MELVILLE Senior High School’s rapid rise over the past eight years to become a leading public institution has been recognised with a finalist’s berth for Secondary School of the Year in the prestigious WA Education Awards.
Established in 1960, the school floundered academically through the late 1990s and early 2000s and student numbers plummeted from highs of around 1400 to 500.
Principal Phillip White joined the school in 2008, the catalyst for a far-reaching culture change that has transformed Melville Senior High into a sought after education provider with a waiting list in excess of 500.
“Over the last eight years we’ve been working very hard at becoming a school of choice both for the local and wider community,” Mr White said.
“To do that we started by making sure our students were well-behaved, polite, respectful and placed a strong focus on academic achievement.”
That emphasis paid off, Melville Senior High School now ranked in the top 12 public schools for NAPLAN, ATAR and WACE achievement; with three students obtaining an ATAR ranking of 99 or above in 2015.
“We also strive to extend all students in the cultural pursuits of music, art and drama as well as in the sporting and citizenship domains,” Mr White said.
“In addition to the three students with ATAR scores above 99 last year, we also had three students get into the elite Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts programs.
“We’re also currently the second best public school for athletics in WA and ranked tenth for swimming.”
Melville Senior High School was granted Independent Public School status in 2012 and now boasts a healthy student population close to 1450.
“We are innovative and entrepreneurial and have around 50 overseas students who pay to come to the school,” Mr White said.
“That money is reinvested to make the school look and feel attractive, modern, functional and safe.
“Our philosophy is that if you get the tone, feel and appearance of a school right and place a strong focus on academic achievement it starts to become a self-fulfilling prophecy that students will achieve great things in a world class educational environment.”
WA Education Award winners will be announced on Monday, November 28.