A small country high school is a surprise inclusion in WA’s top 10 schools for academic achievement.
Manjimup Senior High School placed equal eighth in the State based on its students’ Year 12 exam results, beating many of the western suburbs schools that usually dominate the rankings.
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The academic league table released yesterday by the School Curriculum and Standards Authority shows that Manjimup achieved the same median Australian Tertiary Admission Rank as Presbyterian Ladies’ College, with 89.60.
Manjimup was one of 16 public schools to make the top 50 table based on median ATAR scores, with flagship State school Perth Modern in first place. Thirteen Catholic schools and 21 independent schools made the list.
Manjimup principal Kerry Mather said even though the regional public school was in a low socio-economic area, it had consistently punched above its weight academically.
The school also ranked among the top 10 schools in the State in 2006.
Ms Mather said 28 of Manjimup’s 99 Year 12s studied ATAR courses last year.
Of those, half achieved an ATAR of 90 or higher and all qualified for university entry.
She said many of the students would become the first members of their families to go to university.
“If we can get kids to aspire to go to university, and actually get there, we feel that’s a real success,” she said.
Ms Mather said the school had a team of highly experienced teachers. “Right from Year 7 we work on students’ work ethic,” she said.
“As long as they’re achieving their personal best, we’re happy.”
Year 12 graduate Bryce Bamess, 18, said Manjimup was a “wonderful” school with dedicated staff who gave up their time at weekends and after school to run study sessions.
“The teachers make you feel motivated to learn,” he said. “Our school motto is ‘aim high’ and there’s just a really good sense of community and support.”
Mr Bamess, who hopes to study political science at the University of WA, said Manjimup’s top 10 ranking proved regional students were just as competitive as their urban counterparts.
“It shows regardless of where you live in WAit’s still possible to achieve highly and succeed,” he said.