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WA Secondary School of the Year 2018

Lynwood Senior High School

Sustainable success

What are the signs of a good school? Accolades? League tables?

Or is it something more; the ‘feel’ of the place, the attitude of the people who work and learn there, a sense of everyone moving in the same direction?

At Lynwood Senior High School in Perth’s south, a caring ethos, respect for diverse cultures, an eye on the environment and highly skilled staff add up to a cohesive and thriving school community.

Principal Geri Hardy joined the team early last year, after several years at the helm of the former South Fremantle Senior High School. She feels strongly that students should leave school as ‘good people’.

“We are working hard to help them develop as young people who will one day lead our communities,” Geri explains.

Among Lynwood’s almost 1,300 students, 60 different languages are spoken. Nearly half of students are from families for whom English is not their first tongue.

“I would sum up our school as multi-cultural, safe, caring, friendly and innovative,” she says.

With a focus on care for every student, the school’s Student Wellbeing Committee monitors how all students are faring – organising specific case management, targeted programs and individual academic mentoring for students who need it.

The team is highly effective, using a ‘good standing’ program and school data systems to respond quickly to emerging issues impacting on students.

Tracking of student attendance, behaviour, academic achievement and wellbeing is exceptional – and has led to real effects for students. Student attendance is consistently above the WA average, while the number of suspensions for poor behaviour are low – good signs that Lynwood students want to be at school to learn.

“Our teachers love working with students at Lynwood; in our latest staff survey, they stated overwhelmingly that they want to keep working here because of the culture and work environment,” Geri says.

Another key element of Lynwood Senior High School is its comprehensive approach to ‘sustainability’.

“We focus on environmental sustainability in the physical sense and social sustainability – helping our school community members develop their social and emotional resilience,” Geri says.

“We are turning out students with a social conscience – and empathy and inclusivity are key values here.”

The school runs academic programs including the Environment and Life Sciences (EaLS) Approved Specialist Program for selected students in Years 7 to 10, and the Lynwood Environmental Academic Flexible (LEAF) Learning Program in Year 11 and 12 in which students gain a Certificate II in Horticulture.

The annual Sustainability Week is a key fixture on the school calendar. Tree-planting on a mass scale, student debates on environmental themes, and the creation of a garden based on Noongar seasons are just a sample of what happens during the learning-packed week.

“Our students have also represented our school’s sustainability focus at local, State and national levels,” she says.

Geri describes her staff as committed, innovative and energetic. The whole team is invaluable, from the head cleaner with a heart of gold, to classroom teachers, pastoral care workers and leaders.

“Amber Lucas, our powerhouse teacher of the Year 10 Access program is just one example. She coordinated a massive support effort for one of our students and his family after their house burned down. She has a huge heart.”

Geri says every staff member’s drive to have students achieve the best possible academic results is strongly underpinned by the care and support required to enable each child to be successful at something.

“Each student’s pathway is equally valued. Our focus on wellbeing and pastoral care ensures that a student’s postcode does not determine their destiny.

“For many of our students they will be the first in their family to complete secondary school and move on to tertiary studies which will enable them to break the cycle of inter-generational poverty.”


WA Secondary School of the Year 2018

Secondary schools drive high quality teaching practice in every classroom to benefit students. They harness the expertise of those in the community committed to school education. They challenge and support students to achieve success and forge their place in the world.

Proudly sponsored by Community News.

Winner:

  • Lynwood Senior High School

Finalists:

  • Cape Naturaliste College
  • Manea Senior College
  • Newton Moore Education Support Centre