WA Secondary School of the Year 2019

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Something in the water

Bunbury Senior High School
WA Secondary School of the Year 2019

There must be something in the water in Bunbury, with the namesake secondary school no stranger to the WA Education Awards. The relaxed coastal lifestyle of sunshine and surf is producing some serious talent.

With finalists in the mix over recent years for Beginning Teacher of the Year and Secondary Teacher of the Year, it’s no wonder the high school took out the top gong for WA Secondary School of the Year this year.

Seeing students at Bunbury Senior High School consistently achieve high results in academic, sport and the arts, is the secret to success long walks by the beach and excessive consumption of vitamin D, or is a more measured approach the elixir? We talk to principal Craige Pettit to find out.

“We take risks to do the best we can for the children in our school. It takes a long time for a school to have the courage to do things differently and that is what makes us stand out,” Craige explains.

As well as the impressive view and welcoming atmosphere, the school prides itself on ensuring all students have the confidence and belief in themselves to give them the best opportunity for their future once they have graduated.

“The other aspect of academic achievement is the achievement of every student in the school,” Craige says.

“Not all students will get to be at the front of an assembly to receive an academic award, but every student is capable of doing their best.”

The school employs three full-time student support workers who are dedicated to student welfare and wellbeing. This approach is clearly paying dividends as encapsulated in their Head Girl’s recent valedictory speech, “At Bunbury, as students, we are so immensely fortunate to have so many people who wake up every morning and dedicate their lives to making our lives better.”

With the school an ingrained and iconic part of the Bunbury community for more than 100 years, it has produced some remarkable leaders, including Lieutenant General John Murray Sanderson AC (former WA Governor), David Sherwood (Rhode Scholar), Melissa Parke (International Lawyer for the United Nations and former Member of Parliament), John Castrilli (former Mayor of Bunbury and Member of Parliament) as well as Sydney Jackson (twice Victorian Football League premiership player).

Sporting achievement isn’t by accident with the school placing a high value on their sport programs.

“Our Bunbury Elite Sports Training specialist program, coordinated by Adam McGill, aims to support students to become the best athlete they can be, regardless of their chosen sport,” Craige says.

“This program is unique and has achieved outstanding results, using contemporary sport science methods, highly engaging training equipment, and world-standard athlete-development principles.”

From the outset it is clear that Craige’s belief is that the school has a particular thirst to create a learning environment that ensures no student is ever left behind.

“Our school values challenge us as teachers and leaders to examine how we are addressing every child’s needs in the school,” he says.

“We continuously have high academic, sporting and cultural achievement but no student is left out and we use our resources to ensure every child has the opportunity to achieve their best.”

WA Secondary School of the Year 2019

This award recognises secondary schools that inspire students in their academic, social and creative development. Outstanding teaching and leadership create positive environments for students to achieve their best, for staff to contribute their best and for communities to be actively involved in their schools.

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  • Bunbury Senior High School
  • Exmouth District High School
  • Melville Senior High School
  • Newton Moore Education Support Centre