Broome emerges as WA’s best school

Flip Prior

HIS staff may not believe it, but Broome Senior High School principal Saeed Amin was almost lost for words when it was announced as WA’s best secondary school at the WA Education Awards.

Later, inundated with congratulations and mobbed by beaming, proud staff, he reflected on how a country school saw off competition in Perth to win the top award.

With 600 students, Broome SHS was up against some Perth “super schools”, including Shenton College, Lakeland Senior High School and Yulebrook College.

Mr Amin said sustained efforts over a decade led to a “quite incredible” turnaround in achievement at the school, which has significant indigenous enrolment.

Finalists were judged on hard data such as Year 12 results, retention from Year 8 to Year 12, Year 9 results, and social data such as attendance and behaviour.

Broome SHS showed improvement in almost every field – it had closed the gap between its NAPLAN results and State means, with improvements in literacy and numeracy.

Graduation rates, training qualifications and university acceptance statistics also improved, with higher than average attendance.

“Our data is really good – we are achieving the results,” the principal said.

“The only statistic to go down is student suspensions.

“We had the highest number of Year 12 graduates ever this year – 73 – and 38 of them are going to university, which again is a record for the school.

“Ten years ago, it was two graduates.” For the fourth year in a row, about 25 indigenous young people will graduate from Year 12.

Mr Amin said judges told him the school stood out in three ways.

“They got a real sense that no kid is left behind – (that we) extend the kids at the top, value-add to the kids in the middle and take care of the kids who come in with any sort of difficulty,” he said.

Judges noted how staff, students and community members all praised each others’ efforts and the cohesion they generated.

They were also impressed with how head boy Joe Bin Omar had rebuilt a sense of strength among students after their Clontarf Foundation football academy burnt down earlier this year.

“He talked about how he got the senior kids together and asked them to rise above that and be better than that … they were really impressed,” Mr Amin said.

He said the award was a credit to staff, students and the community.

“To be recognised is pretty critical – it’s about sustaining your town, sustaining your community,” he said.

“It means you don’t need to leave the country now to be given an education that’s going to allow you to fly wherever you want.”