21 December shows Clarendon as the 4th top performing school in the state and the top regional school once again – for the 14th year in succession.


Congratulations to all our students, staff and parents. Once again, we have proved that by working together we can maximise the potential of every student by helping them discover who they are, who they want to be and how to get there.



NAPLAN results

David Shepherd comments on The Australian’s recent feature ‘Your School’

I want to congratulate the entire Clarendon community on their contribution to the exceptional outcomes we achieve with our students.

On Saturday 1 October,  the Weekend Australian published a feature – ‘Your School’ – which analysed schools Australia-wide on the basis of their 2015 NAPLAN outcomes.  The analysis revealed that, out of nearly 10,000 schools, Ballarat Clarendon College was:

  • ranked the Number 1 Country School in Australia for the 5th year in succession; and
  • the Number 1 ranked non-selective Coeducational School in Australia for the 2nd year in succession.

This publicity is gratifying recognition of the hard, smart work of our students, staff and parents. Of course, this recognition is not the reason for our work; the focus of our work, our reason for being, is the growth and achievement of every student. It is, nonetheless, rewarding to receive this sort of acclaim.

It is motivating working with such committed students, staff and parents and, perhaps, what is most exciting, is that we have so much scope to do even better.

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For further information contact The Registrar, Mr Denis Moneghetti, on (03) 5330 8312.