In the Senior School we aim to prepare girls for successful participation in a society in which knowledge is a key resource and in an economy which is becoming increasingly globalised. Intercultural sensitivity and competence and responsible citizenship will be important factors in their futures.
At Wilderness, we have taken a deliberate and carefully considered decision to concentrate on providing the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) curriculum for our senior secondary students. The SACE - an internationally recognised qualification - challenges our students with appropriate academic rigour as well as providing flexibility and responsiveness, which benefit all of our students.
As a SACE school, our teaching staff are highly experienced specialists in this curriculum. They are actively involved as examiners, markers, subject moderators and curriculum writers so are best placed to ensure Wilderness girls have every advantage to achieve their best.
We regularly review our curriculum offering and believe that the SACE offers an advantage to our students. The SACE:
- is an internationally recognised certificate of school completion accepted at major universities worldwide;
- offers a comprehensive and balanced curriculum with a broad and diverse range of subjects;
- does not constrain student choice by prescriptive subject groupings and thus enables students to specialise in areas of interest such as the sciences or humanities in preparation for entry into specific university programs and fields of study both in Australia and overseas;
- relates classroom experiences to the real world and encourages students to become informed citizens;
- places an emphasis on students becoming independent and life-long learners, as well as critical and compassionate thinkers;
- gives all girls the opportunity to develop independent critical research and analytical skills which are so necessary for success in their tertiary studies and also throughout their lives.
The results students receive at the conclusion of Year 12 are converted into an ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank). This is the measure by which students are offered positions in the universities and other tertiary institutions. The ATAR is a measure of a student's academic achievement compared with all other students, both SACE and IB, who complete Year 12. When we compare Wilderness girls' results over time, they are consistently placed at the top of the state.
Teachers at Wilderness have high expectations of each student, regardless of her subject combination, and each girl works hard to achieve her personal best. This ethos creates a positive learning environment which encourages each student to develop her talents and abilities in a course which best suits her interests, learning styles and future ambitions. We believe the SACE is a contemporary and dynamic curriculum that develops our students' individual talents while enabling all our girls to achieve at the highest level.
We encourage girls to continue to develop their learning strategies so that they can become responsible for their own learning, an essential feature of successful senior secondary and tertiary study; the thinking curriculum, which is implicit in every girl's course of study includes the development of higher order thinking skills and learning how to interrogate and evaluate information.
We aim to foster a social conscience and sense of personal autonomy in each of our students; girls work side by side with other girls in ways which enhance the learning experience for all. They not only learn to take responsibility for their own learning but participate with, and help, others.
Basically, we want to help students to acquire the skills and personal attributes that will put them in charge of their future. Our understanding of how girls learn best enables us to employ the most effective teaching methodologies. We have a firm commitment to the liberating qualities of education which include the acquisition of the vision and capacity to cope with change. In these Senior School years, girls start to make the academic choices which will set the scene for their future careers.
- Curriculum & Subjects
In the Senior School years girls are further encouraged to develop strategies that will enable them to take responsibility for their own learning. The Thinking Curriculum, which is part of every girl's program, assists in the development of higher order thinking skills and the ability to interrogate and evaluate information.
The Senior School curriculum is responsive to student needs and to the demands of the SACE Board, the external assessment authority. It allows for exploration of career ideas while maintaining a broad subject base rather than a narrow vocational focus. It also fosters the growth of self expression and the development of artistic, creative and critical sensibilities.
Wilderness offers a broad range of subjects in the Senior School and is also part of a consortium of 10 schools offering TAFE accredited courses to Senior School students.
Year 10 Curriculum
Wilderness provides a positive, nurturing, success orientated environment....
Year 11 - SACE Stage One
Our curriculum is constantly evaluated to ensure the best possible education...
Year 12 - SACE Stage Two
The Subject Flow Chart shows compulsory and optional subjects...
All girls are encouraged to undertake leadership roles throughout their time at Wilderness School. The academic program is at the heart of our daily activities, but life at Wilderness offers much more. Through the wider curriculum, students have the opportunity to find new interests and talents, broaden their circle of friends beyond their year level, adopt leadership positions and develop self assurance. Every girl benefits from the experience of being in a position of leadership. The roles may be formally recognized, for instance Year 9 Community Service Representative, Vice-Captain of the Netball Team or Stage Manager of the Drama Production, or more subtly, as leader of a reading discussion group in the classroom, operating as a mentor for a younger student or captaining a team during physical education. All roles are equally valued. Being an effective leader requires students to develop qualities and skills in themselves and to nurture those of others.
While students are leading they are also developing self-confidence and decision-making skills, learning about effective negotiation and teamwork, setting goals, enthusing others, learning how to win and lose graciously, making new friendships, improving their public speaking skills and much more. There are many opportunities at Wilderness for girls to experience leadership.
Girls can participate in a range of leadership courses and workshops. Clubs cater for interests as diverse as chess, writing, the environment, social justice and debating. Student leadership is also encouraged through class representation, the House system and student committees in the Junior, Middle and Senior Schools. All these leaders are elected by the girls themselves.
Sport provides opportunities for personal development. Girls can choose from cricket, tennis, volleyball, rowing, soccer, hockey, netball, water polo, basketball, lacrosse, athletics, swimming, gymnastics and cross country running. We encourage every girl to participate at a level appropriate to her ability and to be able to evaluate her performance both at a personal and team level. Sport allows all our students, whether Captain or team player, to develop qualities of commitment, teamwork and competitiveness as well as a positive attitude to personal fitness. We recognise that leadership qualities can be demonstrated by the all girls when given the right opportunities.
Leadership opportunities in the Senior School include:
Student Representative Council; President, Vice President, Secretary, House Captains, Boarding House Captains, Magazine Representative, Digital Technology Representative, Community Service Representative, Sports Captain, Music Representative, Student Foundation President, Year 12 Representative and Careers Representative.
Careers Committee; President, VET Representative, Work Experience Representative, Events and PR Representatives, Committee Members, Photographer, Year 12 - students liaisons, Student Foundation, Community Service Committee, Junior School Sport Coaches, Social Justice Committee, Boarding House Prefects, Green Team, Captains of Sporting Teams, House Birthday Co-ordinator(s), House Community Service Representative, Buddy Coordinator, House Photographer, Debating Captain, Group Dynamics, New Girls Buddies, Leaders of the Poetry & Literature Group.
- Academic Excellence
I am delighted to share with you the 2017 results.
Once again our students have achieved excellent results. There were 81 girls who applied for the ATAR this year. Of the cohort 75% were placed in the top 10%, with 59% in the top 5% and 26% in the top 1% of Year 12 students.
The position of Dux is shared by three outstanding students who each achieved an ATAR of 99.95: Isabelle Greco, Amelia Craig and Bridget Smart.
Isabelle Greco has been selected for the highest accolade of the SACE, The Governor of South Australia Commendation Excellence Award for Meritorious Achievement which recognises overall excellence in the SACE. We are also delighted that Laura Montague has been awarded a Governor of South Australia Commendation - Aboriginal Student SACE Excellence Award and the Governor of South Australia Commendation Award which recognises students’ exceptional achievements whilst undertaking the SACE. These are outstanding accomplishments. The Governor of South Australia will present Isabelle and Laura’s awards on the stage as part of the formal SACE Merit Ceremony on 6 February 2018.
Reshma Berggren, Vatsala Bhatia, Sarah Bradbrook, Molly Chapman, Amelia Craig, Harmony Craig, Sarah Dinh, Eliza Geh, Isabelle Greco, Laura Hanlon, Gemma Holzer, Georgia Honan, Celena Le, Amanda Lu, Madeleine McNeil, Lauren Moularadellis, Joanna Nelson, Nicola Ricci, Bridget Smart, Lyna Yue and Kelly Zhou all gained an ATAR above 99.
These are wonderful results and our students can be justifiably proud as can their teachers.
History of Success
The attached report is provided in accordance with Commonwealth Government accountability requirements under the Schools Assistance Act 2008. This report complements and is supplementary to information provided on an ongoing basis in newsletters, yearbooks and other regular communications.
We hope this information is interesting and highlights the positive outcomes being achieved at Wilderness on a daily basis. I am very proud of the work of students and staff at Wilderness School and have pleasure in providing this report to you.